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?

Share your thoughts below.

Image via Shutterstock

  • Everyone is scared of giving birth naturally you silly woman. I simply do not think caesarean should be performed on request, this is what this latest trend seems to involve, requested C sections


  • I think that it is not something I would want to do and I am not sure why anyone would want to put themselves or their baby/s lives at risk. A C – Section is a complex procedure, I have had two out of necessity but could never recommend getting a C – Section unless there is a medical need for it.


  • I just underwent an emergency c-section after 3 previous vaginal births. There is no way I could have assisted in any way – I have never been so frightened in my entire life!!


  • My first was a c-section and I was terrified. Don’t think I could’ve done this.


  • i think its personal preference. I understand both sides of the story…but i do agree with everyone else and say that its all over in no time at all and it is much safer to wait the extra few seconds until baby is placed on your chest. get the nurses to take a few pics of baby coming out of your belly if you wish so you do get to see it eventually.


  • I had 2 c-sections and I had no wish to get my hands in there. My OBGYN was very well trained, the nurse took our camera off dad and got some pretty intense photos for us. But I was happy for them to look after my insides and make sure everything got put back in there properly and cleanly.


  • Really is it so necessary to get down & dirty with OBGYN? Seriously the baby is out on your chest before you can blink & an extra second isn’t going to destroy that skin to skin bonding.


  • I’ve had four kids and this never crossed my mind but I’ve never had a c section so maybe it’s something that these births can offer.


  • I’m with the doc on this one. This is major surgery with two lives in the balance. I get wanting to have the skin on skin but not during surgery. I had a natural and two ceasers. I got to have a cuddle with all three.


  • This would not be wise if the baby didn’t start breathing on his/her own immediately. Hand the baby straight to the Mum if breathing and leave the cord attached. What about the placenta? Would it make it harder to removed if the cord was pulled tight too soon?


  • I did this 6 months ago with the birth of my second bub. It was an incredible experience. It was me who took my little girl from my tummy and brought her to my chest for skin on skin cuddles. Such a wonderful experience and I thoroughly recommend it.
    I was scrubbed for surgery like any doctor would have been so there are no concerns about contamination.


  • Having had my children by vaginal birth..I am no expert on C sections but I am thinking along the lines as Dr Pecoraro.


  • I wouldn’t want to take part – I’d leave it to the doctors and nurses.


  • Gah. Not sure I’d want to try this. It sounds unsafe.


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