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A cesarean section or cesarean birth is a surgery during which an incision is made on the mother's abdomen to access the uterus and deliver her child when a vaginal delivery is not safe or physiologically possible. It can be a life saving intervention when used appropriately.
Traditionally, a cesarean section will allow mother and baby a brief introduction to one another followed by a prolonged separation while mother is sutured and transported to recovery.
Many Obstetricians are now supporting a more gentle birth experience for both mother and her child by allowing the two to remain together while mother's surgery is completed.
This is referred to in the birth community as a family centered cesarean or gentle cesarean birth. In this scenario, mother can have skin to skin with baby on her chest. Some mothers have been able to successfully breastfeed their baby in this position. For mothers who are unable to hold their baby, a partner or doula can hold baby near the mother's face to allow for bonding while the surgery is completed.
This is all done with the presumption that baby and mother are both medically stable. In the event either baby or mother require additional medical intervention, the separation will likely still occur.
The benefit of keeping mother and baby together can limit the trauma some women experience from not viewing their cesarean as a "birth." Mothers have reported feeling as though they were missing out on the immediate connection with their child which other women experience in an uncomplicated vaginal birth.
A woman grew a child (or children) in her womb. When that child leaves her womb, at whatever gestation and whether surgically or vaginally, it should be respected as a birth.