The birth of Rob and Colleen Fitzgerald’s fourth son, Brody Reese, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano was unlike any of her previous deliveries.
“For the first time, we knew what was going on,” Rob said, who has been in the operating room for all four of his wife’s deliveries. “In previous C-sections we have always felt disconnected behind the drape with doctors and nurses talking to each other, but not to us. This was completely different.”
The Fitzgeralds’ son was born via a gentle cesarean section, a patient-centered approach to surgical delivery that mimics a vaginal delivery. Parents can choose to lower the drape or to watch the surgery through a specially designed drape with a window. Heart monitors and blood pressure cuffs are placed so that immediate skin-to-skin contact can be made, unlike with traditional C-sections.
“I have always tried to have a vaginal birth because I felt like I have missed out on the natural experience,” Colleen said. “But this was completely unreal, and for the first time I got to watch my baby as he was born, and I felt much more connected with the whole experience.”
Texas Health Plano has offered the procedure since April of this year, and physicians on the medical staff and nurses have seen a very positive reaction.
“We are always looking to improve on our patient-centered care, and we listen to what our patients want,” said Jennifer Garrett, M.S.N., R.N.C.-OB, manager of labor and delivery, admission nursery and high-risk obstetrics at the hospital. “Being able to enjoy the first moments together and touching the baby for the first time is a moment they will never forget, and making skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible is proven to benefit both mom and baby.”
Making skin-to-skin contact a priority for moms and babies after birth is a best practice in line with standards for the hospital’s “Baby-Friendly” designation from the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The designation recognizes the hospital’s comprehensive approach to supporting breastfeeding of newborns.
According to UNICEF, benefits of skin-to-skin contact after birth include:
- Calms and relaxes both mother and baby
- Regulates baby’s heart rate and breathing
- Stabilizes baby’s blood sugar
- Regulates baby’s temperature
- Promotes breastfeeding and bonding
The procedure has also helped to take some of the anxiety of having a C-section away, according to Meredith McClure, M.D., OB-GYN on the medical staff at the hospital.
“I am so glad that we are offering the gentle C-section for patients,” McClure said. “Often, when a mother requires a surgical delivery, there is a little bit of disappointment and fear. Now, patients and their loved ones can have a birth experience that is much closer to what they expected, and that they will remember and enjoy while bonding with their newborn in a safe and family friendly atmosphere.”
For more information about the labor and delivery options at Texas Health Plano, visit www.TexasHealth.org/Plano-Women.
About Texas Health Plano
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano is a 366-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, providing technologically advanced care to Plano and surrounding areas since 1991. The hospital’s services include orthopedics, cardiovascular services, oncology, pediatrics and women’s services. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Plano has more than 1,600 employees and 1,300 physicians on the medical staff. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL or visit TexasHealth.org/Plano.
Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.