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Thread: Maternal-assisted Caesareans

  1. #1

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    Default Maternal-assisted Caesareans

    Hi everyone, I know that there are always going to be personal and medical reasons why some of us choose to have an elective caesarean as I am one of those people. And although I am hoping for a VBAC next time around I wanted to find out what I could do to make my birthing experience better next time should I end up needing another caesarean - as my CS with my DD was under a general anaesthetic, which resulted in breastfeeding problems and bonding issues and PND.

    I have found out about maternal-assisted caesareans and I just wanted to share this option with you all as I know that not many people know about it. Basically once the OB delivers the head and shoulders out of the incision the mother can reach down and pull bub onto her chest. And aside from bub being taken away brieftly for any medical checks, the mother gets to have skin on skin contact with her baby whilst being stitched up and whilst in recovery.

    I have dissussed this option with my OB and should I need another caesar my OB is happy to let me have a maternal-assisted caesarean.

    I am all too aware though that many hospitals are still very old school when it comes to allowing mums that precious bonding time whilst in theatre and in recovery.
    It has been proven that having that initial time with baby decreases the chances of breastfeeding problems and PND. So if you do have an elective caesarean be sure to discuss your options with your care provider so you can have a positive caesarean experience. Even if the thought of pulling your baby onto your chest doesn't appeal, I think we should all have the right to have that instant prescious skin to skin contact with our babies.

    Just thought I would share this with you all and I'd love to hear your thoughts



    This is a great story about a maternal-assisted caesarean by a woman from the gold coast. Sorry Kelly if there is a problem with having this link here, Just delete the reference to it.
    http://www.birthrites.org/OliverBS.html

  2. #2
    SamanthaP Guest

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    I am going to go out onto a limb here! I think it further disempowers women. It's seems to be a way to normalise something which shouldn't be regarded as normal or a 'choice'. It cons women into thinking that they are getting an experience equal to a natural vaginal birth - and it's not.
    Last edited by SamanthaP; February 21st, 2008 at 12:21 PM. Reason: Evidently we're not all grown-ups!

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    I think it's a wonderful idea for those that *have* to have a c/s. It would be so much better for a bub that has to be born by c/s to be able to hve that first contact with mum before anyone else & get the skin-to-skin which we all know is so important. Sure it's not the most ideal birth as we know a vaginal birth is best for bub the majority of the time, but for those that need to use it I think it's great.

    One of our members actually did this not too long ago, she started a thread here if you want to check it out.

  4. #4

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    Samantha, for some women its not exactly a "choice" and it gives them a good opportunity to have "as close" to a natural experience as possible under these circumstances. No one is kidding them selves into thinking maternal c section and vaginal birth are equal or even similar- it is just a chance to give some women who may not have a "choice" a little flexibility in how they can possible make a c section less about the clinical surgical side and more about bonding.

    I had to have an emergency c section with my daughter, who sadly died. I am now pregnant again, however as my daughter died, i am pregnant sooner than i would be if she was alive and well,due to it being a very quick emergency c section and as there hasnt been much time between my last c section and this birth there is a high risk of me having a vbac delivery- i have been advised to have another c section- i.e this is not exactly a "choice" i have made on a whim, it is for saftey and medical reasons, and i would gladly welcome something like a maternal assisted c section to inhance what would other wise be a very clinical delivery.

    I'm sorry if i have taken your statements too personally samantha, but maybe this isnt the thread to go out on a limb with out thinking about how ppl in my situation may take it.


    Thank you charli's mumma for giving me some info that i can now take to my dr and request the possibilty of a maternally assisted c section.
    SB

  5. #5

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    I can understand where Samantha is coming from, this is often discussed in birth circles... and I will tread very lightly here.

    Caesareans are already at a dangerous level - waaaaay more than the WHO recommendation of 15%. So to make a c/s more enticing in a HEALTHY pregnancy I think is dangerous - its a wonderful option for someone who does need a c/s, it gives them more connection and feeling of birthing their own baby. But it is scary to think it may encourage or make people think more highly of c/s because they can do that, where they are not informed and understand that c/s is not a choice to be made lightly and as many c/s women will tell you - its definitely not the easy way out. It can involve a painful recovery, you lose mobility, you can get infections and all that bizzo. So I think thats what we need to be careful of... and I dont think Samantha meant it in that no-one should be able to do it.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
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  6. #6

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    How wonderful Charli'smumma that you can have a maternal assited c-section. I have had three c-sections - for medical reasons - and my last was my best birth experience. While I didn't help pull Aston out (don't think I could do it - but that's just me) he was laid skin to skin within 2 mins I reckon. He was put to my breast, still covered in vernix... and stayed there while they stitched me up, in recovery, being wheeled back to my room - me and him skin to skin with a blanket over us both - snuggled and cosy and warm and safe - it was beautiful. I still get all *****ly when I think about it. I felt like it was just me Dh and Him, and there was noone else around... which is insane really - because I was in a theatre lol... but everything else around us just faded away... One of the theatre nurse took photos and video for us - there was a midwife with us, and in recovery I was lucky enough to have a theatre nurse who was studying to be a lactation consultant!! and all of this in a public hospital.

    And while I agree that babies should be birthed how they are supposed to be, for those of us who can't do it that way - for whatever reason - having a protocol that allows for the best possible circumstances for a mother and baby to bond, feed, and feel good about their birth experience is fantastic. This is something that has only happened in recent years, as my first two births were entirely different - my DD (12years ago) I was in recovery for about an hour and half, and send her father with her to get weighed etc, so that one of us was with her... I had my first cuddle about 2 hours after she was born. DS1 was an emergency c-section - and after seeing him briefly after he was born, I didn't see him again, other then holding a photo of him for ten hours, which was when I first got to breast feed him as well. The nurse who was looking after me was too busy to wheel me up to special care!

    Anyway - things have changed and for the better!!

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    Hello Everyone

    Thankyou for your replies so far. I just wanted to make it clear that I do not think that a maternal-assisted caesarean is a good alternative to a vaginal birth. Nor did I start this thread to promote it that way. A vaginal birth is the safest, most natural way of bringing a baby into the world and it is all I ever wanted for the birth of my DD. Unfortunately what I got was a horrid birth experience. Well I don't even consider my daughters comming into the world a birth experience actually. If you read my birth de-brief you will understand what I mean.

    http://www.bellybelly.com.au/forums/...ad.php?t=59214

    Boy, what I would give to even know what a contraction feels like and to be able to birth my own baby and hold and bond with them straight away.

    I will be doing everything in my power to have a VBAC for my next birth. But if for medical reassons I have absolutely no alternative but to have another caesar, then to me a maternal-assisted caesarean is the next best thing.

    I just wanted to make this option known to those who, like me just may never have the option of having a vaginal birth.

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    I aploogise again if i got a bit too offended- sorry samantha, kelly has said what i wanted to say in a much more diplomatic matter!!

    I think i am a little emotional today as this was a discussion i had today with a mid wife, so i was a little raw on the topic- sorry again!!

    I am pro vaginal birth, but support c section when the need is there, i actually would prefer a vbac, and may still argue my point to my dr and attempt one, as i want the natural experience, however right now i am being encouraged to have the c section, and i was delighted to see that with this option i may get that bonding magic i feel i would be missing by having a c section.

    Sorry again!!

  9. #9
    SamanthaP Guest

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    No need to apologise for having an opinion Starbright! We're all entitled to them and I certainly not offended. I'm sorry for the loss of your baby, that's an awful thing to happen.

    The thing is (and I'm talking in general here), c-sections are carried out far more than necessary. We know that, everybody knows that. With VBAC's in particular, most Dr's and Obs are already scared of them and would just rather do a c-section again. Or, they say they are pro-vbac and slap a whole lot of restrictions on you, such as: no going over due date, time restrictions in labour, ctg monitoring, bung siting - the list goes on. Just like a watched kettle never boils, a watched woman never labours! To be honest, when women use words or phrases such as 'have to have' or 'allowed', alarm bells ring for me immediately. These are not the words of people who are actually having a say or control in the decision making process. Your care provider should be providing you with all the options, not just the ones that suit them. Nobody ever has to do anything and quite frankly you should never have to 'argue your point' (sorry to borrow your phrase, starbright), to birth your own baby.
    So, to cut to the chase , maternal assisted c-sections concern me because they are a way for Dr's and Obs (and knife happy midwives!), to persuade women into having another c-section. It's just another tool in their belt, so to speak, and a rather alarming one at that.

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    SamanthaP, I totally see where you are comming from. The caesarean rate is alarmingly high. In fact the caesarean rate at the hospital where I had my bub is nearly 50% because 6 out of the 8 Obs insist on repeat caesareans, which is totally disgusting. My OB is one of the 2 who do do VBAC's and the student midwife who I was the follow-through for has confirmed to me that my OB uses less medical intervention than any of the other Ob's at that hospital. I am also exploring other care models for my next pregnancy/birth such as public hospital midwifery care.

    Yes you are right, unfortunatley there are a lot of care providers out there who are knife happy, and mums-to-be really need to research their options when it comes to birthing their baby. Sadly some mums do not realise there are options, especially if it is their first pregnancy.
    But also, there always has been and always will be very valid medical and even psychological reasons for a woman to have a caesarean section too, and just because these women didn't push their baby out doesn't mean that they do not deserve to have that precious bonding time and skin to skin contact with their baby as soon as it is born. Caesarean mums deserve to have support and a caring atmoshpere from their health care providers.

    Samantha, If you have read my birth story and you can give me any suggestions to help me get my VBAC next time I would love your feedback as I can tell you are passionate about vaginal birth and wold have some great idea's.

    Starbright, I too am really sorry to hear about your baby girl. I just wanted to tell you I have read that if your pregnancies are 12-24 months apart then risk of uterine rupture for a VBAC is about 2.6% or less. 2.6% really isn't a very big risk when you consider all of the risks involved with having major abdominal surgery such as a caesarean. Over 24 months apart and the risk is less than 1%. At the end of the day you need to decide what is best for you and your baby and either way you go, I wish you a lovely birthing experience
    Last edited by ~mamaspice~; February 20th, 2008 at 08:25 AM. Reason: Jusrt wanted to make a few add ons and changes

  11. #11

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    First of all I think there is a need for an apology...calling a birth 'horrid' is not nice and not necessary.
    Our birth was not horrid by any means - after 2 previous c/sections which were terribly frightening and disempowering it was beautiful, it was magical and it was the best I could give myself and give my child.
    I fought (and believe me I had to fight!) and succeeded at getting the best birth experience that Jacob and I could have.
    Here's our birth story...
    http://bellybelly.com.au/forums/showthread.php?t=42442

    BTW...I just have to say that I'm a little disappointed that the word horrid has been left there even though the poster apologised if they offended anyone.
    I'm also disappointed with you Kelly, you immediately jumped to their defence yet your lack of support during my struggle to achieve a maternal assisted c/section and congratulations at achieving a great birth for Jacob and myself was very obvious to me.

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    MamaDuke - sorry to disappoint! I am sorry you felt I did not support you in your search for a maternal c/s... I dont get time to get around to everyone's posts I am afraid - very busy mum of 2 children here, and doing the job I do, I tend to support those who are having struggles in the system and the majority are vaginal birthing women because its so easy to get a c/s if you want one - hardly balanced choice available .... and I don't congratulate very many people at all on the birth of their children because it would be unfair not having the time. I think you're placing some unfair expectations on me!!!

    I was trying to clarify what the discussion in the birth world is saying and yes I upset people all the time because I talk about the other side of the story... things other people may not have considered, in the hope it can provoke thought and discussion. I think no matter what we do, be it birth, life, kids etc, two options / opinions are better than one, and people can take what they like/agree with and form their own opinion. Rather healthy I think.

    As I said, I think it's a wonderful thing for someone to be able to do who needs a c/s, it would mainly be possible for elective c/s as emergency ones are done so quick and with urgency so I doubt you would get an Ob to agree with it in an emergency caesar. So it is for a small amount of women who have elective c/s, and for that I am worried it will encourage more to have elective c/s for that sole reason rather than give a healthier option a go. Not saying I am for or against it, these are my concerns.

    If it's any consolation whatsoever, I did read your story Mamaduke, your disappointment in the Ob saying no, then delight in finding Dennis to do it (DoulaRelle told me about it) and I was ecstatic for you - you can ask Relle. I even had a quick flick though of your photos. In January I went overseas so was physically in another country and not on the internet. Trying to catch up from that holiday has been a nightmare, I have a barrage of things to do...

    At the end of the day, I am not dissing the idea at all and I agree that perhaps Samantha you could please edit the word horrid to something else. No-one reported the post or expressed displeasure in it, so if you don't like something, report it!!! That's what the report button is for and we work quickly and more efficiently when people use it too.
    Last edited by BellyBelly; February 21st, 2008 at 07:17 AM.
    Kelly xx

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    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
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  13. #13
    SamanthaP Guest

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    LOL Mamaduke, note the sentence says 'I think...' - it's my opinion and I'm certainly not going to edit my opinion to make it more palatable for someone else. We're all grown-ups here aren't we?!

    Charli's mumma the best thing you can do is to find caregivers who believe in you and your body 100%. Surround yourself with the right people and right environment and the birth will follow.

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    Thanks your your post Mummaduke. I have to say that yes, I was a little offended by the work "horrid" being used that way too.

    And Kelly, I fully support your views on the unneccessary rise of Australia's caesarean rate. I guess I was just a little taken back by the mixed responses to my post because, this is the caesarean section support forum after all and I assumed that the main aim of this forum perhaps was to offer support and understanding to caesarean mums. Like I have said earlier. I just wanted to post this info to give mums, who are seriously staring down the barrel of a caesarean a choice.

    Personally I do not think that a maternal-assisted caesar is everyones cup of tea. A lot of the responses I've had from family and friends is "awe yuck, I'd rather just be knocked out!" And I don't think that having the option there would easily sway the decision of the majority of mums having a healthy pregnancy against having a normal vaginal birth. Some women yearn to birth their babies and pull them up onto their chest and some simply just don't. The women who just simply choose a caesarean because they have no great interest in birthing their babies probably aren't too keen on the blood and guts factor of a maternal-assisted caesarean anyway. But those women who do yearn to birth their bubs naturally, but for good reason cannot, would most likely view a maternal-assisted caesarean as a wonderful opportunity.

    Vaginal birth versus caesarean birth aside, a caesarean can be an emotionally crushing experience. After I woke out of the anaesthetic in recovery my baby was placed on my bare chest straight away. I only have one person to thank for that and that person is my student midwife. She made sure this happened for me as she knew how upset I was about having a ceasar let alone when it turned out to be an unconcious one. Had I not been a follow-through for Cassie, I probably wouldn't have even seen my baby for some time afterwards. Many caesarean mums are disadvantaged in this way and the consequences of many hospitals current procedures is proven. Emergency caesar mums should at least get to hold their bub skin to skin in theatre and in recovery but so often this is not the case. A lot of protocols and attitudes need to change.

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    I have to admit, I accidentally posted here without looking at which section it was posted in, so that was my bad!

    I agree many protocols need to change but hospitals are all about money, policy, litigation and what's in their best interests which is hard.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
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    Charli'smumma,
    I think it's great you are researching your own personal birth options and I think that is the key - birth is very personal. I had an emergency c/s with my first daughter, but had successful vbacs with my other 2 daughters. From my experience c/s left me feeling somewhat detatched from the situation, but I did what I thought was best in the situation and my recovery was horrible. Although I didn't "bond" with her straight after the birth I was not going to beat myself up about it and since then we have had plenty of time to bond and have very close relationship 6 years on. Although I don't think maternal assisted c section is for me I can fully understand why you are researching these avenues. As i can see you are trying to make what could possibly be a negative situation for you into a positive one. Good luck to you and fingers crossed for a successful vbac for you.

  17. #17
    SamanthaP Guest

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    Quote:
    And Kelly, I fully support your views on the unneccessary rise of Australia's caesarean rate. I guess I was just a little taken back by the mixed responses to my post because, this is the caesarean section support forum after all and I assumed that the main aim of this forum perhaps was to offer support and understanding to caesarean mums. Like I have said earlier. I just wanted to post this info to give mums, who are seriously staring down the barrel of a caesarean a choice.

    Hi Charli's mum - I've had a c-section (under a general also) with my first baby, so I have indeed stared down the barrel before... I also know my c-section was probably unnecessary and set me up for so much angst, tears and heartbreak when contemplating the birth of my second baby.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by SamanthaP View Post
    LOL Mamaduke, note the sentence says 'I think...' - it's my opinion and I'm certainly not going to edit my opinion to make it more palatable for someone else. We're all grown-ups here aren't we?!
    Yes we are all grown ups and we're all women too...as long as we continue to disregard each other's feelings and desires we'll never get anywhere in this world. It amuses me that we expect the medical profession to respect our wishes & feelings yet we can't even do that for each other.

    Kelly - thank you for your explanation. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

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