Mothers are now able to assist with delivering their own babies during a caesarean procedure at Epworth Freemasons.
For many mothers, this is an opportunity to have more control and involvement in their birthing process and enables immediate bonding.
Fitzroy mum Ayesha Everitt was the first to experience a maternal assisted caesarean section when her son Hugo was born at Epworth Freemasons.
‘It’s hard to describe in words, it was overwhelmingly beautiful,’ Ayesha said.
Baby Hugo’s older brother Charlie was also delivered by c-section.
Ayesha said the two births were very different experiences.
‘When you have a caesarean, you feel quite out of control during the birth. It’s quite sterile and clinical with lots of people there and you are just lying on your back and all of a sudden, the baby is there.
‘To be able to be part of that is incredibly empowering and such a good step for women to be able to have that choice.
Epworth Freemasons Obstetrician Dr Stephen Cole, who performed the first maternal assisted caesarean at Epworth Freemasons, said the technique can be done in controlled circumstances and under the careful guidance of the medical and nursing theatre team.
“It is about facilitating women to be more actively involved in the caesarean birth of their baby if they are keen to do so, and if it is safe to do so. It allows women to help lift their baby out of their own womb, and up onto their chest, welcoming them into the world, and having their first cuddle,” Dr Cole said.
But, as Dr Cole explains, a maternally-assisted caesarean is not for everyone, as opting for this method of delivery means actively participating in the birth.
“It means couples become involved in the medical procedure, which some people will find daunting,” Dr Cole said.
“It also means the surgical drape that normally shields from having to watch the operation is lowered, so both the woman and her partner will see what is happening during the operation.”
Epworth Freemasons Associate Director of Clinical and Maternity Services, Maree Mendola, said it was about supporting women to have choices related to all methods of childbirth.
“While it’s not for everyone, it does provide an additional choice and empowerment for families when it comes to the birth of their child,” Ms Mendola said.