Gentle C-Sections Rising In Popularity, But Are They Worth The Risk?
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Doctors say a new birth method attempts to bring more closeness, calmness and connection to mothers and their babies.

The family-centered or gentle C-sections are becoming a new trend at hospitals across the country. They essentially try to mirror a natural birth as much as possible.

But C-section rates are at nearly 33 percent, which is more than what the World Health Organization set as a target, and some doctors believe it could create unnecessary danger.

“Some of the most important time is right at the time of delivery for both mom and baby,” said Sutter Health’s Dr. William Gilbert

What used to leave mothers knocked out on the surgical table has now become a more gentle, inclusive process aimed at instant family bonding.

“When we throw the baby on the mom’s chest and we prepare the baby and finish the cesarean and keep that baby as close to mom as possible, I think they’re thrilled to realize it’s not as scary as they thought it was going to be,” he said.

He’s delivered dozens of babies via the gentle C-section method and believes it’s a healthy alternative for those who want a low-intervention birth, but require a Cesarean for medical reasons.

“As we get more young people who have been exposed to it, who want to bring this type of delivery to the parents, I think you’re going to see more people do it,” he said.

Instead of cutting the umbilical cord and quickly whisking the baby away to a warmer, the new approach uses the same immediate skin-to-skin contact and early breastfeeding associated with a natural birth.

But Dr. Elliot Main with the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative is concerned it could lead to an unnecessary increase in procedures.

“I think there is some worry about an advertising campaign for a natural or gentle C-section because it can diminish the overall concern for use or overuse of C-sections,” he said.

There can also be some serious complications down the road, especially for women who have multiple children.

“One of the most important complications of a C-section is in the next pregnancy or in the next pregnancy after that, the placenta will invade very deeply into the muscle of the uterus. This is called a placenta accreta. That’s a very dangerous condition that often time leads to hysterectomy at the time of the delivery,” he said.

While both doctors maintain a natural birth is still the best and healthiest way, they continue to brace for a shift in more delivery rooms across the country.