The Gentle C-section at Northern Westchester Hospital

Posted on: August 9, 2016

A new birthing concept called the gentle C-section, available at Northern Westchester Hospital, is giving mothers who need a cesarean section the opportunity for a more natural birthing experience and a chance to bond better with their new baby than with traditional cesarean deliveries. Obstetrics and Gynecology experts at NWH, Angelo Cumella, MD, Jefferey Spencer, MD and Mazen, Khalifeh, MD are excited to be able to offer the gentle C to their patients at NWH.

The family-centered gentle C option at NWH, a certified Level III Perinatal Care Center, offers women who require a cesarean section the opportunity to be more involved in their birthing experience. A clear drape allows the mother to witness her baby’s first moments. EKG electrodes are placed toward the mothers back and side, instead of her front, allowing her to hold her baby for skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding right away.  The gentle C is a concept that makes mom, baby and family comfortable throughout the birthing journey.

According to research, many mothers have experienced dissatisfaction and even depression after cesarean sections. Mothers have reported feeling as if they’ve missed out on an important experience and there have also been reports of delayed bonding and less successful breastfeeding. Dr. Jeffrey Spencer, Director of Obstetrical Anesthesia at NWH, feels that the gentle C removes these concerns. “For some patients it reduces anxiety because the mother can see her baby immediately and have an immediate bonding experience. It’s more patient-centered, which is a key focus at NWH,” Spencer explains.

While the gentle C is usually offered on a case-by-case basis, Neonatologist at NWH, Dr. Mazen Khalifeh, feels the benefits are critical for parents and baby. Khalifeh says, “It should be offered universally. Babies who bond immediately with their mothers do better and improve faster. With the gentle C we can return the baby to the mother for skin-to-skin contact as quickly as possible, which is beneficial to both the parents and the baby.”

Besides a better bonding experience, Dr. Angelo Cumella feels that the gentle C concept also brings comfort to the mother and family in other ways. “Part of performing a gentle C-section is working to accommodate the family’s wishes as much as possible. I had a patient who wanted a certain type of music playing during her delivery and we were able to do that for her. We also keep the lights low and the room as quiet as possible so it’s a more peaceful experience for the family,” Cumella says.

Editor’s Note:  Dr. Jeffrey Spencer is the Director of Obstetrical Anesthesia at NWH, Dr. Mazen Khalifeh is a Neonatologist at NWH, and Dr. Angelo Cumella is an OB/GYN at NWH. To learn more about the patient and family-centered gentle C-section, visit NWH Maternal-Child Health. To find an OB/GYN, call our referral line:  877.4 NWH DOC  (877.469.4362) or contact us online