Ask The Experts: A New Kind Of C-Section
Did you meet your baby for the first time in an operating room? One out of three women delivers her baby via cesarean section, or C-section. For some, having a C-section leaves them feeling disappointed that their delivery focused more on a procedure than on bonding with their new baby.
But family-centered C-sections aim to bring a tailored birth experience to the operating table – one that focuses on making the delivery both safe and special for families. Christine Hunkele, BSN, RN, RNC-OB, a labor and delivery nurse specialist at Franciscan Health, discusses this new way of performing C-sections:
What Are Family-Centered C-Sections?
While the surgical procedure is the same as a traditional C-section, a family-centered cesarean aims to provide women with some of the same options they would have with a vaginal delivery.
A C-section is surgery, and the safety of mom and baby always comes first. However, as long as everyone is stable, it may be possible to have some or all of the following in a family-centered cesarean:
- Music playing and lights dimmer than usual
- Delayed cord clamping, at least 30 to 60 seconds after birth
- Baby on mom's chest after delivery
- Take pictures as soon as your baby is born
What Are The Health Benefits Of A Family-Centered C-Section?
Delayed cord clamping is healthier for babies. By waiting to clamp the umbilical cord, blood circulates back to the baby from the placenta. This lessens the likelihood of anemia, a condition in which the baby’s blood can’t carry enough oxygen to the rest of the body.
There are also huge benefits to having immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby after birth. Even though your child is no longer in your womb, you and your baby are still responding to one another:
- Being near your body helps regulate your baby's heart rate, breathing and body temperature.
- If your baby is chilled, your body temperature will rise to warm up your child.
- Skin-to-skin snuggling also helps with early bonding and breastfeeding.
Who Can Have This Type Of Cesarean?
If your C-section is planned or not in an urgent or emergency situation, you may have a family-centered cesarean as long as your obstetrician and the anesthesiologist are on board. The goal is to try to keep mom and baby together and get early skin-to-skin contact, whenever possible.
How Can You Request A Family-Centered C-Section?
During your pregnancy:
- If you're having a scheduled C-section, create a birth plan and discuss it with your obstetrician. Together, you can determine what's possible for your delivery.
- If you're planning on a vaginal delivery, it's still a good idea to include what you would like in case you end up having a C-section. It's best to think about the options ahead of time because making decisions while you're in the throes of labor is difficult.
I encourage patients to think about what they want and communicate those things with their medical team. As a nurse, I want to know how I can make your labor and delivery better.
Learn more about Franciscan Health's maternity service, and all the ways they can make your birthing experience the best one possible.