The Gentle Cesarean: A New Kind of C-Section

Tue, 10/03/2015

About 1 in 3 babies is delivered by cesarean section, and many moms who have C-sections feel they missed out on a traditional birth experience. But some U.S. hospitals are beginning to offer a slightly different kind of C-section that makes the experience feel more like a birth and less like an operation. 

NPR reports that the "gentle cesarean" or "family-centered cesarean" is catching on in England, and American hospitals are slowly exploring and offering the procedure. The "gentle" C-section has small but significant differences from a traditional C-section. The main difference is that the mother can see the baby being born (through a clear or lowered surgical drape) and hold the newborn on her chest for immediate skin-to-skin contact (rather than the baby being whisked away for pediatric care). 

The procedure requires relatively minor adjustments -- such as moving some medical equipment and having some neonatal staff in the operating room -- but hospitals aren't charging more for it. Hospitals might be slow to adopt the procedure until more data is available on patient safety and infection control. But moms who have experienced this "new" kind of C-section have been thrilled with the results and hope the changes become routine.

If you needed to have a C-section, would you want to try the "gentle" kind?

Visit our Pregnancy Day by Day area to learn more about C-sections, labor and delivery, and more! 

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