A natural caesarean birth

The term “natural caesarean” seems like an oxymoron – after all, the standard environment for this kind of birth – an operating theatre, with surgical team in sterile scrubs and baby being removed from its mother’s womb via an abdominal incision before being taken to a rescuscitaire to be checked over and often then weighed before it is brought over for the new mother to see is anything but a natural environment for giving birth. Mothers who give birth by caesarean are more likely to suffer from postnatal depression, bonding difficulties and struggle with breastfeeding as well as feeling less satisfied with their birth experience. With caesarean rates continuing to rise and around 1 in 3 births in many hospitals being caesareans, the question of whether this can be done in a more natural way is one that is starting to be considered.

The natural caesarean birth was developed by Professor Nick Fisk at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in west London as a way of trying to make the birth experience more meaningful and positive for those mothers undergoing caesareans whilst allowing the baby to be born gently and safely in a way that mimics the birth process in a vaginal birth.


What happens in a natural caesarean birth?

  • The caesarean starts as normal with the screen raised and sterile procedures observed. Probes for monitoring and intravenous lines are placed where they are least obtrusive.
  • The screen is lowered after the incision is made and the back of the bed may be raised to help the parents observe the birth of their baby.
  • Once the baby’s head is born and the baby is crying, the shoulders are then eased out. The rest of the body is birthed gradually and the baby will often deliver its own arms as it makes its way through the incision.
  • The gradual birth allows the baby’s chest to be squeezed as it would be during a vaginal birth and helps the lung fluids to clear spontaneously.
  • The baby continues to receive oxygen from the umbilical cord and there is no immediate rush to cut and clamp the cord once the baby is born.
  • After the baby is born, it is placed on the mother’s chest for skin-to-skin contact and the screen is then raised.


The baby’s safety remains of utmost importance throughout the procedure and if there are concerns with the baby’s (or the mother’s) wellbeing, the standard procedures for caesarean birth are reverted to.

A natural caesarean birth may be an option for women who are having a planned (elective) caesarean if the baby is in a head-down position and term. It may also be an option in non-urgent emergency (unplanned) caesareans but is not suitable for preterm babies, multiple births or breech births.


The following video clip shows Sarah, a friend of mine giving birth to her son. She has kindly given me permission to share her beautiful video and her thoughts on having a natural caesarean:

“I know it’s a personal moment but when I knew I had to have a caesarean I was gutted, felt like my body had let me down and it would be an awful experience. My team leader knew I felt this way and had recently been to a lecture in London about natural caesarean and approached me and asked if I wanted to be their guinea pig. I never in a million years expected it to be so amazing, the whole theatre was on a high afterwards too! The atmosphere wasn’t tense, we were all relaxed, having a laugh and enjoying watching Leo give birth to himself!”


The team at Torbay Hospital where baby Leo was born were so amazed by the experience that they are now considering rolling this out as standard practice for planned caesarean births where this option is considered to be a viable one.


You can read the original paper by Professor Fisk and his team about natural caesarean birth here. Thank you Sarah for sharing your beautiful birth experience with me.

Maternity Matters~ Ghostwritermummy

29 thoughts on “A natural caesarean birth

  1. Beth

    wow! Just wow! What an amazing experience and it seems so much less clinical. Thank you both for sharing that – let’s hope that Mums are given this option in the future xx

    1. Louise Post author

      It is amazing, isn’t it? Definitely worth asking if it is an option if you need a c section.

  2. Stephanie

    Wow such an amazing video! Definitely got me welling up! I’m dreading the possibility of a clinical C-section, they seem to disregard the mothers involvement in bonding during birth. This is a great share thank you to you and your friend 🙂 #twinklytuesday

  3. Spidermummy

    How lovely of your friend to let you share that video with us! This idea has been being bandied about for as long as I’ve been in the profession (since 2004), any change takes a very long time to come about in the huge machine that is the NHS. But if they can prove that babies and Mums have better outcomes from doing it this way, then great. x

    1. Louise Post author

      Things do take a long time to change, don’t they – so glad that this is becoming more of an option in some hospitals.

  4. Carolyn

    Wow, this was an amazing video to watch and it’s such a good idea! My daughter was breech so I wouldnt have been able to have this type of c-section but I would go for this if I could, if my next needed to be a cesarean.
    Carolyn #twinklytuesday


  5. Muddlethroughmama

    Wow this sounds incredible! I had an elective section with my baby due to him being breech and a bit stuck – it was quite lovely really and luckily I didn’t have any problems with bonding or breastfeeding.

    I’m planning to have another and I’m not sure if I’d brave a VBAC but if I didn’t, I’d definitely look into this option if it was possible.


    1. Louise Post author

      So glad that your birth experience was a positive one and all went well with bonding and breastfeeding 🙂

  6. Lisa (mummascribbles)

    Wow…I’m sat here in near tears at the emotion of that. I had a csection as he was breech but this is so so lovely, I wish I could have experienced it. I hope that this becomes a more popular way of delivering by csection – it’s incredible 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #twinklytuesday

    1. Louise Post author

      Thank you – it is such a lovely way of giving birth by caesarean and hopefully will become more of an option for other women too.

  7. Anna Robinson

    Thanks for sharing this post and video! I’ve opted for an elective caesarean and have been looking into the more ‘natural’ way. I really hope that my local hospital can do this, with my first it was an emergency c-sec and I didn’t get skin-to-skin for ages, something I really regret.
    Thanks again! Anna (heading over from the #TwinklyTuesday linky

    1. Louise Post author

      So sorry you didn’t manage to get skin-to-skin for ages first time around – hope you manage to have a more positive experience this time around.

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  10. Adventures of a Novice Mum

    Such a useful post; thanks for sharing. This is definitely vital info for pregnant and trying mums to know. It’s great to know more about birth options and God bless the person who came up with this, and your friend for allowing you to share her story.

    I’m pinning your post for future reference; I’m glad I’m aware of another possible birth choice. #MaternityMatters 5

    1. Louise Post author

      Thank you and glad that it’s helped make you aware of another possible birth choice. Not sure why baby didn’t have skin-to-skin straight away but thought it was such a beautiful way of giving birth by caesarean and was so glad that my friend was happy for me to share it.

  11. Sadia

    I had no idea there was such a thing! How much less traumatic that a “regular” C-section. I wouldn’t have been eligible, since I had premature multiples, but I love knowing that this option is out there! #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Louise Post author

      It is amazing isn’t it? I’d never really come across it before my friend shared her birth video but so good to see something like this being offered as an option.


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