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Gentle Cesarean: What Is It, Factors, Advantages And Birth Plan

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A gentle C-section is a slightly different surgical birth approach that ensures both the mother’s and child’s well-being. However, it is similar to a standard C-section where the baby is delivered through abdominal and uterine incisions (1).

The gentle C section promotes a quick interaction between the mother and newborn after delivery to promote skin-to-skin contact and bonding similar to a normal delivery. A gentle C-section brings together the essence of a vaginal birth and a cesarean section. Read this post to learn about the benefits and preparation for a gentle C section

What Is The Difference Between Gentle C-Section And Standard C-Section?

Though the basic procedure is similar, the following are some differences between the gentle and standard C-section procedures (2) (3) (4):

  • In a standard C-section, you must wear a surgical gown and cannot control the operating room (OR) environment. However, in a gentle C-section, you can wear clothing of choice (if the hospital allows) and play your choice of music on request.
  • Traditional C-sections are performed using a surgical drape to cover the whole procedure. In gentle C-sections, clear drapes( also known as peek-a-boo drapes) allow the mother to see her baby’s birth.
  • In a regular C-section, the vital signs monitors are positioned as per the hospital staff. In a gentle C-section, the intravenous (IV) line is placed on the non-dominant arm, the pulse oximeter at the mother’s foot (to keep her hands free), and the electrocardiogram (ECG) leads away from the chest. This allows ample space for skin-to-skin contact with the newborn.
  • The umbilical cord is clamped soon after birth in a regular C-section. In a gentle C-section, on the other hand, the umbilical cord clamping can be delayed, like in a vaginal birth.
  • The baby is weighed, assessed, and cleaned right after birth in a typical C-section. However, in a gentle C-section, the baby is handed over to the mother immediately after birth, facilitating skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. The remaining procedures are carried out later.

What Are The Advantages Of A Gentle C-Section?

A gentle C-section is appealing for many mothers these days, especially those who have faced difficulties in previous C-sections. The benefits of a gentle C-section for the mother and baby are (4) (5)

  • Greater control for the mother in terms of creating a soothing and family-friendly environment
  • The woman and her partner can actively witness their baby’s birth.
  • Direct mother–infant contact after birth, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). This yields several benefits, including a steady heart rate and body temperature and optimum blood sugar levels in the baby and decreased risk of postpartum depression and anxiety in mothers.
  • Higher success rates of breastfeeding and enhanced mother-infant bonding through early interaction
  • Ability to create a personalized and calming environment for the delivery process by choosing your preferred music
  • Greater maternal satisfaction and overall birth experience, as reported in several studies

What Factors Should Be Considered For A Gentle C-Section?

If you are keen on including a gentle C-section in your birth plan, you may request it after discussing it with your doctor. However, the following are some circumstances to consider before making this decision (6):

  • You may feel uncomfortable seeing the blood, incisions, and other aspects of the surgery.
  • If your baby requires special pediatric care soon after birth, you may not be able to have skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth.
  • If you require additional general anesthesia sedation, you may not be able to hold your baby safely.
  • If you have complications while delivering, the doctors may block the drape to pay attention to the procedure.

Talk to your gynecologist or obstetrician about your concerns and the availability of this procedure at your hospital.

How To Incorporate A Gentle C-Section Into Your Birth Plan?

If you want to opt for a gentle C-section, consider the following aspects before incorporating it into your birth plan (7):

  • Pre-plan the surgery and list your preferences for your birth plan.
  • Choose the music you want to listen to during your delivery.
  • Request for epidural anesthesia to witness your childbirth.
  • Ensure immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby after delivery. If you feel nauseous or exhausted, your partner can hold your baby.
  • Make the most of the golden hours after your baby’s birth by bonding with them and initiating breastfeeding as soon as possible.
  • You can request delayed cord clamping, which is proven to have numerous fetal benefits.
  • The placenta can be stored after the procedure if you opt for it.

How To Prepare For A Gentle C-Section?

If you plan for a gentle C-section, consider the following steps to help you prepare for the procedure (2) (8):

  • Before surgery, restrict yourself from eating, and discuss the medications you take with your doctor.
  • Implement your birth plan and write down your thoughts to mentally prepare yourself for the procedure. Also, pack your essentials in your hospital bag.
  • Choose a well-equipped hospital and the right team of obstetricians or gynecologists to perform this procedure according to your needs.
  • Research the features of this procedure to be more aware and prepared for unexpected events.
  • Ensure you have at least two people for support during the surgery. Other than your partner, a doula or friend could help in emergencies and take pictures or videos of your most precious moments after the baby’s arrival.

Pregnancy and childbirth experiences will stay with you for your entire life. Hence, ask for a natural C-section if you desire it.

How To Talk To Your Doctor About Having A Gentle C-Section?

Discuss your requirements with your doctor before having a gentle C-section. This way, your doctor can analyze your health condition, along with all the safety measures and potential benefits relating to the procedure, to offer you the best possible birth plan (9).

The gentle C-section has evolved greatly in recent times. Owing to its benefits, it is widely accepted by physicians and medical fraternities. However, like the standard C-section, it poses certain risks and complications, such as postpartum hemorrhage and anesthesia side effects. Hence, discuss the various aspects of the procedure with your doctor and emphasize your specifications, safety, and health concerns to have the birth experience you envisioned.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Gentle C-Section.
    https://www.providence.org/treatments/gentle-c-section
  2. Tips for a “Gentle” Cesarean or “Family-Centered” Cesarean.
    https://www.lamaze.org/Giving-Birth-with-Confidence/GBWC-Post/tips-for-a-gentle-cesarean-or-family-centered-cesarean
  3. Innovative C-Section Techniques Make Procedure More Mom- And Baby-Friendly.
    https://www.mhealth.org/blog/2015/june-2015/innovative-c-section-techniques-make-procedure-more-mom-and-baby-friendly
  4. J Smith et al.; (2008); The natural caesarean: a woman-centred technique.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2613254/
  5. Clea A. Machold et al.; (2021); Women’s experiences of skin-to-skin cesarean birth compared to standard cesarean birth: a qualitative study.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8428890/
  6. Gentle C-sections’: Bringing a traditional birth experience to the OR.
    https://utswmed.org/medblog/gentle-c-section/
  7. Promotion of Family-Centered Birth With Gentle Cesarean Delivery.
    https://www.jabfm.org/content/27/5/690.long
  8. Family-Centered C-Section – A Softer Side to Surgery.
    https://www.vcuhealth.org/services/womens-health/our-services/pregnancy-and-birth/team-and-capabilities/family-centered-c-section
  9. Cesarean Section/C-Section/Gentle-C.
    https://www.mainlinehealth.org/conditions-and-treatments/treatments/cesarean-section
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Vidya Tadapatri

Vidya did her post-graduation in Biotechnology from Osmania University, Hyderabad. Her interest in scientific research and writing made her pursue a career in writing, in which she now has over four years of experience. She has done certified biotechnology-related training programs under renowned organizations such as Centre For Cellular & Molecular Biology and Department of Biotechnology. Vidya writes health-based articles... more