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Family-centered C-sections Encourage Bonding in Operating Room

New trend in caesarean births offers mom and baby benefits of immediate skin-to-skin contact

ARLINGTON, Texas — When Tabatha Murphy left the operating room after her caesarean section at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, she already felt bonded to newborn son Sean.

“He came out and he was right there against my face getting skin-to-skin contact,” she said. “If a C-section had to happen, that’s how I wanted it.”

Gentle C-Section
Gentle C-section is now available to moms delivering at Texas Health Fort Worth and Texas Health Cleburne.

The 26-year-old experienced a new birth option for moms and babies without complications called “gentle C-section.” The procedure, which promotes the kind of mom-and-baby bonding normally reserved for traditional births, is offered during caesarean sections at both Texas Health Fort Worth and Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne. The method involves immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth and, if mom wishes, lowering the drape so she can watch the delivery.

“We’re trying to involve the parents more during C-sections and slow things down so they can feel more connected to what’s happening,” said Gina Smith, nurse manager of labor and deliver at Texas Health Fort Worth. “We make the environment quiet or allow the parents to have music. It’s still their birth experience even though it’s in the operating room.”

Clinicians clean off the baby and check vitals while he or she is resting on mom’s chest instead of lying in a warmer across the room. Making skin-to-skin contact a priority for moms and babies after birth is a best practice in line with standards for the Baby Friendly designation, which Texas Health Fort Worth and Texas Health Cleburne both hold. The World Health Organization/UNICEF designation recognizes facilities that take a comprehensive approach to breastfeeding support.

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

“It’s called ‘gentle’ C-section because that’s exactly how the baby perceives it,” said Dr. Laura Bradford, OB/GYN on the medical staff at Texas Health Fort Worth. “There is something about that relationship between mom and baby — it can be recorded in outcomes that babies do better when they spend time with mom from the beginning. It improves their well-being.”

Cleburne resident Tacoya Roberts had an emergency C-section with the birth of her first child, so she craved an instant bonding experience for the birth of her second. Her daughter, Lily, was born through gentle C-section at Texas Health Cleburne weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces.

“It was amazing — an instant connection, along with warmth and comfort for both of us,” Roberts said. “I would recommend it to every woman having a C-section. It feels more natural and you get to know your baby immediately.”

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system includes 24 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, a large physician group, outpatient facilities, and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit



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