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Today on the podcast I’ve got a positive birth story with a difference because today’s story is a beautiful gentle c-section story. A previous podcast guest of mine, Emily told me about Cath and suggested her as a guest for the podcast because of how positive her story is for a c-section.

Cesareans get a lot of bad press, and they are often regarded with dismay by vaginal birth advocates, but that takes away the important role they can play when the safety of both mum and baby is concerned.

Gentle C SectionCath’s previous two births had both ended in emergency c-sections due to similar issues so when she found herself pregnant for the 3rd time, she instinctively felt that it would be best for both her and her baby to plan for caesarian from the outset. Her consultant was a big fan of natural birth and he had supported her throughout both her previous pregnancies and births, so when he shared with her that he felt that a c-section would be preferable for her and baby, she trusted him. So, at 20 weeks she made her decision and picked a birthing date. She decided to pick a date one week before her due date because she didn’t want to risk her body going into labour

Due to her previous birth experiences, she decided that she wanted to plan her birth so that it could be the most positive birth experience possible. And so began a period of preparation for Cath that is probably a little different to how most other mothers prepare for their births.

During our chat, Cath shares

  • How she prepared for her birth including how she “negotiated” her wishes and desires with her medical team
  • how she consulted with her Supervisor of Midwives to understand what was reasonable for her to request for her birth, and how doing this gave her confidence in making her requests.
  • how the way that she was treated by medical staff mattered to her, both in the lead up other birth and during it… and what they did that was brilliant!
  • what she wanted from her gentle csection experience…. and what she ended up having

The key aspects to a gentle c-section that Cath wanted were

  • A slow delivery; take out baby’s head and shoulders but let the womb contracting bring baby out. This means no pulling of baby for them to come out.. or if it’s required for it to be minimised where possible
  • Skin to skin immediately following birth
  • Delayed cord clamping
  • Baby to be left on mum for as long as possible before being handled and checked over by medical staff

Cath also shared her experience of

  • placenta encapsulation and placenta smoothies; why she wanted to and how it tasted
  • tandem nursing; nursing 2 children

Cath’s advice if you’re preparing for a gentle c-section

Cath’s advice to mamas preparing for gentle c-section

  • Find a positive birth group – see Positive Birth Movement for a group in your local area
  • Search for other local birthing groups, even if you simply connect with them on Facebook, as Cath did to her local Home Birth Group
  • Seek out Gentle Cesarean groups on Facebook
  • Get informed and know your rights

What would Cath do differently?

When I asked Cath if she would have done anything differently, she said she wished she had done something around gut flora and micro biome. There is a mounting evidence that babies born vaginally receive significant levels os gut flora from their mother as part of the birthing process. As such more and more people are choosing to take a vaginal swab of the mother and pass it to baby to help ensure the baby received this valuable healthy bacteria. It is said to help to build immunity and combat against things like allergies.

Here’s an article that talks more about this and if you want something more in depth then this is a good read.

Resources

Gentle C section film

This is the film that Cath mentioned during our chat.

Adventures in tandem nursing – the book Cath shared on nursing two children

Cath mentioned being inspired by some research into natural cesareans and you can read more that here.

Cath blogged about her birth for Holistic Mama which you can read here.

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Alexia Leachman

Alexia is the host of the Fear Free Childbirth podcast and the author of Fearless Birthing, Childbirth, Midwifery & the Media, and Clear Your Head Trash.

Alexia supports families planning pregnancy and birth. She helps them to overcome their fears and feel calm and confident about birth and pregnancy.

Alexia also trains birth professionals in the Fearless Birthing, a unique approach to birth preparation that is ideal for those who have fears around birth.
Alexia Leachman
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