The New “Natural” C-Section
I was amazed when I read this article outlining steps to make C-sections a little less clinical, and less impersonal especially for Moms. There’s never been anything like it before, and I for one agree that it is revolutionary. The idea was born in Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in London, the brainchild of Professor Nicholas Frisk. In the United Kingdom as well here in the United States, the rate of C-sections have risen due to many factors. A lot of C-sections are planned, a lot are avoidable, and many are emergencies. Regardless the reason or circumstances, Professor Frisk argues that C-sections could do with a lot of change:
“It struck me that all the effort was going into changing normal childbirth but that Cesarean section was still steeped in old surgical rituals,” says Fisk. “In some cases I was horrified; the baby would be dragged out like a tumor and passed to several medical staff before the mother. It was ripe for reform.”
The steps involve increasing parental involvement, revisiting physiological factors, and immediate skin-to-skin contact for the baby and Mom.
I know that in my case, and as per usual standard operating procedure, a drape blocks a Mom’s vision from the surgery that is happening on her abdomen. This is supposed to protect us from all the gore of the operation. Queen Charlotte’s Hospital does away with this drape at the point when baby’s head is emerging. They reason that the Mom’s focus would be too much on the baby and its safe arrival to be much bothered by anything else.
The article describes a “half-delivered” method (which I can’t quite picture still). The baby is allowed to wriggle out and expel the fluids from its lungs by themselves, simulating a vaginal delivery. This emphasizes a slow delivery, and baby starts breathing on its own before cutting off the placenta. Baby is immediately handed to Mom. This is made possible by monitor equipment being plugged to the back instead of the front. I remember when my daughter was born, Dad, who wore a surgical scrub over his outfit, was the first to hold her. She was held up to me, but I didn’t get to hold her until a good twenty minutes later. I would have appreciated holding her much sooner. In fact, all the other changes sound sensible.
This procedure is not applicable for preemie babies with immature lungs, those in the breech position, or in other dangerous situations.
The only concerns that come to mind would be the removal of the drape. I don’t know if I’d be too keen on wanting to see my abdomen cut open, and I hope they emphasize the Mom’s ability to choose. Overall, I hope that more moms and doctors become aware of this method and that it comes to the stateside soon, if it hasn’t already. Studies on long-term effects to gauge any measurable differences between the old-fashioned C-section and this new method are still on its initial stages. Having had a C-section baby though, I know its very possible for me to have another one for the second, though I wish for a Vaginal Birth After C-section (VBAC). It makes me feel a little better that there’s an alternative with some improvements.