Cesarean Birth is a potential stressor for a lot of pregnant women, but with good prenatal education and a well-chosen care provider, a Family Centered Cesarean Birth is an option for healthy women and their babies. A family centered cesarean birth is when expectant parents are involved in and choose certain interventions during the birth of their baby. Common interventions may include: a clear drape so that Mom can see her baby being born, immediate skin-to-skin contact, and delaying cord clamping and other newborn procedures. Being "family centered" is about making a choice. It means being an active participant in the decision making process. The important thing is that a women’s choices are being met, while maintaining the safety of herself and her baby, and optimizing her birth experience. In saying this, I still want to shed light on the benefits of immediate skin-to-skin care after birth, regardless of whether the birth is vaginal or cesarean.
Skin-to-skin Care, also referred to as Kangaroo Care, involves placing a naked newborn baby on the mother’s bare chest, then baby is covered by blankets to help keep them warm and dry. Typically this is done until the first breastfeeding session is complete. Previously, newborn survival depended on the initial skin to skin contact. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the standard procedures changed, when more babies were being born in hospitals (Anderson et al. 2004). Currently the typical standard procedure (at Northumberland Hills Hospital) is for baby to be lifted over the drape so that Mom can see her new babe and then the newborn is placed in a warmer to be cleaned and examined, with the Dad being invited to watch. Skin to skin care follows if Mom and baby are healthy and doing well. This standard procedure is safe, and it is efficient and convenient for the delivering doctor. But what if you choose immediate skin-to-skin care?
Skin-to-skin care is a natural way to nurture the mother and the newborn babe both emotionally and physiologically. Studies support its beneficial effect on breastfeeding, infant blood glucose levels, and infant vital signs such as respiratory rate, heart rate, and oxygen saturation (Cochrane 2016, Cho et al. 2016). Skin-to-skin care has been found to decrease a newborn’s pain during procedures that take place within the hospital and this is especially important to those newborns who are in the neonatal intensive care unit, as they have more procedures completed on them (Cochrane 2017). Skin-to-skin care leads to greater weight gain and improved neurodevelopment among preterm infants, and it promotes emotional bonding between mothers and their babies by increasing maternal-infant attachment and decreasing maternal stress (Cho et al. 2016, Evereklian 2017).
So what do you want for your family? I wrote this article to educate and empower you to make a choice of your own. I want you to know that you do have choices and you should most definitely be an active participant in your birth, not just a passive bystander. By being involved in your birth process, and choosing what is right for you and your family, you will have a “Family Centered Birth” and am empowered one. So educate yourself, ask lots of questions and choose a provider whose beliefs align with yours. I am here to support you ♥
Happy Birthing 😀
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