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Nurses Invent C-Section Drape for Faster Mom and Baby Contact

Because bonding from birth should be an option for everyone.
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
May 11, 2017
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More good news for moms who have c-sections: It’s getting easier for you to meet your new baby right away.

We’ve seen family-centered cesareans, or natural cesareans, gain popularity over the last year. As opposed to the standard medical drape surgeons traditionally use to curtain off the operating field and block mom’s view, a natural c-section uses a clear or lowered drape so she can watch. Other adjustments are made so she can hold her baby right away: her hands aren’t strapped down and the IV goes into her non-dominant hand.

Three nurses from Richmond, Virginia are taking this a step further.

Kim Jarrelle, BS, RNC‐OB, Debbie Burbic, RN and Jessamine Niccoli, RN—the team behind Clever Medical—spent three years perfecting the Skin to Skin C-Section Drape, which features a flap opening that allows the doctor to pass the baby to the mother. Because the flap can be resealed after baby is passed through, the sterility of the surgical area is maintained as the doctor sutures the uterus and incision.

Typically, concern over preserving the “sterile environment” prevents c-section moms from holding their babies right away. The delay can be anywhere from five minutes to 30.

“We heard the same phrase over and over from c‐section patients: ‘Wow, that was surreal—I don’t even feel like I had a baby.’ So we wanted to make a more intimate experience for mom and baby. Why should they be robbed of the [vaginal birth] experience and skin‐to‐skin benefits?” Jarrelle tells The Bump.

They researched. They cited studies touting the benefits of immediate skin-to-skin contact. They made prototypes on their kitchen tables. They even hired a patent lawyer.

The result is a surgical drape of the highest grade (Drapes are rated based on factors like thickness and fluid resistance).

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“When we had just 10 samples of the final prototype, we got permission from a patient who had a previous c‐section to use it," Jarrelle says. “Right after the delivery, Debbie looked at the mom and said, ‘Look up and see your baby coming through!’ She held the baby, then dad did. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.”

In spite of all their careful testing and research, they don’t expect the product to take off right away.

“Changing the culture of the operating room is a bit of a challenge, but doctors ultimately love [the drape] because they understand the benefits," Jarrelle says. “We’ve had some pushback from anesthesiologists, but they’re usually on board after we demonstrate it.”

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