By Jana Angeles
It can be very scary for mothers to hear that they have to undergo a C-section instead of a natural childbirth just like they planned. Though there are negative connotations attached to a cesarean birth, things can be done to make it a much more pleasant experience for mothers out there. As with anything in life, planning is a must when you want to prepare for the most natural and gentle cesarean. It’s good to prepare now rather than later because not many mothers expect to undergo a C-section, but when it happens, it can be because of an emergency or complications during birth.
The Aftermath of a Cesarean Birth
There are many negative outcomes when it comes to a C-section. It can vary from person to person – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t inclusive to the fact that mothers face longer hospital stays, taking weeks to recover, lifting & driving restrictions and also the emotional trauma and the risk of postpartum depression afterwards. Mothers that have gone through a C-section birth know how painful it can be and they may feel unlucky to experience this compared to what other mothers have gone through. It also means that babies are unlikely to be held by their mothers immediately after birth as the medical team have to assess if he or she needs to be taken into the NICU – missing out the moments where most mothers get to breastfeed, nurse and spend quality time with their newborn.
Does the experience have to be traumatic when it comes to a C-section?
Not necessarily. With careful planning and discussion, you can prepare for a gentle cesarean if you already know you’ll be needing a C-section. It’s also good to prepare for one just incase a natural birth process cannot happen due to a medical intervention. Always exercise caution and be ready for the unexpected. The best thing you can do is to show strength physically and mentally.
What is a ‘Gentle Cesarean’?
The purpose of a gentle cesarean is to create a relaxing atmosphere for mothers undergoing a C-section. It is meant to mimic all the qualities of a natural birthing process, during and immediately after the child is born.
What is the purpose of a vaginal swab? How will it help my baby?
In a vaginal birth, the baby will go through the birth canal. During this process, the baby would’ve been exposed to microbes – these transfer on the mouth of the baby and on the skin. The bacteria from these microbes are meant to keep your baby healthy and can reduce the risk of contracting Crohn’s disease, heart disease, infections and more.
Because cesarean babies don’t get this bacteria transfer, they may be at risk of experiencing obesity, asthma, allergies and other health problems.
During a gentle cesarean, a doctor or midwife can take a vaginal swab and spread it around the baby’s mouth and skin to promote the same health benefits received from a natural birth.
What steps should I follow for a Gentle Cesarean?
- Find a doctor who is open to the idea of a gentle cesarean: Find a doctor who is familiar with the procedure. Let your concerns be heard in the case where your doctor becomes unavailable on the time of your child’s birth, instead of a doctor who has no idea what to do, request for a medical team that can handle a gentle cesarean. You have the right to take the extra time needed before a surgery to be able to find a team that can make it possible for you.
- Research your hospital’s rules & regulations: Do your research and find out if any of your hospital’s rules and regulations get in the way of you having a gentle cesarean. Even if your doctor is an expert in performing a C-section, the hospital’s rules and regulations will override the gentle cesarean procedure. This is because there are certain practices that are approved only if they don’t breach any of the rules and regulations implemented by the hospital. It’s okay to grieve about it if you’re unable to do a gentle cesarean – life can be unfair sometimes when it comes to these things.
- Have a Birth Plan in place: Even if you are planning for a natural childbirth, a gentle cesarean may be your back-up plan. Make a birth plan you’re happy with in preparation for a gentle cesarean and make several copies of it, storing it away in your car’s glove compartment, your purse and hospital bag. Your birth team (obstetrician, midwife, doula, neonatologist, pediatrician, anesthesiologist, and operating room nurses) should also have a copy of it so they know what to abide when taking part in the gentle cesarean birth.
- It’s your birth experience: It’s your time to shine and to do what’s in your best interests. If you are planning on a gentle cesarean, make sure you’re clear on what you want and your expected outcomes. A gentle cesarean is meant to be a peaceful surgical procedure. If you have had a traumatising experience with birth, let this be known to you that a gentle cesarean can help you recover from it. A mother undergoing a C-section can have a positive experience with the right preparation and medical team.