by Michele Zipp
One of the new buzz terms heard more when it comes to birth is "gentle c-section." Which is fantastic because with c-sections on the rise, we should all want women to have the most gentle one possible. Of course it would be better if cesareans were on the decline. With this gentle c-section, moms do skin-to-skin contact with baby right after birth. Seems like a no-brainer. Why wouldn't mama put baby to chest right after giving birth? Particularly after a c-section. But doctors seem to have forgotten the human element in birth and rely too heavily on the technology.
Skin-to-skin doesn't happen as much as it should. In fact, for the first time in America, a gentle cesarean was performed in May of 2013 where a healthy triplet birth resulted in mom placing her babies on her chest right after birth -- skin-to-skin. First time? What took so long?
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This triplet birth at Cape Coral Hospital in Florida was a healthy one, a c-section, but babies and mama are doing well. Each baby was placed on mama's chest after being delivered and the babies stayed there while surgery was being completed. Sounds like the perfect way to keep mama calm, babies calm, and make the birth experience a memorable one, in the best way possible considering it was surgery. The mother exclusively breastfed and continued to nurse her triplets after they were all released from the hospital. So fantastic! I breastfed twins, but triplets! Great job, mama! This is what they are calling the gentle cesarean -- putting more human elements into this major medical procedure. Skin-to-skin contact (also calledkangaroo care) has so many benefits for baby and mama. In this case, babies. And particularly for premature babies who sometimes need a little extra to thrive. It's something I did with my newborns as well.
The concept is simple: No clothes, no blankets -- mama's skin against baby's skin while baby is lying on your chest. This is also a great thing for dads to do. Skin-to-skin's benefits include stabilizing baby's temperature, heart rate, and breathing. It keeps baby's blood sugar more elevated, is shown to prevent allergies, reduce the need for preemie babies needing to be on oxygen, and helps with breastfeeding. A baby is in our womb for up to 10 months -- she's used to that warmth, that protection. It makes sense that once born, being closest to mother, skin-to-skin, would help baby thrive, have less stress, and be less likely to cry.
This is what all women who have a c-section should demand after their baby is delivered. Skin-to-skin. Gentleness. We all deserve more of this, particularly during birth and the moments after.
What do you think of skin-to-skin? Did you do it and did you notice the benefits?
Image via adaeoe/Flickr