Gentle C-Section: One Simple Change Is Revolutionizing Caesarean Births

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Canadian hospitals are starting to offer moms "gentle" or "family centred" C-sections to help parents feel more part of the whole birth process.

Gentle caesareans include: less sedation, being able to see the delivery, having skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and not being strapped down to the operating table.

"A gentle C-section is a change in the attitudes toward C-sections, where the care team [the obstetrician, anesthesiologist, and nurses] aims to make the C-section experience in the operating room as similar as possible to the labour and delivery room," explains Dr. David Garfinkel, who is based in New Jersey, in an interview with Fit Pregnancy.

And one simple element of family centred deliveries is revolutionizing the whole process: clear drapes.


In a traditional C-section, moms can't (and sometimes don't want to see) the doctor making the incision and their baby being born. Their view is blocked by surgery drapes. But with clear drapes, parents can see their child's delivery.


"It was the most amazing and grace-filled experience to finally have that moment of having my baby be placed on my chest," mom-of-three Kristen Caminiti told NPR about delivering her son via gentle C-section. "He was screaming and then I remember that when I started to talk to him he stopped. It was awesome."


C-sections are on the rise in North America. In Canada, the rate "has rocketed from 19 per cent in 1997 to 27 per cent in 2013," according to Today's Parent magazine.

But there's still a lot of stigma and shame for moms around not delivering vaginally.

"It took me a long time even to be able to say that I gave birth to Avery," Valerie Echo Duckett told NPR about delivering her son. "I felt like I didn't earn the right to say I gave birth to him, like it was taken from me somehow, like I hadn't done what I was supposed to do."

These small tweaks to the C-section experience, and being able to actually see their babies entering this world, is a big step for moms.

"By offering this more emotional experience, we are not looking to increase the number of C-sections, but as a physician, it is my goal to ensure women don't look at having a C-section as a failure," says Dr. Garfinkel. From his point-of-view, a gentle C-section, "allows a woman to be almost as involved as if her birth was happening vaginally and I believe all women should be given the opportunity to be as much part of a part of their births as they want."

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