Caesarean Section – Information and Recommendations for Parents

Since your baby was born or is about to be born by cesarean delivery, we would like to offer some thoughts on how to deal with this special situation. 

Of course, the reasons leading to cesarean delivery and the associated needs of the baby and the parents can vary greatly. We therefore encourage you to find out for yourself what can be useful and helpful for you and your child.

In many cases, cesarean delivery is a solution to an acute obstetric crisis. There is usually little leeway for the parents to alter the conditions for the birth. In such a situation after the birth, parents and babies can be encouraged to process what they have experienced and make up for what they have not.

Before a cesarean delivery

The following are some aspects that can be discussed in advance with the maternity clinic:

  • Contractions: You can try, in consultation with your maternity clinic, to wait for the latest possible date and, in the best case, a spontaneous onset of labor.
    The onset of labor seems to signal that the baby is ready to be born and is sufficiently prepared for the necessary adjustment. Contractions give your baby important impulses.

  • Antibiotics: It is known from numerous studies that routine administration of antibiotics at birth can damage the child’s microbiome for years and can be linked to various diseases. Antibiotics also pass into breast milk and change its composition. 
    In many cases antibiotics can be avoided. If not, it is advisable to administer them only after the baby’s umbilical cord has been cut. In this way the baby’s microbiome will be less affected.

  • Microbiome: When there is a cesarean section, contact with the germ world of the maternal vagina, which is important for the development of the fetal microbiome, does not take place. Studies indicate that this is associated with disadvantages for the child’s health. It may be possible to compensate for this disadvantage by simply stroking the baby with a swab soaked in maternal vaginal secretions. You can ask for this before the birth.

  • Bonding: Early skin-to-skin contact directly after birth is important for establishing a relationship and will strengthen your child throughout his or her life.
    Therefore, the same applies to cesarean delivery as to vaginal birth: it is best if the baby can come into direct skin and eye contact with the mother via third parties as soon as possible and without any intermediate stop.
    This is now possible in most cases and should be sought by everyone concerned. Quiet calm, no glaring lights and a harmonious, warm atmosphere can be created in the operating room if attention is paid to it. 

  • Breastfeeding: Breast milk is important, especially for babies born by cesarean delivery. The baby should be offered the breast as soon as possible. (See also the paper on “Breastfeeding” https://www.anthromedics.org/PRA-0859-EN.) 
    In addition, the mother’s foremilk (colostrum) can be hand-expressed from her breast before the birth. This will ensure that the taste and content of the baby’s first milk intake will be free of any medication administered to the mother during the operation. The baby should be offered the breast early, while still in the operating room.

After a cesarean delivery

  • Children born by cesarean delivery do not have the chance to adapt to their changed position outside the protection of the uterus by their own strength; they need time for a slow transition. Therefore, they prefer to lie in an embryonic position rather than stretched out.

  • If postural or behavioral problems persist, early osteopathic consultation and therapy may be indicated.

  • Overall, care should be taken to ensure a warm enveloping environment in the first few weeks to compensate for having been abruptly ripped out of the protective motherly environment of the uterus.

  • In any case, you should ask for a follow-up consultation with the doctors and midwives who were present at your baby’s birth. For some parents, this path to birth can trigger feelings of guilt or traumatic stress disorder. In that case, therapeutic conversations can be helpful.

Further helpful articles

Plant-based medications during pregnancy:
https://www.anthromedics.org/PRA-0619-EN

Eurythmy therapy in pregnancy and birth preparation:
https://www.anthromedics.org/PRA-0803-EN

Painting therapy in pregnancy and birth preparation:
https://www.anthromedics.org/PRA-0781-EN

Music therapy for babies and toddlers
https://www.anthromedics.org/PRA-0907-EN

Short videos: What the baby needs for life:
https://www.anthromedics.org/PRA-0547-EN