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Everything You Need to Know About a Gentle C-section

Everything You Need to Know About a Gentle C-section

Co-written by Dr Renee White and Emma Watson

Back in August 2017 I was 38 weeks pregnant and my brain began to spiral. I wasn’t prepared for labour or birth and after several days of contemplation, research, discussions (in my own head and with my husband), I decided that I was going to have an elective c-section. 

After speaking with my OB and booking the dates, I immediately felt at ease. Nervous, but now in control of my birth. Don’t get me wrong, I was scared about the spinal needle, but had confidence in the team around me. 

Now, this may not be your story… planning the c-section, perhaps it has been bestowed upon you, but remember it is still your body, your birth and we are here to empower you each step of the way. 

My beautiful friend Emma, who is a midwife, nurse and CalmBirth educator, kindly shared some of her tips she provides her mamas in her midwifery practice group, to ensure you are at ease and have the most magical birth experience possible. 

Here goes:


  • Low lighting in the operating theatre with a spotlight to guide the surgeon
  • Music of your choice playing near your head — make a birth playlist!
  • No chatter about the staff’s weekend plans
  • Essential oils of your choice on a cotton round near your head (take this in a small plastic bag in your partner’s pocket)
  • Affirmations placed near your head or within your line of sight (start internalizing them in advance — your birth is worthy. your body is capable, I am strong, I am safe etc.)


  • An epidural or spinal block, avoiding general anaesthesia unless medically necessary
  • No additional medications (e.g. for anxiety or nausea) administered unless requested
  • Monitoring for mum attached higher on chest, both out of the way of skin-to-skin bonding
  • IV placed in non-dominant hand
  • Arms not strapped down
  • Clear drape or drape that can be lowered as baby is born, if you wish to view their birth
  • Slow emergence of baby so they get squeezed on their way out


  • Photos taken by support person or anaesthetist/nurse/midwife.
  • Delayed cord clamping
  • Placenta kept for encapsulation, burial, or other ritual
  • Vaginal seeding, or swabbing baby with bacteria from your vaginal canal in order to help them develop a healthy microbiome.


  • Quiet so baby can hear your voices first
  • Skin-to-skin time and breastfeeding in the OR and BEYOND.
  • Newborn procedures can wait — delay the bath, weighing, vitamin K shot, etc. so baby can have as much time as possible with you during that golden hour

All of this can be discussed with your care provider ahead of time so that they can accommodate and make these things happen. But also you can use this list to start visualising your birth…Find comfort in imagining birth, in the space.

Hope you find peace and joy in these suggestions. 

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