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NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Launches Family-Centered Cesarean Birth Program

Program makes family the focal point of cesarean births, similar to vaginal births

May 13, 2022

Brooklyn, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, voted one of Newsweek’s 2020 Best Maternity Hospitals in the nation, marked the official launch of the Family-Centered Cesarean Birth (FCCB) program, which places the family at the focal point of the birthing process during a cesarean birth.

“I did not feel like this was a regular cesarean surgery. I felt like I was in a village and they were nesting me for the birth of my son,” said Sushiela King, FCCB mother.

“The whole experience was great. There was music for my wife to calm down. There was actual bonding, and it felt great,” said Julio Jacquez, FCCB father/companion.

Cesarean births occur in an operating room under sterile conditions and strict protocols, so they can be a disconcerting experience for the birthing patient and family. FCCB helps parents undergoing a cesarean surgery experience and celebrate the birth of their child:

  • Clear surgical drapes allow the parents to witness the birth.
  • The companion can announcement the baby’s sex.
  • Delayed cord clamping.
  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact for the baby and birthing person, which allows for immediate bonding and breastfeeding.
  • Symbolic umbilical cord cutting by the birthing person or the companion.
  • A dedicated baby nurse.
  • Non-separation of the family.
  • Music selected by the birthing person.

Midwives assist with all pre- and post- aspects of the birth, and patients can opt for a doula to support them during their birth.

“Our goal with the Family-Centered Cesarean Birth program is to ensure that all our birthing patients can experience the joy of birth with baby and family,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Obstetrican/Gynecologist and lead FCCB physician Amelia Blissett, MD, FACOG and Director of Maternal Child Health Daisy Crawford-Mereigh, MHA, MSN. “Every birth story should have the same elements of joy, wonder, and bonding. The FCCB team reimagined and redesigned scheduled cesarean births. Family is now the focal point. These measures have contributed to an amazing equitable cesarean birth experience for all birthing people.”

“Touching, feeling, holding, breastfeeding, and bonding are hallmarks of what it means to be a parent of a newborn baby,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Neonatalogist Alexander Rodriguez, MD. “Nothing compares to this wonderful feeling more than being a witness to the whole process of giving birth, and I am honored and privileged to take part in this family-centered process where parents get to fully participate in meeting their baby for the first time.”

“After witnessing my birthing families’ glow after a FCCB, I believe whole-heartedly that this is the way to birth via cesarean,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Registered Nurse Jennise Dawkins.

All cesarean births are major surgical procedures and are performed only when indicated, such as the inability of the cervix to dilate any further or a decrease in the baby’s heart rate. NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, the first Baby Friendly USA-designated hospital in Brooklyn and an Infant Safe Sleep Champion, continually boasts one of the lowest cesarean birth rates in New York State. In 2021, the primary cesarean birth rate was 11 percent and repeat cesarean birth rate was 12 percent, in contrast to a statewide rate of 33.6 percent for both primary and repeat cesarean births. Futhermore, in 2021, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull had a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean rate of 71 percent – continued leaders in the New York State.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull is the first Baby-Friendly hospital in Brooklyn to provide this Family Centered Cesarean Birth service. The Baby Friendly Initiative is a global effort developed by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund to encourage healthcare facilities to support breastfeeding and promote optimal clinical care for birthing persons and their infants. The National Infant Safe Sleep Certification recognizes facilities dedicated to promoting and educating birthing persons and families on safe and secure environments for newborn sleep.

Those interested in scheduling an appointment with the NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull OB-GYN team should call 1-844-NYC-4NYC.


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