Birth Matters: C-Sections

This week lets talk about C-Sections. High rates of cesarean sections in the past several years have been a hot topic of conversation. Especially after a statement issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) stated the ideal rate of c-sections should be within 10-15% of births. In the US, the rate of cesarean sections peaked in 2009 at 32.9%. Since then rates have begun to decline but only slightly. In 2014 the rate of cesarean sections was still high at 32.2% of births. This means that in recent years, 1/3 of babies were born by c-secitons.

These extremely high rates are cause for concern, questions and exploring the motivations behind the use of this procedure. However, it is important in conversations about C-sections that we do not demonize this invaluable, life-saving procedure. It is also important that we respect, support and do not draw conclusions about the experiences of women who have given birth via cesarean sections.

While rates remain high, there have been exciting developments in the standard practice of non-emergency cesarean sections. These changes, some of which are depicted in the images below, all aim to include the mother in the procedure and help improve bonding between mother and baby.

Using clear draping so that mothers can be involved and see the birth of their baby:

Image by Emily Robinson Photography

Placing babies directly on to their mothers chest to practice skin-to-skin:

Image by Emily Robinson Photography

Keeping families together in the OR allowing bonding and/or breast feeding:

Image by Crystal Turner

Mother assisted cesareans encourage mothers to "catch" their babies (amazing!!):

Image by Simone's Photography

Gentle cesarean sections, also known as Family-centered cesareans, are amazing! If you want to read, hear or watch more about it check out the links below:

1. NPR story that exemplifies a gentle cesarean section

2. ABC story on a special drape that allows babies to be handed directly to mothers after birth via cesarean section

3. How to create a gentle cesarean section birth plan

4. 'Gentle' C-Section turns birth surgery into labor of love

5. A video of a gentle cesarean section

*All of these links are meant to inform, create dialogue and provide a variety of perspectives. Birth occurs in many places, through many different paths and what is most important is that informed decisions are exercised, a birthing woman is supported and the experience is empowering.

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