U of M offering 'gentle' C-section to make experience more like a birth than operation

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Doctors at a Twin Cities hospital are hoping to make a cesarean section a birth experience instead of a medical procedure.

About one-in-three babies is delivered by C-section, and in many cases a mother's only memory of their child being born is from pictures taken during the event, NPR News noted.

But hospitals are now moving toward a process that makes the surgery more mom and baby friendly.

The Birthplace at the University of Minnesota Medical Center is using the "gentle" or "family centered" technique that modifies the typical C-section to closer mimic traditional natural childbirth, news release notes.

What's different

One of the main differences is the mother's ability to see and hold her baby soon after the child is born, the release notes.

In a traditional C-section, it can be up to 12 minutes before a mom gets to hold her new child, WCCO notes.

Wires that are hooked up to machines get in the way, preventing the mom from holding her baby. But with different placement of the monitors and wires, mom and baby can start bonding soon after birth, TODAY said.

If the "gentle" procedure goes as planned without any complications, skin-to-skin contact can happen within minutes after the baby is born – even while doctors are wrapping up the procedure.

In addition, all surgical procedures require a drape to keep the procedure sterile, but this technique ditches the blue drape for a clear one so the mom can see her baby right after they're born.

Doctors also delay clamping the umbilical for about 30-60 seconds after the birth, similar to a vaginal delivery. The belief is this will increase a baby's iron stores, blood volume and possibly help with brain development, the release notes.

The U of M is looking into different kinds of pain medications and blocks that will make the new mothers less groggy during the procedure, the release notes.

A growing trend

These family centered C-sections are relatively new in the United States, but a growing number of hospitals around the country are beginning to offer them, and many hospitals in Minnesota are rated "baby-friendly" or say they offer a family-centered approach to childbirth with the plan to offer the gentle c-section technique in the coming months, WCCO says.

A recent study found that there have been no increase in complications, operating room times or infection rates using this method, Ob.Gyn. News said.

People interested in the gentle C-sections are encouraged to contact their health care provider.

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