We talk about birthers catching their own babies when they're having a vaginal birth. Did you know that this can be possible in caesarean or "c-section" as well?

"Mother-assisted c-section" is what it's traditionally called now. (I just changed it to "Birther-Assisted Caesareans" to be more inclusive because not all people who gets a c-section identify as mothers). Some birthers felt disconnected with the birth process during their c-section. There are many ways to address that by using gentle c-section methods such as not strapping down the arms, putting IV on the non-dominant arm, having clear drapes, playing music, limiting shop talk, skin-to-skin time in the OR, and so on.

Wait. How does that work?

But there's a kinda of new one that's already happening in Australia and now (albeit slowly) starting to happen in the United States: Birther-Assisted Caesareans. Basically, the surgeon does all the important stuff, pull out baby's head and shoulders, then the birther can reach down with her gloved hands and pull up the baby out from their womb to their chest.

The birther will be scrubbed in like a surgeon and wear gloves up to their armpit to make sure everything is sterile and safe. Some of them had a clear drape and some did not have a drape. It's interesting to look at all the variations! I collected some articles and pictures for y'all to look at to see what this new possibility could look like!

2015 in Queensland, Australia

Photo Credit: eXXpections

Click on the button below to read about the steps the obstetrician, Dr. Pauline Joubert, took with the patient before, during and after the procedure. I found it smart that she did a rehearsal of the procedure with everyone involved. This is smart because this a relatively "new" or rare procedure so it's not just new for you but also the medical professionals! Click on the button to see the pictures of every step. This would be a good one to share with your OB if you're considering this route.

2017 in Queensland, Australia

mother assisted csection, mom is on the operating table, pulling her baby out of her womb with the help of the doctor.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Here’s a story about Sarah Toyler requesting and the doing the Mother Assisted c-section in Queensland, Australia – New York Post article from January 11, 2017.

2018 in Frankfort, Kentucky

Photo Credit: Sarah Hill Photography

Here’s another Mother-assisted c-section that happened at Frankfort Regional Medical Center in Kentucky in 2018. The mother – Emily Dial, a midwife) – wanted to to have a positive birth experience even though a c-section became necessary. She had a birth photographer, Sarah Hill, document this beautiful moment. 

2021 in New South Wales, Australia

Photo Credit: Lyz Evans

Lyz Evans asked if she could assist in her own birth. Her doctor haven't done a Maternal-Assisted C-section before but she was open to it. Lyz details in her birth story of how that conversation happened, the preparation and the birth herself. It's a great one to read if you want to hear it from the birther's perspective on what the Birther-Assisted C-section was like.

2022 in St. Paul Minnesota

Video Credit: Fox 8 News

Elizabeth Andreyevskiy requested a maternal-assisted c-section in 2022 and got it at The Mother Baby Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Rachel Sharpless Willis was able to say that she was the first to hold her son by assisting in her c-section at Broward Health Medical Center. She was the first mother to have a Mother-assisted c-section at that hospital.

How can we have this happen in Michigan?

My birth photographer heart would love to document a birther-assisted c-section in Michigan! That would be historic and GORGEOUS to document all the emotions.  My doula heart would be so happy for birthers to have another option in c-section and have a sense of power back. It would help birthers to feel like they have given birth and strengthen the bond to their baby. That’s priceless.

So Michigan – let’s make this happen. Birthers – this can start in Michigan if you start bringing this up as something you would like to you to your OBGYN. Find out if you’re a good candidate! I think the more people request it, the more likely it’ll happen and be common place eventually. It used to be unusual to want delayed cord clamping and skin-to-skin time after the baby’s born. Now, it’s pretty standard to have these two in the hospital.

I will say that Birther-Assisted C-sections are more likely to happen if the birther is considered low-risk, had an uncomplicated pregnancy, is having a scheduled c-section.

Tell me in the comments, if you needed a c-section, would you want to assist in the birth of your child?

About the Author Kristen Schell

Kristen is a birth doula, photographer and childbirth educator. She wants to help families feel inspired by what birth can be. It can be beautiful, empowering, supported, and evidence based.

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