5 New Ways Childbirth is Changing

Expecting, trying to become pregnant, or just love all things pregnancy? Check out these 5 new trends that women and their partners can experience during labor and delivery.

Cheryl Butler
8-minute read
Episode #478

image of a woman and her child after childbirth

When I finally became pregnant after years of infertility treatments, my mind excitedly jumped between thoughts: How would we announce the big news to our friends and family? How would I have the quintessential birth experience?

Instead of wondering how many pickles I might crave or if I'd be hit hard with morning sickness—uh, yes, was I ever!—my mind raced feverishly to those last hours of my ninth month where I would be in tip-top pregnancy health and would be in complete control of every contraction and decision that would affect my voluptuous body until my precious bundle of joy entered the world. All in a calm, serene setting, of course.

I chuckle now, eight kids later, when I recall how I lived in awe of the anticipation of all that could or would happen to my growing body, as well as the total emotional journey I experienced throughout my first and subsequent pregnancies. Each and every pregnancy was different for me, both physically and emotionally, but one thing that remained constant each time I learned I was pregnant was that I would always visualize the end result: delivering the healthiest, most adorable baby under the best possible circumstances.

It’s been 12 years since I’ve been to the delivery room, and although I was a frequent flier for nearly a decade I still love connecting with expectant and new moms to share in their miraculous birth stories. It just never gets old for me!

Whether you’re expecting, thinking of becoming, or trying to become pregnant, or just love all things pregnancy like I do, you might be interested to learn about these five interesting trends that women and their partners can experience during labor and delivery.

5 Ways Childbirth is Changing

  1. Gentle Cesarean Section
  2. Dancing To Stimulate Labor
  3. Being Camera Ready
  4. Crowd Birthing
  5. Birthing Apps and Podcasts

Here is each trend in more detail.

1. Gentle Cesarean Section

I never had a Cesarean section with any of my deliveries, yet statistics show that 1 in 3 babies are born via C-section. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2016, 31.9% deliveries were C-sections. There are several reasons—chronic health conditions, multiple births, problems with the placenta—for delivering through this surgical procedure, in which the baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus. Your doctor or midwife will present the case for a C-section birth during your pregnancy care if it becomes the best option for delivery.

The traditional stories one hears of a C-Section delivery aren’t always warm and fuzzy. The baby is born in the OR (operating room) in a very sterile and clinical environment. Mom has monitors attached to her arms and chest throughout the procedure and can’t see anything because a large, blue drape hangs between her chest and stomach. Her partner is seated next to her head but is also in the dark to the actual birth until the baby is surgically delivered and whisked off to another section of the OR, where pediatricians will do evaluations. Then, many minutes later, mom will meet her baby for the first time when either a nurse or her partner give her a peek.

Thanks to Dr. William Camann, director of obstetric anesthesia service at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, the process of Cesarean delivery was tweaked so that the new mother could be more visually involved during the birth. He envisioned using a clear drape rather than a blue one so that mom could watch the birth and be a part of the experience.

That was ten years ago and was the catalyst for others in the medical profession to follow suit. Soon after the term gentle C-section was coined. Now women who need to deliver via C-section can try and incorporate this calmer, tender approach to their delivery. Some of the gentle aspects that C-section parents can expect are soothing music being played during the birth, aromatherapy, and skin-to-skin contact immediately after delivery because mom’s chest will be freed of the usual monitors during surgery as they will be placed beside her.

If you’re expecting and are curious to know if your hospital is on trend with the “Gentle C” be sure and ask your health care provider for more details.

2. Dancing to Stimulate Labor

A few months ago, I stumbled upon a fantastic youtube video of a pregnant woman dancing in the delivery room alongside her OB GYN to a very catchy pop tune, "Paradinha" by Brazillian singer Anitta. This video soon went viral because the OB had not only choreographed the dance, he was right there by his patient’s side dancing with her. I highly recommend you check it out—it will definitely make you smile.

The force behind this dance, which included squatting and fun arm and leg movements, is part of a care practice known as freedom of movement throughout labor. The Journal of Perinatal Education states “Freedom of movement is important in making the birth of your baby easier. It is the best way for you to use gravity to help your baby come down and to increase the size and shape of your pelvis. It allows you to respond to pain in an active way, and it may speed up the labor process.”

Even if you haven’t been to a club in ages, you might want to put your dancing shoes on when those first few contractions begin—lots of women are on board with getting their groove on to have a little fun when  it's showtime.


About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!

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