Porter Regional Hospital Offers Natural Cesarean Procedure

Porter-natural-c-sectionFor those who choose the route of a planned cesarean delivery (C-section), a “natural” C-section, may be an option at Porter Regional Hospital.

According to Elaine Johnson-Merkel, director of the Women and Children’s Pavilion at Porter Regional Hospital, natural C-sections offer expectant mothers who have a planned C-section the opportunity to experience elements of a natural vaginal delivery that they might not be able to otherwise. During a natural C-section, the newborn is placed on the mother’s chest immediately after the birth, instead of being whisked away to the warming table to be cleaned and checked, as in a tradition C-section.

“One of the main concerns of a natural C-section is the maintenance of the sterile field and the repositioning of the surgical drape, which blocks off the surgical site from the view of the patient,” said Johnson-Merkel. “The challenge is to get the baby from the delivery site up to the mother, bypassing the surgical drape, so she can breastfeed. With enough hands on deck to offer support, and by moving the drape down towards the surgical site, these concerns are greatly reduced and the procedure can take place.”

Porter began offering the procedure three years ago at the request of Dana Dutz, a nurse in Porter’s Emergency Department, who was to deliver her third child via cesarean, said Johnson-Merkel. “We are patient-driven, desiring to give our mothers who will deliver by cesarean a voice in their birth experience,” she continued. “Dana approached our labor and delivery team, armed with a great deal of research promoting natural C-sections. Once we had each area of the team in agreement and could ensure safety for mother and child, Dana became our first natural C-section recipient, a procedure that is now commonplace at Porter.”

“With my third delivery, I knew I didn’t want another ‘surgical’ birth but knew I had no other option than cesarean,” said Dutz. “A natural C-section offers a happy medium between the two types of deliveries. The immediate skin-to-skin contact between mother and child helps to stabilize the baby’s temperature and promote bonding. The contact is also a crucial aid in promoting breastfeeding. For me, the natural C-section made a huge difference in the bonding with my third child.”

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), breastfeeding is recommended to be initiated in the first hour of life and is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers. Breastfeeding in the first hour of life allows the infant to immediately receive the benefits of colostrum, the first breast milk, which is rich in nutrients and helps provide protection against infection and disease.

Patients have to meet certain criteria in order to choose the route of a natural C-section, Johnson-Merkel pointed out. “Those who have had scheduled C-sections before are at very low risk for complications, making them ideal candidates for the procedure. Yet if the procedure is not best for baby or mother, we won’t do it. Patient safety is top priority,” she said.

To learn more about labor and delivery at Porter Regional Hospital, visit porterhealth.com.

Porter Health Care System has two hospital campuses and seven outpatient facilities serving Porter, Lake, LaPorte, Starke, Newton, Marshall and Jasper counties. With more than 350 physicians representing 50 medical specialties, Porter Health Care System is committed to medical excellence and personalized, patient-centered care. Porter is directly or indirectly owned by a partnership that proudly includes physician owners, including certain members of the hospital’s medical staff.