PERSONALISE YOUR C-SECTION
As more women are having C-section births, we have a look at how you can make the experience as personalised and memorable as possible. By registered midwife Pippa Hime
Having a C-section may be your preferred mode of delivery, or it may be medically necessary. For parents hoping for a vaginal birth, ending up with an unplanned C-section can be a traumatic experience.There is only one of two ways for a baby to be born – and it’s a good idea to prepare yourself and your partner for both.You can make your C-section a special and unique experience.
Making your C-section unique
It’s a good idea to get to know your team.There are various people involved in a C-section and it makes it more personal if you are familiar with a couple of the faces. For example, ask you family doctor if they assist in theatre. Dr Megan Jones, a family GP, says,“It’s great to assist in a C-section of known patients from my family practice. It’s always so special to be part of the birth of a baby − especially when you have looked after the family before and have an existing relationship with them.” Some midwives and doulas offer to come with you to theatre if you end up having a C-section.This can be a great support for you − especially if you were not planning on this birthing option. Every hospital has its own policy regarding this, so make sure you enquire beforehand. Many hospitals offer tours of the units ahead of time, so you can get an idea of the routine elements of a C-section and perhaps meet some of the nursing staff who may be looking after you pre and post delivery. It’s important to remember a C-section is a surgical procedure and is performed in compliance with surgical rules. Safety of mother and child are paramount and can’t be compromised.With this in mind, there are still a number of ways to make the whole experience from start to finish a personalised and memorable one. During a C-section, you will need to have an IV drip inserted.Ask the anaesthetist for this to be placed in your non-dominant hand, which will make it easier to handle your baby during the first 24 hours after the operation when the drip remains in place. As it is a surgical procedure, you will need to be monitored by the anaesthetist throughout the operation. You can ask the doctor to place the electrodes that monitor your pulse and breathing to be placed on you back as opposed to your chest. This way, your chest will be open for your baby to be placed skin to skin for bonding immediately after birth. The blood pressure cuff can also be placed on your leg as opposed to your arm.That way, you will have your arm free for those first special cuddles.
The theatre of it
“It’s about creating this beautiful moment for both the parents and the child at birth,” says Dr Kerry Sherwood, a Cape Town obstetrician in private practice. Measures can be taken to make the hospital theatre a little more welcoming to your baby.This family-centred approach makes the experience more peaceful. The harsh peripheral lighting in the theatre can be dimmed and the room can be warmed slightly. A surgical screen is put up during the procedure.This screen can be lowered once the head is birthed so both parents can be part of the delivery and watch their child enter the world. You can ask for silence at the time of birth so your voices are the first your baby hears. Ask that you be the ones who call the sex of the baby. Warmed blankets can be placed over your baby when he is lying skin to skin. Your baby can be placed skin to skin on your chest once born and remain there with you throughout the rest of the operation, provided there are no complications.