Gentle Cesarean: 7 Steps to a Family-Centered Birth

Gentle Cesarean Image

Birth is a transformative journey, and while moms often prefer a vaginal birth, there are times when a cesarean birth is necessary. But we can make cesarean birth feel more gentle and nurturing, instead of just surgery. Let’s explore the practices that make up a gentle cesarean, empowering you to have a positive and connected birth experience with your baby.

1. The Clear Drape: Enhancing Emotional Connection

A clear surgical drape is a key element of a gentle cesarean. Unlike the usual opaque drape, a clear drape lets you see the birth of your baby. It helps you form an immediate emotional connection with your baby while maintaining a sterile environment.

2. Slow Delivery: Mimicking the Natural Descent

In a gentle cesarean, the baby is delivered slowly, imitating the gradual descent through the birth canal during vaginal birth. The doctor or midwife guides the baby’s head out slowly for a gentle and controlled birth. This approach reduces the baby’s risk of respiratory distress.

3. Immediate Skin-to-Skin Contact: Promoting Early Connection

Immediate skin-to-skin contact is vital in a gentle cesarean. Once the baby is born, the doctor places the baby directly on your bare chest. This promotes bonding and initiates early breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin contact has several benefits, such as regulating the baby’s temperature, stabilizing their heart rate, and fostering a sense of security.

4. Delayed Cord Clamping: Supporting Baby’s Transition

Delayed cord clamping is another important aspect of a gentle cesarean. The doctor waits a short time before clamping and cutting the umbilical cord. This delay allows the baby to receive extra blood and nutrients from the placenta. In turn, this leads to improved iron levels, better immune function, and enhanced brain development.

5. Create a Soothing Operating Room: A Calm Environment

Creating a welcoming and soothing environment in the operating room is crucial for a gentle cesarean. Dimmed lights, soft music, and a calm atmosphere promote relaxation and reduce the clinical feel. It’s encouraged to have a support team, such as your partner or doula, present to provide emotional support and advocate for you. Feeling well-supported contributes to a positive and empowering birth experience.

6. Early Breastfeeding Support: Nurturing the Breastfeeding Relationship

Supporting early breastfeeding is essential in gentle cesarean techniques. You should be encouraged to start breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth. Lactation consultants can assist with achieving a proper latch and finding comfortable positions that avoid the cesarean incision. Prioritizing early breastfeeding helps establish a strong and successful breastfeeding relationship.

7. Talk it Out: Open Communication

Anticipating a cesarean birth can bring various emotions, from disappointment to relief, fear to uncertainty. Open communication is key to a positive cesarean birth. It’s important to collaborate with a doctor who understands and respects the principles of a gentle cesarean. Let your healthcare provider know your preference for a gentle cesarean and discuss the available options at your birthing facility. Expressing your desires and concerns during prenatal appointments helps create a positive and personalized birth experience.


A gentle cesarean can help encourage a deeper connection with the birth experience. It can also increase your sense of control and empowerment. By implementing these techniques, you can have a positive and connected birth experience that honors the transformative journey of bringing your baby into the world.


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2017). ACOG Committee Opinion No. 721: Cesarean Delivery on Maternal Request. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 130(2), e217-e220.
  2. World Health Organization. (2015). WHO statement on caesarean section rates. Retrieved from
  3. Chervenak, F. A., McCullough, L. B., & Brent, R. L. (2017). Gentle cesarean delivery: A needed innovation. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 129(5), 956-959.
  4. Torkamani, S., Zakerihamidi, M., Salehian, B., & Marsoosi, V. (2019). Comparing the effects of gentle and traditional cesarean delivery on the newborns’ transition to extrauterine life: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing, 33(2), 167-173.
  5. Vogel, J. P., Betran, A. P., Vindevoghel, N., Souza, J. P., & Torloni, M. R. (2018). Patterns and outcomes of cesarean birth in low- and middle-income countries: A global network study. Reproductive Health, 15(1), 1-14.
  6. Marín Gabriel, M. Á., Llana Martín, I., López Escobar, A., Fernández Villalba, E., Romero Blanco, I., & Touza Pol, P. (2016). Randomized controlled trial of early skin-to-skin contact: Effects on the mother and the newborn. Acta Paediatrica, 105(2), 178-184.

Meet Katie Griffin

I’m a registered nurse, Lamaze certified childbirth educator, and the mother of 7. I help women realize their dream of a natural, intimate, and empowering hospital birth.

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Birth is a transformative journey, and while moms often prefer a vaginal birth, there are times when a cesarean birth is necessary. But we can make cesarean birth feel more