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

Living and Loving - - CONTENTS -

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.

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