Why are women having DIY caesareans?

By Rebecca Sullivan

Before the caesarean starts, the mother undergoes a full surgical scrub. They wash their hands, forearms and put on a surgical gown and sterile gloves. Photo / Getty
Before the caesarean starts, the mother undergoes a full surgical scrub. They wash their hands, forearms and put on a surgical gown and sterile gloves. Photo / Getty

They're not doctors and they have never held a scalpel, but a small number of Australian women are delivering their own babies during DIY caesarean births.

Last week, Victorian woman Danielle Daniel pulled her own baby from her womb, a first for the state.

"It's about having that first connection with your baby and not having them whisked away and someone else being the first to touch and hold them," Ms Daniel told The Herald Sun.

Last month, Queensland mum Sarah Downs did the same thing.

"I reached into my own womb during C-section surgery and delivered my beautiful baby girl," she told The Courier Mail.

"Tenasi [her daughter] was on my chest immediately. It didn't feel weird or frightening. I could even see the reflection of the doctor making the cut in my stomach but didn't feel a thing and I wasn't freaked out. I wouldn't think twice about having other children this way," Ms Downs said.

During maternally-assisted caesarean sections, the obstetrician pulls the baby's head and shoulders out, then the mother grabs the baby around the chest and pulls it out of herself.

But the acting president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Dr Steve Robson, doesn't recommend the procedure.

"It sounds good on paper, but the practicalities of doing it are very difficult. A lot of stars need to align," Dr Robson told news.com.au.

Before the caesarean starts, the mother undergoes a full surgical scrub. They wash their hands, forearms and put on a surgical gown and sterile gloves. This takes seasoned surgeons 5-10 minutes, but these women need to be coached through the scrub, taking around 30 minutes.

Dr Robson says it's just not a practical procedure to perform regularly.

"In public hospitals there's an enormous pressure on time. If everyone wants a heavily assisted C-section, it can deny other women a C-section because all the time gets eaten up. It could only happen sparingly, in special circumstances with lots of extra planning."

Plus, the risk of de-sterilisation is very high.

"It can be very difficult to maintain the sterilisation while the C-section is happening. I've seen people saying 'Oh, I might just scratch my nose', then we have to do the whole sterilisation all over again," Dr Robson said.

"Safety could also be compromised. You don't want to add an element of risk."

A mother's desire to be physically close to her newborn baby immediately after they are born, is usually achieved within seconds.

"We put a lot of effort into the woman seeing the baby immediately and minimising any loss of contact. Everyone aims to get the baby in contact with the mother as soon as possible," Dr Robson said.

- news.com.au

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 25 Mar 2017 06:03:38 Processing Time: 687ms