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More hospitals now offer the option of having a clear drape during uncomplicated c-section births. This growing practice provides a sterile environment for the surgery while allowing the mother and her partner to witness the moment their baby enters the world.
C-sections account for approximately 1 out of 3 births in the U.S. today. A clear drape allows women to feel more involved in the birthing process, providing a much-needed emotional benefit to those who might feel disconnected during a c-section delivery.
During a typical c-section, a solid drape is placed at the mother's bra line to prevent her and her partner from seeing the surgery. A clear drape has a removable opaque section that's used during the initial part of the surgery, then lowered just before the baby is delivered.
The clear drape is part of a movement toward gentle c-sections – also called family-centered c-sections – because they aid bonding in the baby's first minutes of life, experts say.
A gentle c-section encourages immediate skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby when possible. Practitioners leave the mother's hands free rather than strapped down, put the IV in her nondominant hand so she can hold her baby, and monitor the baby's heartbeat through his back rather than his chest. Also, mothers may receive less sedation after surgery, and breastfeed in the operating room or recovery room.
If you'd like a clear drape or other accommodations should you end up having a c-section, tell your healthcare provider at your next prenatal appointment, and express your preferences in your birth plan. Alternatively, if the hospital does not have a clear drape available, you can ask your healthcare provider to lower the solid drape during the actual birth.
Learn more about gentle c-sections, and check out this personal story: Ready to be spellbound by clear drape c-section photos?
Photo used with permission by Rocket City Doulas
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