Family-centered cesarean delivery: a randomized controlled trial


Aurora UW Medical Group, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Center for Urban Population Health, Advocate Aurora Health, Advocate Aurora Research Institute, Aurora BayCare Medical Center


Background: Women who undergo cesarean delivery report that they are less satisfied with their child birthing experience and have a later skin-to-skin contact. Because cesarean deliveries account for nearly one-fifth of all births globally, improving the child birthing experience is imperative. One delivery technique that may improve the child birthing experience, termed the family-centered cesarean, allows the mother to view the birth of her baby and to have the baby immediately placed on her chest following delivery.

Objective: Our primary outcome was to compare satisfaction with birthing experiences between women who underwent either a family-centered or traditional cesarean delivery. Our secondary outcomes compared timing of skin-to-skin contact, and maternal and neonatal outcomes between the 2 methods of cesarean delivery.

Study design: Pregnant women aged ≥18 years who had been admitted to Labor and Delivery with a planned cesarean delivery at 1 of 2 delivery units were prospectively enrolled. Women were randomized 1:1, but not blinded, to either the family-centered cesarean (Method 1; N=68) or traditional cesarean (Method 2; N=61). Time to skin-to-skin interactions and newborn vitals were recorded by a nurse at time of delivery. A self-administered questionnaire was provided to participants in the hospital on postpartum to obtain satisfaction with the birthing experience using a modified Likert scale, ranging from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). Baseline characteristics and all other variables of interest were abstracted from the electronic medical record. Baseline characteristics, maternal satisfaction, and maternal or neonatal outcomes between methods of delivery were compared using t tests and Pearson chi-squared (or Fisher exact), as appropriate.

Results: Between June 2016 and July 2018, women who were randomized to either Method 1 or Method 2 did not significantly differ by baseline characteristics. This study was unable to detect a difference in satisfaction (4.6 Method 1 vs 4.4 Method 2; P=.27). However, mean time to skin-to-skin contact was significantly different. Patients in Method 1 established skin-to-skin contact on average 11.2 minutes earlier than those in Method 2 (5.1 vs 16.3; P<.01). No other differences in maternal and neonatal outcomes were identified.

Conclusion: Although our study did not find statistical differences in maternal or newborn outcomes, including maternal satisfaction, the family-centered cesarean was significantly associated with earlier skin-to-skin contact. Given the known benefits of earlier skin-to-skin contact without associated harm, women should be allowed to choose either method of cesarean delivery based on their personal preference.

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