The public perception of the cesarean birth is changing. For a growing number of parents, a “natural” C-section can be the next best thing to a vaginal delivery and a world away from the image of a distressed baby being whipped out of — and away from — its mom.
One mother, Sarah Saunders from Devon, England, had a natural C-section with her son and shared a video of the experience on YouTube showing the baby effectively “delivering himself” by wriggling his body out of her womb. It’s pretty amazing.
Natural cesareans are believed to give babies a slower, calmer entry into the world. It can take up to four minutes for the baby to be born during a natural C-section, before it is placed on the mother’s chest to help with bonding. After making an incision into the womb, doctors draw out the baby’s head. They then leave it to maneuver its own shoulders out in a similar manner to that of a vaginal birth.
Jenny Smith, a senior midwife at the Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, one of the few places the procedure is offered, said: “It is about the mother. After the incision is made the mother is able to see her little baby wriggle out. It is a special moment that is missed otherwise. The baby remains in the abdomen for up to four minutes and the mother can look at it, see its little face and when it wriggles out it is the parents that first determine the sex.”
It was British obstetrician Professor Nick Fisk who pioneered this groundbreaking approach to a surgical birth. Fisk developed an interest in what he calls a “skin-to-skin cesarean” or “walking the baby out” because he wanted to make the birth experience more meaningful for parents who have cesareans.
Fisk’s approach is awesome — and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be adopted by all hospitals who offer a C-section as a delivery option. “What I realized was that cesareans were done a certain way because they’ve always been done a certain way, but in fact they can be done differently — and in a way that parents love,” said Fisk, who finds other doctors are sometimes shocked when they hear about what he is doing. “They say, ‘but surely you have to get the baby out fast so she can get oxygen straight away?’ And I say, when the baby is being born she’s still attached to the umbilical cord and is still getting oxygen from the placenta. Cesarean birth can be gentle, just as vaginal birth can be gentle.”
For so long, too many moms who have had C-sections have felt that they’ve somehow missed out on the long, emotional experience that’s typical of a vaginal delivery. That, because the baby is lifted out of their wombs by surgeons in a matter of seconds, they’re somehow less worthy of the birthing badge of honor. That shouldn’t be the case, because a cesarean birth puts huge pressure on a mom, just in different ways. But if a natural C-section was an option for more women, it would be the perfect way to bridge the gap.
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