Special requests when planning a caesarean

With any request  you make about how a planned caesarean proceeds it is worth discussing these well in advance. Some requests can be accommodated, others cannot but the hospital may be able to suggest alternatives for you.

Examples of things you may want to request (there are lots of others and I discuss many more in my book):

  • Partner present during set up (e.g. insertion of anaesthesia needles etc.) – This is permitted in some hospitals but unfortunately tends to be down to the practicalities of the size of the room. If you are to be fully ‘prepped’ in the actual theatre (and not everyone is) there should be sufficient space for your partner
  • Delayed cord clamping – Delaying for 2 minutes is thought to enable valuable oxygen and nutrients (e.g. iron) to continue to reach your baby until breathing has been properly established, (also reducing the risk of anaemia). This is an on-going debate but if you have a particular view, state your preference in advance as it can be quite difficult to gain agreement for this
  • Skin to skin contact ASAP – Unless there is a medical emergency which has led to your caesarean there is absolutely no reason why you should not be able to hold your baby within seconds of her being born. Many hospitals prefer to have a quick check of her condition but if this is a straightforward planned caesarean with no complications predicted then there is no reason why you shouldn’t ask to hold her immediately. You can actually go one step further and hold her skin-to-skin if you make sure your gown is free of the screen prior to surgery commencing. Indeed it is possible to attempt breastfeeding in theatre but you really do need to agree this in advance as your gown will need to go on backwards (e.g. open at the front) and your partner will need to be next to you to assist you in holding and positioning (you are flat on your back and it will be quite tricky to hold her safely). Breastfeeding in theatre is not common practise and you will need the support and encouragement of the team and prior agreement for it. Women have reported that they were refused the option of turning their gown around being told it would “compromise the sterile field”. I have checked this with medical professionals and there is absolutely no truth in this – the screen protects the sterile field not your gown
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