Maternal Assisted Caesarean
Like most things to do with pregnancy (and life in general for that matter), there is often no single ‘right’ way of doing things. As a caring and compassionate obstetrician, I strive to be aware of, and supportive of women’s feelings and approaches to childbirth. In this context, I introduced the concept of the Maternal Assisted Caesarean to Epworth. I am proud that the process and guidelines I created are now used in numerous hospitals around the country. Maternal Assisted Caesareans allow women to be more engaged in their birth experience.
So what exactly is a ‘maternal-assisted caesarean section’?
A ‘maternal-assisted caesarean section’ is about facilitating women to be more actively involved in the caesarean birth of their baby where it is safe to do so. It allows women to help lift their baby out of their own womb and up onto their chest, welcoming them into the world and having their first cuddle.
A maternal-assisted caesarean section is not for everyone. Participating means becoming involved in the medical procedure. This includes being instructed in and performing a surgical scrub hand wash, and donning sterile gloves and a gown. It also means that the surgical drape that usually shields you from having to watch your operation is lowered, so that both you and your partner will see what is happening during the operation.
This procedure may be confronting for some women or their partners. You won't see the cut on your tummy (there is still a big pregnant belly in the way), but you may see some blood, and you will certainly see more of what the surgical team is doing. Even at caesarean sections delivering babies may be more forceful than you were expecting. Remember also that even if you feel OK with this, your partner may not be comfortable seeing you in this way.
Preparing for a Maternal-Assisted Caesarean Section
A caesarean section is still a major operation with potential for difficulty and complications, just like any other surgery. There may be some circumstances where a maternal-assisted caesarean is not possible, or where it is inappropriate. Given the extra time involved in preparing a woman for participation in the operation, maternal participation is not possible/available for emergency (unplanned) caesareans.
There may be other factors which make the procedure more complicated and, it may also be the case that something occurs during the course of the operation that means that the plans are changed at the last minute.
If you are interested in the option of maternally-assisted caesarean, you will need to discuss this with me during the course of your pregnancy to consider whether this is something you are prepared to do, and whether it would be an appropriate choice in your individual circumstances.
You will also need to participate in a counselling / education process to ensure that both you and your partner are fully prepared for the experience. Please feel free to discuss this with me if you would like further information.
|Why do mothers have C-sections?
|For some women, a C-section is a safer option than a vaginal birth, especially if you have medical complications or conditions that may affect your delivery, such as a large baby, non-progressive labour, or if your baby is in distress. C-sections may be planned or an emergency depending on the situation.
|Which week is best for C-section delivery?
|If you are carrying a healthy pregnancy, it’s best to wait until 39 weeks before giving birth. When scheduling a C-section delivery, we typically recommend waiting until your baby is fully-developed and ready to cope outside the womb to avoid any potential health problems later in life.
|Can I hold my baby immediately after a C-section?
|For a maternal-assisted C-section you can typically hold your baby right after it is delivered as it is more hands on from the mother. Even in non-maternally assisted caesareans it is often possible to hold your baby almost immediately. However, in both situations, babies born by C-section sometimes have trouble breathing and require immediate assistance from your obstetrician. We will work swiftly to make sure your baby is stable and healthy, then you are able to hold them and enjoy your first, special moments together.
|How long does a planned C-section take?
|Planned C-sections often take much less time than vaginal birthing. When delivering a baby vaginally, you can experience labour for 24-48 hours, while a planned caesarean takes about 30-45 minutes. Should complications arise, the time may be extended.
|How many C-sections can a woman have?
|Every patient is different and each case is unique, however, medical evidence suggests that if you have multiple C-sections, your risk in future pregnancies increases each time. There is no absolute upper limit, but planning for future caesareans requires a discussion about the risk relevant to your specific circumstances so you can balance up the pros and cons, and make an informed decision. This is something that we can discuss - ideally before your next pregnancy.