These Clear Drapes Let C-Section Moms Witness Every Second of Their Baby's Birth


Alyssa Leon

For many moms who give birth via C-section, the first glimpse of their baby comes when a doctor or nurse lifts the newborn above the blue-green drape that covers the lower half of their body during the procedure. But there's a growing trend that's changing the standards for C-section births. Moms are requesting clear drapes so they can watch as their babies are born, and seriously, why didn't we think of this?

  • Clear drape C-sections are a part of the gentle C-section movement and have been in use in some parts of the country since 2015.

    As shown in this photo by Alyssa Leon of Cherry Blossom Doula Services, the clear plastic drape extends across a birthing mom's mid-section, just like the typical drape used in a C-section. The difference here is that moms -- and anyone else they might want in the room -- get a front row seat to watch as their babies arrive.

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  • Moms who opt for the clear drape don't see much of their actual surgery; they just get a front row seat to the baby's magical arrival.

    On YouTube, there are dozens of videos that show what these births looks like from the mom's point of view.

    "It's not as scary as it sounds," Molly Harvey, manager of women's and children's services at Crestwood Medical Center in Alabama, told AL.com last year. "The mom can't really see up into the abdomen. We ask dads to stay seated by the mom's head. She still has a belly so she's not going to be able to really watch her C-section. You can just see anything that is lifted, which is the baby."

  • Clear drapes are available in hospitals from Massachusetts to Texas to Colorado, but not everyone is on board with the trend.

    As one mom revealed on the Baby Center message boards, she'd probably "pass out" if she watched her baby being born.

  • Other moms, like this one on WhatToExpect.com, have a totally different take.

    "I had a panic attack during my last C-section," the mom shared on the What to Expect message boards, "and I think that if I had had a clear drape and was able to see what was happening and be distracted by it, it would have helped a lot."

  • Doula and birth photographer Alyssa Leon says the use of a clear drape can truly enhance a C-section mom's birth experience.

    "More than anything, I am just grateful for the doctors, midwives, and nurses that advocate for the families to use the clear drapes when the need for a cesarean birth arises," she tells CafeMom. "It may not seem like a big deal, but I can tell you that every single woman that gives birth remembers each detail; how she was supported, what it looked and sounded like in the room, and how she felt when her baby was brought earth side."

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  • In her experience, anything that helps moms bond right away is an important addition to the C-section process.

    Leon adds, "If this small measure can help connect women with their babies in the operating room, we are encouraging the bonding process to start in that moment, which will directly affect the nursing relationship and postpartum recovery and transition."

    Most hospitals around the country now offer some form of gentle C-section, though not all of them use clear drapes. It's important to check with the hospital where you'll be delivering to see if they offer the option.

c-sections