Just because newborns are small doesn't mean that they don't feel many of the same things that their adult counterparts do. Six-pound infants most definitely sense what is going on around them as they enter the world. They might not experience the same level of pain that their mothers are enduring as they push them into the world, but they feel certain sensations nonetheless. Modern medicine tells us that newborns can sense much more than we initially thought, and this opens up a whole new world of questions as to how they perceive the birthing experience.
Generally speaking, babies come into the world in one of two ways. How they enter the universe allows for their birthing experience to be unique to them. Little ones that are born via cesarean section might feel unique things that a baby born via the "other way" misses out on. Infants whose parents choose a quiet, dark and peaceful waterbirth will experience the new world differently than their little buddies who open their eyes to a brightly lit surgical room on their birthday. Natural birth and C-section babies all have one major thing in common though: they are emerging into the waiting arms of their eager, loving parents. In the end, it doesn't matter what road they traveled to land in our arms. The important thing is that they are here safely.
Here are 20 things that a baby might feel as their mother undergoes a C-section.
20 A Need To Catch Their Breath
When a baby emerges naturally, the squeeze of contractions helps to expel fluid from their tiny little lungs. Little ones who come into the world surgically don't get those extra squeezes and often have to get rid of any fluid they still have in their systems via alternative ways. A little trouble with their initial breathing is pretty standard in newborn C-section section babies, but it will resolve in no time, and both mom and baby will be well on their way to a happy, healthy life. Doctors are often ready and prepared for this type of bump in the birthing road and are more than qualified to get those babies on the fast track to a happy and healthy life.
19 Tugging And Pulling
Let's be honest here, most women and babies who are undergoing a C-section will feel some degree of pulling and tugging taking place. Those babies don't magically slide on out of mom's body; they typically have to be assisted out by doctors in a surgical setting. A pulling and tugging sensation during a C-section birth is nothing to concern yourself about though. Your child won't recall ever being yanked out of your womb by large and foreign hands in a surgical room. There is no chance that your kid will be relaying the story of their delivery on a therapist's couch someday.
18 A Lack Of 'Good' Bacteria
Not all bacteria is a bad thing, and babies that take a quick trip down mom's birthing canal on their way into the world load up on all that good gut bacteria that will help them grow strong in the months to come. Babies that are born differently sometimes miss out on this gift of bacteria that aims to boost their immune system. Because they do not travel through the human body to make their final exit, they skip out on the significant places where that important bacteria lives. This bacteria skimping can have specific health ramifications down the line for some babies.
17 Less Of An Instant Attachment To Mama
When it comes to attachment after birth, some little ones instantly gravitate to their mama while others have a bit of a delayed interaction with their moms. Because the ever-important skin to skin moments can sometimes not be immediate when a C-section takes place, the bond between a mother and her surgically-birthed baby might take longer than it would have if the baby would have been brought into the world naturally. Never stress though! That mother-child bond WILL happen, and it will be a beautiful thing regardless of how you brought your child into the world. Just be patient with one another, and you will get there.
16 Less Of A Desire To Feed Immediately
Newborns come into the world ready to get their grub on. Typically an infant will be gearing up to nurse almost immediately after leaving the mother's body. Mothers who deliver via the natural method will have very little time in between birthing their kiddo and their first experience with nursing their baby. This feeding frenzy can become delayed with C-section infants because of the meds that are sometimes administered during the procedure. Those helpful meds can make them too tired to nurse. They can also make mama feel too spacey to get her nursing game on, too.
15 Sudden Warmth
One thing that all newborn babies experience as they come into the world is a sudden change in the temperature around them. They have just spent the last nine months all warm and cozy in that nearly 100-degree womb of yours, and then on their birthday, they find themselves in a strange, bright space that is far colder than anything they ever felt. Generally speaking, operating rooms are kept pretty chilly, and babies will register the temperature drop. Cold babies are not happy babies. Nurses will be standing by to whisk them away to warmers where they can regulate the temperature difference more easily.
14 Discomfort From The Suctioning
Babies who are born by a C-section might need some extra suctioning to get the fluid removed from their airways. Because they skip out on the big squeeze down the birth canal, they often get left with excess liquid in their airways. To remove the fluid, doctors use a suctioning tool to remedy this common issue. Suctioning cannot be the most comfortable thing in the world for little ones, but rest assured the doctors and nurses know what they are doing here. These professionals are not going to hurt your little one. They are there to help you and your baby.
13 Meds-Induced Wooziness
If your newly delivered baby looks a little bit sleepy to you, it's likely because he is! Not only did he undergo the business of birth, but he also received a dose of whatever meds you took to bring him into the world. C-sections are major surgeries, so there is no chance of having a natural, unmedicated birth in this particular circumstance. You can count on having some assistive meds when you deliver in this way. The medicine effects will wear off shortly, and both you and baby will be well on your way to complete recovery and happiness.
12 Serious Sensory Input
All babies undergo a mass amount of sensory input when they enter the world. After all, they are going from their cozy, dark and warm home to one that is colder, louder and full of bright lights. Surgical rooms are typically even brighter and louder than other delivery rooms. Doctors need those rooms to be sterile, machines to be loud enough to alert them if something is amiss and as bright as can be so that they can see what they are doing. The stark change in the sensory input won't harm your baby though. It is part of life, and your tiny tot will adjust just fine.
11 They Feel Any Post-Birth Procedures
For years people have wondered exactly what level of pain if any, babies feel when they are undergoing the process of being born. Although they are a mere couple of minutes old, they do feel pain if a medical procedure follows their birth. Things like blood draws or circumcisions will register on their itty bitty pain scales. The good news is as soon as the procedures get checked off the to-do list, it's like it never happened. While infants can feel pain, they won't be making memories of their boo-boos quite yet. As for the actual birthing process, they probably sense more of a squeeze and tug rather than pain as we perceive it.
10 They May Feel Like They Need A Pair Of Glasses
Whether or not your little man needs a set of glasses won't be determined at birth, but even if he has perfect 20-20 vision, he will have blurry vision when he is first born. If held eight to 15 inches away from mom's face, he will be able to make out her features. So at least he can see all the important stuff! Over time his vision will only get better, and before you know it, he will be spotting a packet of fruit snacks from a mile away. For the time being, hold him nice and close so that he can focus in on your smiling face. That is all he cares about at this point anyhow.
9 The Beginnings Of Asthma
Many of the infants who come into the world through a C-section delivery will master any minor breathing issues that pop up with little problem at all. For some of those babies, however, breathing troubles will follow them past the delivery room.
One particular study from Asthma.net noted finding that babies born by C-section are 20% more likely to develop asthma. There seems to be an increased risk of asthma and other immune issues for C-section babies compared to babies that are born naturally. Of course, there is no guarantee when it comes to your baby's future health though, so no need to prematurely worry.
8 Lung Function Setbacks
We know that the chances of a C-section infant having some fluid in the lungs is going to be higher than a baby who makes her way down the birth canal. Because of the wet lungs, their breathing can feel, look and sound shallower and faster than average. Sometimes intervention for this is required hiccup, but other times little ones can work the fluid out of their system in a matter of a few days. Many babies that come into the world prematurely are delivered by C-section. Premature infants are at an increased rate of future lung issues.
Childbirth will bring on all the feels for a mama. There is no shortage of emotions that surge through a laboring lady's body. The worry, excitement, anxiety to name but a few will come and go as quickly as the contractions themselves. Babies can feel the hormones that mom is experiencing. The happy hormones are passed through to him or her as well as the stress hormones. While it is best for both you and the baby to stay calm during your surgery, it is sometimes easier said than done. Having a baby via C-section is a nerve0wracking experience for many ladies. Do your best and know that no matter what, it will all be over soon enough.
6 Fetal Distress
No one wants to think of their baby undergoing fetal stress on their birthday, but sometimes it is merely part of the deal. Lots of newborns experience fetal distress as they are being born and most of the time this is entirely out of mom's control. If the infant's heart rate suddenly drops, doctors will do several things to alleviate the distress. They might shift mom's position, increase hydration levels, administer oxygen or try other quick treatments. C-sections move quickly, so if there is some fetal distress taking place, it will be resolved soon when the baby finally arrives.
5 A Deep Connection To Mom's Voice
The sound of a mother's voice is a powerful thing. Your infant has had tiny, working ears for some time now and he has been listening to your sounds from inside your body. You might be just getting to know him as you hold him for the very first time, but rest assure- he already knows you very well. The sound of your voice will help to comfort and orient him, so keep talking to him as you working on your mother-child connection. It doesn't matter what you say; he doesn't get words and their meaning yet, the sound is all that matters.
4 Powerful Natural Reflexes
There is a chance that the meds and busy business of birthing have left your newborn too tired to want to nurse, but they are born with powerful, natural reflexes that might help move them through the grogginess and aid them in finding their favorite food source. Even though they have been through the wringer, and are likely loaded up on various meds still lingering from your surgery, they will find their way to their food source. Babies seem drawn to the milk machines like moths to a flame; it's a survival reflex in animals. Thank goodness they are willing to do some of the work here! It sure makes it easier on mama.
3 Baby Bruises
The vast majority of C-sections leave your beautiful baby perfectly unscathed. All of those instruments that were used to extract him from your body likely had no contact with her delicate skin. Rarely, a tool must be used to help assist her out of mama's belly, and in that event minor bruising can occur. These should heal up very quickly though. There is no need to concern yourself over a slight bump or bruise. If it is enough of a big deal, the doctors and the nurses will attend to it immediately. That is why they get paid the big bucks!
2 Drawn To Their Mother's Smell
You might feel pretty yucky after birthing a human and in desperate need of a soapy shower, but rest assure, your baby loves your smell. She craves it! One of the things that she will immediately notice is that you are nearby. She can smell you as well as hear you! She knows you more deeply than any other person on the planet. How could she not after residing inside of your body for almost an entire year? The two of you are connected in so many ways, so don't be so quick to scrub the childbirth off of you. Let her breathe in the comfort that is her mama.
1 Amnesia-Like Symptoms
Okay, not really. Babies are not born with a bad case of amnesia, but newborn babies won't remember their actual birthing experience either. Memories will not form until children are around three years of age, and even those are piecemealed together in many cases. If you find yourself concerned that your baby will recall being born in a surgical room, wipe that concern away. It's not going to happen. The idea of a soothing birth is more for the parents, not for the baby. No long term emotional effects will take place because you didn't deliver surrounded by darkness, stillness, and serenity.