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The Truth About C-Sections

What is the difference between a regular C-section and a "gentle" C-section?

"Gentle" is a term that is not quite in all the OBGYN Provider's vernacular. I queried L/D nurses and colleagues. More nurses are familiar and from my contacts it seemed liked the East and West coast were much more up on the term. That being said a "gentle" C-section is being offered at many hospitals. The hospital I currently am affiliated with does not call it a "gentle" C-section but their non-emergent sections incorporate almost everything that the term tends to imply including immediate skin to skin for baby and mom, using a clear drape so mom can witness the birth, dad cuts the cord (or trims it with the neonatal team), dad and baby stay with mom in recovery room as long as baby is stable, music of choice is played in the operating room, etc.

Are there any new dangers with this new procedure?

I'm not sure I would label it a procedure, as it is basically an attempt to make the birthing process as natural as possible and as similar to a vaginal delivery as possible.

What are some of the characteristics that qualify women for a gentle C-section? Regular C-section? Natural birth?

First and foremost is that a "gentle C-section" would be one that is not emergent. Sometimes babies have to be delivered within minutes because of a fetal monitor tracing that suggests the baby may be in distress. They are usually under general anesthesia and thus most of the things going with that "birth experience" for mom are put aside for baby's sake.

Why are Gentle C-sections becoming more popular?

Simulating the natural birthing process benefits both mom and baby. There is a good evidence that babies are forever affected by the maternal micro biome at birth (the microorganisms that are endemic to the mother and those organisms that are contracted via vaginal birth are different than C-Section and therefore the "gentle" C-Section suggests including gauze placed in the vagina then is the gauze is wiped on the neonate after the C-section to expose the baby to the maternal microbiome.)

How would you respond to those who promote natural birth, when they make the claim that planned C- sections are usually a cosmetic choice and affect mother-child bond ?

As you know every situation is different and the mother-child bond is multifactorial. That bond is built and strengthened over time. For example, having a "gentle C-section" and being raised in a household without love and warmth from parents that hug their kids probably won't help much with the bonding.

In the case of emergency C-sections, is it possible for the "gentle" procedure to be used?

Again since "gentle" seems to hit a wide variety of aspects of the C-section there are still some things that hospitals and providers can do, such as the vaginal gauze for collection of the natural maternal microbiome.

For women who would like to explore this option with their OB/GYN, what are some key talking points that they should bring up?

It really is a collaborative procedure with labor nurses, OB providers, anesthesia and hospital policies as well as patient requests and making sure that their OBGYN provider is part of a team (and that the team is aware of the patient or notified via scheduling) that all see the benefits of the "gentle" C-section will maximize the experience for the patient.