“Gentle” C-Sections Now Being Performed at Little Company of Mary Hospital

Little Company of Mary Hospital offers a new holistic approach to Cesarean birthing. On May 7, 2012, Karrie Licatesi was Little Company of Mary Hospital’s first patient to experience a “Gentle” C-Section. Licatesi reached out to Mary Kay Burke, APN, CNM, WHNP, a certified nurse midwife who collaborates with board certified obstetricians to provide a modern holistic approach to southwest area expectant women throughout their pregnancy. Robert Bonaminio, D.O. is the Chairperson of Little Company of Mary’s Obstetric Department and was the operating physician for Licatesi. Little Company of Mary is currently the only hospital in the area offering “Gentle” Cesarean Births as one of the many services provided in the hospital’s Family Birth Center. 

Thirty-six weeks into her pregnancy, Karrie Licatesi learned that her baby was breech. Breech is a commonly used word to refer to a baby who is not in a head-down or vertex position. The options available to turn a breech baby include acupuncture, moxibustion, chiropractic care, and External Cephalic Version (ECV) and consist of using needles, forced pressure and other painful techniques. Unfortunately for Licatesi, these procedures were unsuccessful and she was informed that she would need to undergo a C-Section. 

During a typical C-Section procedure, the patient’s abdomen is covered with a drape and the arms may be strapped down. It is also typical that the baby is brought over to the radiant warmer immediately after birth, which lessens the mother’s involvement in the process. After researching C-Sections, Licatesi and husband, Mark, became afraid and wanted to look for a more holistic approach. At week 37 of her pregnancy, Licatesi reached out to Mary Kay Burke and learned about “Gentle” C-Sections. “Our goal is to help the patient feel more empowered and able to be more involved in her birth,” stated Burke. 

“Gentle” Cesarean Birthing is a new technique that uses an improved environment to create a better experience for the patient. Unlike a typical C-Section, this approach allows parents to hold their baby immediately after birth. “This process of skin-to-skin contact in the operating room is important for mother-infant bonding, decrease rate in postpartum depression, breastfeeding success, and overall experience for a family when birth must take place in the operative setting,” stated Bonaminio. 

During a “Gentle” C-Section, a selection of music, chosen by the patient, is played to assist in creating a warm atmosphere. Licatesi created a playlist consisting of Christian music and the Dave Matthews Band. After baby Mason Joah Licatesi was born, the drape used during the process was immediately lowered and father, Mark, had the experience of cutting the umbilical cord. Burke and Bonaminio were then able to bring Mason to his mom and place him on her chest, and she was able to begin breastfeeding. “After many of our friends and neighbors prepared us on what to expect in a typical C-Section, we were terrified,” stated Mark, originally. However, after their experience, Mark agreed that the entire process was very gentle and calm. 

“By allowing the parents to observe their child’s delivery and giving them their baby to hold immediately thereafter, we are trying to make the cesarean section a more inclusive experience,” stated Doctor Robert Bonaminio. “While enhancing the birthing process, we are improving the quality of the experience while still adhering to sterile technique and at no time compromising safety.” 

Although it is still considered a surgery, the “Gentle” Cesarean program at Little Company of Mary Hospital’s Family Birth Center provides both comfort and care from a team of experts. “For those of us facing circumstances that don’t necessarily allow the opportunity for vaginal birth, this was a way of making it a better experience and I don’t think I can ever thank Dr. Bonaminio and Mary Kay enough for it,” stated Licatesi. 

The New Family Birth Center will be located in the New West Pavilion Tower. It will be the home of the area’s first Women’s Center, The Comprehensive Women’s Center for Life and Health will offer specialty services in beautiful surroundings, geared towards a holistic approach in women’s health in one convenient location. Our community open house will be on October 14, 2012. Watch us grow at lcmh.org 

If you would like more information about Mary Kay Burke and Dr. Bonaminio, contact the Women’s Healthcare Affiliates office at (708) 636-9205. If you would like more information about Gentle Baby Cesarean Births, contact the Family Birth Center at (708) 422-6200. 


From left to right, Mark Licatesi, baby Mason Joah, Karrie Licatesi

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