Much is written about the choice between having a normal birth without any intervention, or having a caesarean section. A topic which is not often considered is how one can make a caesarean section as natural and as pleasant as possible for the mother, and as natural as possible for the baby.
We believe that we should always do our very best to make every birth a memorable and wonderful experience that can be fondly remembered in the long term. There is no reason why this should not be the case with a caesarean section. In addition to this we want to make the caesarean as safe as possible, and we want the mother and baby to bond in the same way as they would after a normal birth. There are several things that can be done to make this happen.
The first thing is that we always aim to have a relaxed environment in the operating theatre. We encourage our women and their partners to bring their own music to the caesarean section. We encourage the partner to bring a camera so that the events can be recorded in the same way as they would in a normal vaginal delivery and we very much encourage dialogue, and involving the mother and her partner in every step of the birth. We also encourage our mums to buy a KangaWrap to wear under their hospital gown at the time of their Caesarean as we have found this enhances skin to skin bonding during the Caesarean section. Kangawrap.co.uk.
In addition to this, there is no reason why the birth of the baby needs to be particularly hurried, and the delivery can be carried out slowly and gently. The parents can witness this by simply dropping the surgical drapes at the time of birth. This way they can see the baby being born, and experience the same joy as they would at a vaginal birth. The baby can be lifted through the abdominal incision slowly, so that the baby’s lungs are squeezed in very much the same way as they might be in a vaginal birth, helping the baby to clear its lungs of secretions. Once the baby is born the parents can see the baby immediately, we wait to clamp the umbilical cord so that the cord stops pulsating, and the baby receives the maximum amount of blood prior to clamping and cutting the cord. The partner can of course also cut the umbilical cord in much the same way as they would at a vaginal birth.
As soon as the baby has been delivered, the baby can be given to the mother to be held on her chest in exactly the same way as it can be after a natural delivery. We know that this process is very important for bonding between the mother and her baby. Again, we would encourage the taking of pictures so that there is a pictorial record of this wonderful moment. Once the baby is born, we then endeavour to complete the caesarean section as quickly as possible with a minimal amount of fuss. Normally this should not take more than approximately 20 minutes in skilled hands.
Once the whole caesarean is completed, the mother is then moved back into her normal bed and sat upright so that she can continue to hold her baby to her breast as she is moved through to the recovery area. Once in recovery she can continue to nurse her baby. We do not normally move women back to their private room until approximately an hour after the birth. During this time, the mother and her partner can interact with their baby in the same way that they would be after a normal vaginal delivery.
We firmly believe that a more natural approach to caesarean section seems the ideal way to perform this procedure. It makes the caesarean section an enjoyable, memorable experience. A more natural approach to caesarean section is something that we always endeavour to achieve and in our experience this is beneficial for the baby and vastly improves the experience of our mothers and their partners.