Even though the cesarean section is the most common surgery in America (according to NPR, one in three children get delivered via C-section) many women feel like the experience of having one doesn't align with what they expected.
"I hear a lot of moms say, 'I'm disappointed I had to have a C-section.' A lot of women felt like they failed because they couldn't do a vaginal delivery," says Betsey Snow, head of Family and Child Services at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
Because many women report that they feel inadequate or that they've missed out on something, doctors developed something known as a family centered cesarean or gentle C-section, which caught on in England.
During a gentle C-section, moms can see their babies being born, which was impossible via a standard procedure, which often occurs in a sterile setting and obscures the process from the mother via a curtain. After the operation, the new mom can opt for skin-to-skin contact, which can help with bonding and jumpstart breast feeding, reports NPR.
"It was the most amazing and grace-filled experience to finally have that moment of having my baby be placed on my chest," explained Kristen Caminiti, who gave birth via a gentle C-section. "He was screaming and then I remember that when I started to talk to him he stopped. It was awesome."
Doctors explain that there are a few adjustments, like the placement of certain equipment and inserting an IV in the mother's non-dominant hand so that she can hold the baby after it's born. During a gentle C-section, doctors use a clear plastic drape instead of an opaque curtain. After the baby is born, the mom can hold it immediately and bond while doctors finish the procedure.
"It is the first time we have really done anything innovative or creative with changing the C-section procedure in years," Snow adds.
Hospitals aren't charging more for the service, nor are they advocating for them. It's just one more option available to women. Snow and her colleagues say that it will take some time to spread knowledge and awareness surrounding the gentle C-section, but hopes that eventually, women will know that it's available and don't feel slighted if they have to opt for a cesarean.
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?