Gentle C-Section

What is a gentle C-section?

Typically, during a C-section, a screen is raised above the mother’s waist so she can’t see the incision being made. Sometimes, the nurse may lower the screen slightly so the mom can see her baby. After delivery, even if the baby is stable, he or she is taken directly to the in-room warmer for newborn care, which can take up to half an hour.

A gentle C-section uses all of the same safety precautions, but modifies the process slightly:

  • You can ask to be propped up slightly so you can view the birth through a clear plastic drape so you can see your baby being born. (A solid drape still blocks your view of the surgical incision.)
  • Your baby may be delivered slowly to allow time for the chest to be squeezed on the way out, as in a vaginal birth, to clear the lungs of fluid. Your baby will be continually observed for any distress during the birthing process.
  • If the baby is stable, the goal is to place your newborn on your chest (dried and covered with a warm towel) after cutting the cord for immediate skin-to-skin contact. He or she may be allowed to stay with you for the rest of the surgery and accompany you to the recovery room.
  • Your IV line is put in your non-dominant hand, leaving your dominant hand free to hold your baby. The EKG leads (which track your heartbeat) are placed on your back instead of your belly, so they don’t get in the way.
  • You may have the option of less sedation after the surgery, leaving you more alert to care for your baby.
  • You can choose to have calming music played and the lights to be dimmed to create a more peaceful atmosphere during delivery.

Our team will make every effort to ensure that a gentle C-section can occur, but our primary concern is the safety of the baby and mother. At the nurse’s discretion, your baby may need to be placed in a warmer briefly for evaluation after delivery.

What are the advantages of a gentle C-section?

Many women who undergo a C-section feel disconnected to the childbirth experience. They might not see their baby until they’re in the recovery room, and may be sedated so they don’t clearly remember the experience.

Being able to view your baby’s birth allows you to feel like you’re participating in the process. And research has shown that immediate skin-to-skin contact helps regulate the baby’s body temperature and heart rate and facilitates bonding and successful breastfeeding.

It’s an incredibly powerful experience for a new mom to be able to hold and comfort her baby right after birth. Newborns often stop crying when they hear the sound of their mom’s voice and feel the warmth of her skin.

If you anticipate having a C-section, speak with your OB/Gyn about whether a gentle C-section is right for you.