"Natural" Childbirth, C-sections and Bonding……?

Okay, I tried to resist, but I need to respond the flood of blog entries on the declaration that natural birth can improve the maternal-child bond, as reported in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

And yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I did have two C-sections:

Here we go:

When addressing the issue of bonding with a newborn, remember that brain scans, bio-chemistry and hormones are not the entire story. There are factors such as personality, environment, baby temperament, psychological history, external events, and many others, that may interfere with the process.

“However, undergoing a cesarean does not trigger the same release of hormones. … The procedure has been linked to an increased risk of post-natal depression.”

Any link between C-sections and postpartum depression is still up for debate.

Here’s some literature if you want to document this: Carter, F., Frampton, C., Mulder, R. (2006) Cesarean Section and Postpartum Depression: A Review of the Evidence Examining the Link. Psychosomatic Medicine 68:321-320.

“Lead researcher Dr James Swain said the study, reported in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, might help provide a better understanding of the chemistry underpinning the attachment between a mother and her baby.”

This association makes me a bit uneasy. Clearly it makes sense and is valuable information, but again, it’s not the whole picture.

“We have long recognized that people who have a cesarean section do sometimes have some problems bonding with their baby.”

They do? I haven’t noticed that to be the case.

“…do [SOMETIMES] have [SOME] problems?”
Oh, okay. I suppose, after reading that sentence more closely, one could make that claim.

“‘There is no doubt that many women who have a cesarean turn out to be wonderful mothers,’ he said.”

Oh, good (whew!) šŸ˜‰

“Women who have a cesarean section should be encouraged to cuddle their newborn against their skin straight after birth and be offered practical support to help them feed and care for their baby.”

Very true, indeed. All women who give birth, however they give birth, should be encouraged to do that.


Reference:
Swain JE, Tasgin E, Mayes LC, Feldman R, Constable RT, Leckman JF. Maternal Brain Response to Own Baby Cry is Affected by Cesarean Section Delivery. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2008; 49 (10)

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