Queensland mum Sarah Downs is one of a rising number of women who are scrubbing up with the surgical team and becoming hands-on during caesarean births. But one expert is calling it a “gimmick”.
The Courier Mail reports, maternal-assisted births are in such demand that maternity advocates are calling for the “exciting” self-delivery method to be introduced at all hospitals. Currently, there are no known cases of the practice in the state’s public hospitals and patients are seeking out private facilities.
“I was so terrified of giving birth naturally and had heard of maternal-assisted caesareans, so I was excited to deliver my baby with the doctor,” Ms Downs said.
“I asked the doctor if he would facilitate a maternal-assisted birth and am so thankful that he was prepared to go the extra mile. I understand that this would not be suitable for all pregnancies,” Ms Downs said.
Mums want to feel more connected during C-section surgery and not excluded behind a curtain. In the maternal-assisted method the mother’s hands are the first to touch the baby and she then places the newborn on her chest for immediate skin-to-skin bonding.
“Unfortunately, many mums are denied this type of birth but it’s a human rights issue. A mother’s body and baby is hers to make decisions about. She doesn’t need a doctor’s permission,” Alecia Staines, of the maternity reform group Maternity Consumer Network, said.
Veteran midwife Amanda Bude said “There are countless benefits, including better breastfeeding rates, optimal cord clamping and better bonding due to skin-to-skin contact.”
“With one out of three babies being born now via surgery, it’s vital for babies and mothers to have the support of care providers for providing an optimal environment in a surgical setting”, she said.
Queensland obstetrician and a former Australian Medical Association state president Gino Pecoraro said he would not recommend the birthing method to his patients and called it a “gimmick”.
“A C-section is still a major operation and I am not a fan of putting untrained hands into the surgical field. We have made having babies so safe these days that sometimes people underestimate how serious the whole process can be,” he said.
Did you or someone you know have a maternal-assisted caesarean? OR do you agree with Dr Pecoraro about it just being a gimmick?
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