Warning: the videos included in this post contain graphic content.
You’ll never think of a newborn baby as helpless again after watching this incredible video of a caesarean birth. The doctor stands back and lets the baby practically pull himself out of his mother.
The mother in the video gave birth three days ago in Nottingham in the UK, with Dr Andy Simm as her consultant. Her friend, Sophie Messager, who is an antenatal teacher and doula, posted the video to Facebook, with the mother’s permission. She describes it as “the most gorgeous gentle caesarean”.
“It was quite a journey, because her local hospital refused to entertain any of her wishes, so she had to move to another hospital where she found the most supportive consultant, who not only agreed to support all her wishes but filmed the birth to use it to educate other health pros,” Messager writes. “I especially loved watching the baby walking himself out of the womb.”
The mother’s wishes had included “walking out of baby to help clear lungs”, “delivery to chest if cord allowed” and “baby to stay on mum until she was ready to part” (it was six hours).
“The mum also told me that someone stood holding a mirror for her and that the anaesthetist lifted her shoulders so she could see better,” Messager adds.
This type of birth is known as a natural caesarean. It’s meant to mimic a vaginal delivery, with parents as active participants, slow delivery, and the baby transferred directly onto the mother’s chest.
In a BJOG article on natural caesareans by J Smith, F Plaat and N Fisk, the authors explain that once the baby’s head is out of the incision to the abdomen, the surgeon stands back, as the baby “autoresuscitates”.
“This delay of a few minutes allows pressure from the uterus and maternal soft tissues to expel lung liquid, mimicking what happens at vaginal delivery,” they explain. “Once crying, the baby’s shoulders are eased out, and the baby then frequently delivers his/her own arms with an expansive gesture. Concurrently, the baby’s torso tamponades the uterine incision, minimising bleeding.
“The rest of the delivery is achieved through a combination of passive expulsion by the contracting uterus and active assistance: the baby wriggles out while its head and torso are supported by the obstetrician.”
The authors explain that the technique they describe is for “straightforward elective caesareans in healthy women with non-compromised singleton fetuses at term”.
Messager says that despite being a “birth geek”, she didn’t know that the baby could walk himself out.
“That’s the main reason I wanted to share,” she says.
“For me, this really shows how it isn’t how the baby is born, but how the people present respect wishes and demonstrate support and kindness that makes a beautiful birth.”
The video has already been watched more than two million times and shared more than 25,000 times.
Would you want to have a natural caesarean, if it was an option?