A new birth trend that involves women pulling out their babies from their own wombs during a cesarean section is making new mothers feel more ’empowered’.
Maternal-assisted C-section (MAC), a growing practice mostly in Australia, is a technique where the mom, with the help of medical experts, reaches down with sterile gloves and lifts her baby out of her uterus and onto her chest.
Advocates of the practice say that it helps mothers bond with their babies and feel a sense of control during C-sections, which can leave women feeling disconnected from their birth.
It was first offered in some Australian clinics as early as 2017 when doctors realized many women were craving a deeper connection with their newborns. However, it’s slowly gaining traction in some US states.
Elizabeth Andreyevskiy of Lakeville, Minnesota, opted for MAC for the birth of her fourth child, a daughter named Nellie, last year. ‘Knowing that this was my last baby, I really wanted to have a different experience,’ she told local news station Fox 9.
Australian doula Vanessa Salerno called maternal-assisted C-section an ’empowering’ experience
Elizabeth Andreyevskiy of Lakeville, Minnesota, wanted a different experience than what she had for the births of her first three children. She opted for MAC, which she called ‘so unique and special’
A cesarean section, or C-section, involves delivering a baby through surgery by making incisions into the abdomen and uterus.
Usually, this is done when a vaginal birth isn’t possible or safe, such as if the baby is in a dangerous position, the mom is expecting more than one baby, or the baby or mother has other health complications.
In some cases, the mom may have to go under general anesthesia, which could make her miss out on the process.
MAC offers a more hands-on approach.
‘C-sections have such a bad stigma. We don’t want women to say “I had to have this.” We want them to say “I had an empowering experience,”‘ Australian doula Vanessa Salerno told New York Post.
‘It’s shown to be a massive difference, even women who I’ve offered a maternal assist to and they didn’t know about it, or been ambivalent, after have said they were so glad they did it,’ Dr Joseph Sgroi, an obstetrician in Melbourne, Australia, told New York Post.
‘Most of the [moms] are absolutely in awe of the whole process, and of themselves.’
Most C-sections involve the mother going under local anesthetic, which numbs the abdominal area and blocks pain, leaving the mother with full control of her hands to pull out the baby if she’s going MAC.
Though MAC is becoming more widespread in Australia, it has yet to take off in the US. Mothers who do opt for this procedure have to plan it in advance with their doctors.
Florida mom Rachel Sharpless Willis gave birth to her son Emerson via MAC. ‘I pulled him out and laid him on my chest, and they’re cleaning him, and it’s just an odd feeling,’ she said
Ms Andreyevskiy’s first child was born via unplanned C-section after her vaginal birth didn’t work out.
‘It ended up with me in general anesthesia and I missed the whole experience of hearing the baby cry for the first time,’ she said.
She then had home births for her next two children, but she experienced complications. When it came time to plan Nellie’s birth, her sister-in-law sent Instagram videos of mothers in other countries, such as Australia, performing MACs.
‘It was so unique and special, and I think it created an extra bond,’ she said.
Additionally, Florida mom Rachel Sharpless Willis gave birth to her son Emerson via MAC.
‘The very first thing I touched was his head, and so it’s this hard surface,’ she told 7 news Miami.
She worried that she was pulling too hard and choking the newborn, but doctors assured her she was doing everything right.
‘I pulled him out and laid him on my chest, and they’re cleaning him, and it’s just an odd feeling,’ she said.
‘Grateful to be part of the experience, still can’t believe I did it, and now he’s here. To be able to experience that delivery the way that I did? Very, very grateful.’