If you need to have a C-section you can try to make the process as calm and positive as possible. While some may not be possible due to hospital policy, procedure or individual complications with the birth, you should at least discuss some or all of the following with your care giver.
1. Transparent or dropped drape
While in most cases an opaque drape will be put in front of you to both conceal you from the surgery and keep a sterile environment it is often possible to request the drape to be lowered just for the moment of birth allowing you to see your baby as soon as they are born.
Taking things a step further a medical facility in Alabama, United States has introduced a transparent drape, meaning the surgery can be viewed through the drape. Check it out in more detail here.
2. Music and ambience
C-section occur in operating theatres. They can be cold and clinical. There are all the normal sights, smells and sounds of an operating theatre including the operating table, large lights above your head, people surrounding you in surgical scrubs, beeping machines and so on. Why not make some requests regarding the environment, where possible, to make things a little less clinical. How about some nice soothing music? Did you see Susan’s 2nd C-section birth story? Her little lady was delivered to Van Morrison’s Moondance. What a lovely memory marker. Why not ask the same. Maybe you don’t want the surgeons chatting about what they had for breakfast or after work pints or maybe you do! Take a few minutes to think about how you want your baby to come into the world. Obviously you will need to be realistic about what can be achieved in an operating table but even some minor adjustment can make it more enjoyable.
3. Photos and videos
Different medical facilities will have different policies about photos and video in theatre. No doubt you may want a photo of your new baby in their first moments if it is possible, so discuss what is or isn’t allowed. In my own personal case I did not have a camera for first two but we were well prepared for number 3 and when we requested it we were told we could take photos but just not of the surgeons and actual surgery. We did get some lovely photos of our little lady moments after birth and the theatre midwife took a lovely shot of myself, my husband and our newest addition which I treasure. Of course you may be allowed to take photos of baby emerging or even video it which is why it is important to discuss this in advance.
4. Delayed Cord Clamping
A growing number of patients are requesting a delay to cutting the cord until after the cord has stopped pulsating. This allows for full blood volume to transfer to the new infant as they begin their new life following months within the uterus. It also allows full count of red blood cells, immune cells and stem cells. It can also prevent complications when it comes to delivery of the placenta.
As well a delaying cord clamping you may wish to discuss the possibility of a birth partner cutting the cord during the procedure.
5. Skin to skin contact
Having skin to skin contact once your baby has been born is not just a great bonding moment but has some significant benefits too such as helping with breastfeeding, baby maintaining a better body temperature as well as heart rate and blood pressure and helps to maintain a higher blood sugar.
6. Baby in recovery room
While it is often necessary for baby to be taken away for medical attention or be brought to ICU but, where possible, keeping baby with you while you are in recovery is something that can be requested. Hospitals have varying policies, particularly where the recovery room may be shared with patients who have undergone other procedures such as a D&C after a miscarriage. In such hospitals policy often airs on the side of being sensitive to the needs and feelings of the mother having experienced a loss and therefore may not allow a brand new baby in the recovery room. That said it is important to discuss with your surgeon how best to deal with your own requirements too.
7. Maternal assisted delivery
Being actively involved in your baby’s birth, even if they have to be born by C-section, may seem like the ultimate for some women. Recent cases in the media have described the maternal assisted delivery, whereby the mother is directly involved in birthing her child. Having your medical practitioner agree to this type of C-section may prove difficult however it may be worth at least having a discussion if it is something you would like. Although for many it would not be on their list of requests.
Adding some or all of these to a C-section birth plan can really help make a planned C-section much more relaxed and enjoyable. It is no harm to even think about some of these things for your birth plan even if you don’t plan on having a C-section, just in case an emergency arises.