Family Centered Cesarean Birth


Family Centered Cesarean


Cesarean birth is sometimes necessary and/or desired by a Mother, and the mode of delivery does not change or dilute the transformative and powerful impact of birth on an entire family. A Family Centered Cesarean is a surgical birth that is honored and treated with the respect that all birth deserves. Often referred to as a “gentle” cesarean, this birth option is distinct from the way most cesareans are performed in many ways–beginning with the conversation and informed decision making that might lead to a surgical birth.


Once in the operating room, the focus remains on the birth experience and the family. The lights are lowered and the the room is quiet. Just before the baby is born, the sterile curtain is lowered so that both parents are able to witness their baby’s birth. Immediately after birth, unless there is a medical concern, the baby is brought to the Mother’s chest for skin-to-skin. There are numerous known benefits of skin-to-skin after birth, and a cesarean is a surgical birth. Unlike a typical cesarean, the Mother’s arms are not strapped to the operating table, thus allowing the Mother to hold her baby.

The family is able to stay like this while the surgery is completed (around 30 minutes). If breastfeeding is a goal, a first latch can be attempted at this time. This is different than a standard cesarean section, in which the baby is taken immediately to the warmer bassinet, and the partner and baby then go to recovery and await the Mother. During a Family Centered Cesarean, Dr. Bootstaylor is able to ‘milk’ the umbilical cord so that more blood is pushed toward the baby before clamping.


While the term Family Centered Cesarean, or Gentle Cesarean, is gaining attention and popularity, the practice remains extremely rare. Despite caregivers even promising this type of birth, many Mothers do not truly have the option. Dr. Bootstaylor brought this practice to Atlanta, and remains one of the few doctors to walk the walk. He believes in the importance of offering this birth option to families.


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