‘Natural caesareans’ could soon be available on the NHS – but what are they?

Could this be the safer, less complicated way to have a caesarean?

Doctors are currently trialling what they call a ‘natural’ and ‘slow’ caesarean, which has the potential to make C-sections safer for the mother and baby.

As it currently stands, caesareans involve the baby being removed from the womb quickly, before being rapidly wrapped up and taken away. One of the risks of this type of birth, is that babies may suffer from respiratory problems due to the sudden change in air.

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With a natural caesarean however, currently being trailed at London’s University College Hospital, a small incision is made in the mother’s womb, and the baby’s head is then pulled out. The baby is then left to make its own way out alone.

This can take up to four minutes, and once free, the baby is lifted to rest on the mother with the umbilical cord still attached. The parents can see the baby’s sex for themselves, and professionals believe that this can strengthen the bond between the mother and baby, and reduce complications.

Consultant midwife and trial leader Belinda Green said: ‘So many women say the bond with their baby is stronger after a skin-to-skin caesarean, and there is evidence to suggest it reduces a number of complications after birth.

‘The demand for this type of birth continues to increase and I am constantly being contacted by women who want it.’

Charlotte Philby had her first two babies through regular C-section, and her third through a natural one. She says the experience was far better for her and her son.

‘The first two were very clinical,’ she told The Times. ‘The baby is cut out and immediately bundled up and whisked away. But the moment Xander lay on my chest, skin-to-skin, he was completely soothed. He was really calm.

‘It was quite an amazing moment and I realised this is what women meant when they talked about their experience of birth.’

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The procedure which is described as ‘halfway between a natural birth and caesarean’, could soon be available nationwide if tests continue to show there are no risks.

Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology spokesman Dr Patrick O’Brien said: ‘There are no disadvantages to the method. It should be available to every woman. The trial is an exciting step forward.’

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