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The Gentle Cesarean

When Dr. Noel Duplantier discussed the option of a “gentle cesarean” with expecting mother Sonia Valentine, she was excited to try it to enhance the bonding experience with her newborn.

“My son, Amir, was immediately placed on my chest and I was able to begin the skin to skin bonding process immediately,” Valentine said. “I got to hear his first breath, his first cry and I didn’t have to wait to meet him.”

With the birth of her first son, Valentine had a traditional cesarean with general anesthesia. Her child was immediately handed to the pediatrician and whisked away after delivery, delaying her first interaction with her newborn son by an hour or more.

Valentine said the gentle cesarean experience was a beautiful one and that she was very thankful for the immediate bonding with her newborn. “I felt so close to my son in those first minutes of his life,” she said. “Everything was perfect.”

Dr. Duplantier and Hancock Medical Center OB nurses say the gentle cesarean puts the love back into the cesarean delivery. It is a family centered approach to the most common surgical procedure in America. Hancock Medical Center is now offering some changes to help make this surgical procedure seem more like a birth. These changes include the EKG leads being placed on the mother’s back instead of her chest, all monitors are placed on one arm so the other arm is free to hold the infant, and the partner is encouraged to remain with the mother and baby to promote family bonding. These changes help to allow the mother to be as involved, emotionally and physically, as she wants to be.  The gentle cesarean allows for skin to skin contact to be initiated much earlier than traditional cesarean deliveries. Skin to skin contact is common practice at Hancock Medical Center, regardless of the type of birth.

Skin to skin contact involves the baby being placed directly on the mother’s chest after delivery, skin to skin, and covered with warm blankets. Skin to skin contact is an important part of the “magical hour.”

Dr. Duplantier explains that the first hour after birth is an important one for both mother and child.

“The baby goes through nine instinctive stages in that first hour after birth,” she said. “We encourage mothers, regardless of the type of delivery, to fully experience that special time together.”

Skin to skin contact helps infants transition to newborn life with greater respiratory, temperature, and glucose stabilization; as well as decreasing the stress level of the newborn and increasing the success of breastfeeding.

For Valentine, it all added up to a great birthing experience.

“It was a wonderful,” she said. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”



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