Many people believe in the benefits of a natural vaginal birth, but most are unaware that there’s a distant cousin: natural Cesarean Section. While it’s true that there’s nothing natural about the uterus and overlying tissue and fascia being cut with a surgical instrument to get the baby from the womb, what is true is that a little time can be taken to allow the baby to emerge from that incision by itself – and mom can watch.
This is a huge difference from “normal” Cesarean Sections, which keep a sterile sheet between the mom’s face and the surgical birth of her child. She sees him or her for the first time when the doctor holds the baby above the screen. While that’s an incredible moment, it’s not quite the personal experience that mothers who give vaginal birth have enjoyed forever – the process of participating and watching their child be born.
There are benefits of vaginal birth that babies born by C-section don’t have – the most important one being that amniotic fluid and other secretions are squeezed from the infant’s lungs when they are making their arduous journey down the vaginal canal. Because the incision used for a cesarean is fairly small, it can mimic this for the infant in many ways.
Also, for non-high risk mothers, that sterile drape can be done away with, assuming she has no known contagious upper respiratory infection. That way, she can see and begin to bond with her baby the minute the head first begins to appear, just like mothers who give birth vaginally. Of course, the mother does have anesthesia so she can’t feel the pain of the incision, but she can probably feel pressure and movement of the fetus which also adds to bonding. Since most babies present head-first, the gender may be something she sees for herself if she hadn’t found out beforehand.
Some people may view this as “weird science” but it’s not that strange or novel. In fact, mothers have been described as pulling their babies from C-section incisions themselves in medical literature before. It’s especially more common in Europe, where birth is looked at as more of a natural process and not a medical illness.
Nearly one-quarter of infants in developed nations are born via cesarean section, for various reasons ranging from “failure to dilate” to serious complications like fetal distress. It’s likely that in cases of fetal distress, “natural C-section” would not be an option because the idea is to get the baby out of the mother as fast as possible in order to remove the stressor and evaluate and treat the fetus. However, the vast majority of C-sections don’t happen like that – many are even planned, because the mother had a C-section with a prior child. These mothers can feel like they are participating in the birth, rather than feeling like the birth is something that is happening without their participation.
According to Pop Sugar, the video that shows the baby wriggling out of the Cesarean incision independently happened at Torbay Hospital. The British mom giving birth, Sarah Saunders, says the birth was as close to natural as it could be, which greatly facilitated bonding and gave her a great memory of the birth.
“If you are unable to give birth ‘naturally,’ having a natural cesarean is the next best thing. It is a birth experience I will cherish forever.”
The natural cesarean takes up to four minutes for the birth, far longer than other Cesarean births, but similar to vaginal births once the head emerges. This procedure may be a wonderful method to facilitate bonding between mother and child immediately.
[Photo by Layland Masuda/Getty Images]