Aida's Gentle Caesarean Birth

Whether you're having a planned or unplanned caesarean, there are a few changes in the procedure which can allow you and your partner to feel more a part of the birth and can help make your baby's birth calm and positive. This is often referred to a gentle caesarean section (or "family-centered" c-section). This beautiful video of the gentle birth of Aida is a beautiful example of a gentle caesarean. The parents made decisions before the procedure, meaning they felt more in control and a part of the birth experience. Here are some of the choices you can discuss with your caregivers:

  • If you'd like to witness the moment of birth, you can ask for the drape to be lowered slightly so you can see your baby (some hospitals may agree to this, others may not but you can always ask if it's important to you).

  • Your baby may be born 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 newborn is placed on your chest for immediate skin-to-skin contact. If baby is healthy then s/he should remain on your chest until after the first feed (at least). Standard checks like weighing and measuring are not a necessity and do not need to be done straight away.

  • Your IV line is put in your nondominant hand, leaving your dominant hand free to hold your baby.

  • The EKG leads (which track your baby's heartbeat) are placed on your back instead of your belly, so they don't get in the way either.

  • You can ask for music or relaxation tracks to played in the theatre to help you feel relaxed and calm.

  • You can request vaginal ‘seeding‘. Studies show that swabbing a mother’s vagina and transferring it to her baby’s mouth, eyes and skin may stimulate microbiome development similarly to babies born naturally and protect him/her from health issues later in life.

What are the advantages of a gentle caesarean?

Many women who undergo a caesarean can feel powerless and disconnected during their baby's birth. By having your choices put in place, your birth experience can feel more personal to you and your birth partner. Although someone else is supporting your body in bringing your baby into the world, you and your birth partner are. Feeling in control, feeling respected and listened to are fundamental factors to a positive birth experience so putting these small but important elements in place can really make a difference.