What is a family-centered or gentle C-section?

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What is a “gentle” or “family-centered” C-section?

Anyone who has had a traditional cesarean section, or C-section, can tell you that the mechanics of the surgical procedure can distract from the celebration of bringing your baby into the world.  During a traditional C-section, the mom and child are frequently separated in the moments after birth when a connection to one another is especially important, both for the health of the baby and for bonding purposes.

Now there is a new option available called family-centered, gentle C-section, or “gentle-C.” This practice began in an effort to make your C-section experience as close to a natural birthing one as possible. Doctors have tweaked this traditional surgery by:

  • Using double drapes which can be lowered to a clear surgical drape, instead of the solid one, so that you can now watch your baby being born
  • Placing EKG leads on your back so that you can hold, interact and provide, almost immediate, skin-to-skin contact with your baby in the moments following birth, which research has shown to have important benefits for both mom and child
  • Background music of your choice to make the environment more comforting

Is a gentle C-section always an option?

In certain situations, a gentle C-section may not be recommended, but your physician can advise what type of delivery is best. If you are planning to undergo a C-section, talk to your doctor about whether or not this option is available for you.

http://healthhub.brighamandwomens.org/the-gentle-cesarean-a-new-option-for-moms-to-be#sthash.J4McCC29.dpbs

William Camann, MD, is the Director of Obstetric Anesthesia at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Louise E. Wilkins-Haug, MD, PhD is the Division Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine and Reproductive Genetics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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