Having a baby is a hugely exciting time; however, for many, the thought of actually giving birth is somewhat terrifying. I know I was terrified. For women who have spent nearly 40 weeks preparing for what labour is going to feel like and how they are going to manage, hearing they are likely to face a caesarean instead can fill them with dread, it certainly did for me.
While it’s true c-sections are performed as routine (in fact, statistics show 1 in 4 babies are delivered this way. You can read here why I chose to have an elected c-section) it would be wrong to suggest they are minor surgeries. Caesareans, whether performed as an elective or emergency procedure have a reputation for being traumatic.
The good news is they don’t always have to be, regardless of the events that have led up to surgical intervention. If you know beforehand that you are going to have to have a “sunroof” baby, there are steps you can put in place via your birth plan to make the process as gentle as possible for all involved.
Choose what you can see
In most cases a screen will be raised above your waist so you won’t see anything happening. However, you can witness the moment of birth by asking for the screen to be lowered, or not having one in the first place.
Choose what you can hear
Surgical theatres aren’t known for their welcoming and relaxing atmosphere, but you may have options to improve matters. You can ask if you can play music to take your mind off what is happening, or you might want to request a nurse provides you with a running commentary of what is happening. My midwife asked me if I wanted a running commentary, but I polite declined. I just asked her to let me know when baby was out.
Some parents prefer to have silence at the moment of birth so the first voices their baby hears are theirs, and not the surgical teams.
A slower delivery
While there may be times when it is important to get your baby out as quickly as possible, in other cases it may be possible to request a slower delivery. If your baby is delivered slowly this provides an opportunity for the chest to be squeezed, as would happen during a vaginal delivery, clearing your baby’s lungs of fluid.
Skin to skin
Having a surgical delivery does not mean you can’t have immediate skin to skin with your baby. Ask that your IV be placed in your non-dominant hand to provide you with more freedom, and request that EKG leads are placed on your back, rather than your abdomen, so these won’t get in the way. Your baby can then be placed on you (covered with a towel) for the rest of the surgery, and in many cases, will be able to go with you to recovery. I had skin to skin with my 2nd c-section and it was wonderful, he even came through to recovery with me.
Skin to skin is a great way to start establishing breastfeeding if this is what you want to do, and can also quickly help to regulate baby’s temperature and breathing. You can also ask that all newborn checks be performed whilst baby is on your chest so you are not separated for any time.
Cutting the cord
For many new parents it is Dad that wants to cut the cord, and there is no reason this can’t still be the case if you have had a c-section. Speak to your partner to discuss what he is likely to see and how is likely to feel, and then explore your options with your medical team.
Don’t forget, just because you have a c-section and not had a natural birth, doesn’t mean you have failed your baby, you have given him the best at arriving in this world safely and thats whats most important.
And remember that as soon as your baby is here to let me know so we can get your Newborn Photography session date booked in.
If you haven’t already booked in yet, take a look at my Newborn Photography page and get in contact to book.