About a third of all women who birth at hospitals in the Tampa Bay area deliver their babies via cesarean surgery. While some of those surgeries are true emergencies that arise during labor, many are cesareans that can be planned, such as when a baby is breech or a mom is carrying twins.
Some women who have time to plan their cesarean birth are requesting a “natural cesarean” that can include some or all of these options:
- Slow birth: After the baby’s head is birthed, the physician can allow a short pause for the lungs to clear before the rest of the baby’s body is birthed. Some physicians may lower the drape at this point and raise the top of the bed so mom can see her baby being born.
- Skin-to-skin: Immediate skin-to-skin contact with mom after birth is the best way for a baby to regulate his body temperature. This is possible as long as mom is feeling good and is physically able to hold her baby. Baby can usually remain on mom’s chest unless there’s a medical reason to move him.
- Partner stays with baby: If a baby needs to be taken away from mom for any reason, the dad or partner can usually stay with the baby until the baby can return to mom.
- Nursing: If the mother and the baby are both in good physical condition, nursing can start immediately after the baby’s birth.
A report in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has more details about natural cesarean options, including photos of couples in the operating room. In the article, one woman who chose a natural cesarean said she “felt more like a participant in an amazing family experience than a patient having a serious operation.”
Not all obstetricians will honor all requests for a natural cesarean, so women who are planning for a cesarean birth should discuss all the options with their caregiver beforehand.