Striving to make post-caesarean care more wonderful
Imagine if we could re-address how we care for women approaching and recovering from a C-section. What if it was more considered, or even more wonderful? Rather than expecting them to have a typical post-partum pattern, why not acknowledge the extraordinary, and at times, unwanted circumstances they’ve been through?
Image credit: Erin Patel http://www.erinpatel.com/
What we learned
Within our group, none of the mothers-to-be had spent significant time in the hospital setting, let alone faced the prospect of major surgery. They described feelings of shock, fear and helplessness, whether it was a planned or emergency C-section.
Birthing through caesarean section is not the ‘easy option’ and the road ahead is long. With every step afterwards, from 1 hour post operation to many months later, something else emerges: the need for self-administered stomach injections and a wound to care for, to potential unforeseen heavy bleeding, abdominal difficulties and deteriorating mental health.
Whilst hospital procedures are for the most part out of our control, the period prior to admission and the time back home are rich in potential to serve mothers who go through a C-section.
Whilst there are plenty of services for women in pregnancy, general post-partum and some stand-alone C-section products, how can we create an empathetic, overall experience to ease post C-section mothers out of the professional but transactional experience they’ve just been through?
We think the key is a unique staggered experience – ‘the right thing, at the right time’ – reducing the complexity and overwhelm associated with the lengthy post-caesarean period.
Lead up (pre-planned C-section)
Medical advice or a previous procedure can mean a C-section is expected, allowing for some planning and preparation.
Imagine if there was a printed guide that honestly summarised what to expect at each hospital stage: waiting areas, the operating theatre, and a post-operation ward.
We’re aware that those who have emergency intervention will not necessarily gain from this section.
Subacute (1 – 5 days back home):
The first hours back home can be emotionally overwhelming, physically tentative but also tedious and sedentary.
Early recovery (2 – 8 weeks back home):
As new life patterns form and the body improves, previous freedoms start to be recalled and frustrations of feeling restricted start to emerge.
Long term realisation (3 – 6+ months):
The reality of the physical and psychological trauma can be delayed and understanding how to come to terms with it can fall into focus much later.
Imagine if the guide concluded with focused pelvic floor AND abdominal exercises, to reintegrate the abdominal muscles and increase strength.
Imagine if the app sent a scheduled notification at 3 months to suggest women seek out specialised physio or talk therapy and provided relevant local contact details.
Imagine if there was a nourishing balm to encourage loving touch of the sensitive skin around their scar.
Imagine if we included a reflection journal, to encourage quiet moments to acknowledge and process what has happened.
Who could ‘own’ this opportunity and deliver the most impact?
We think an existing brand could credibly extend into this space to bring new value to those who need it. What space that brand comes from, is up for grabs.
Could it be a trusted skincare brand with the existing knowledge of women’s bodies? Or could it be a FemTech brand, that already has the digital infrastructure and client base to make huge impact? It could even be a menstrual tracking app, who wish to bridge their audience through a gap in usage?
How could this approach be available to as many as possible? There could be private / public model, where for every kit purchased or gifted, a kit is donated to a state healthcare service or insurance provider – making sure we ‘see’ more women after their caesarean.
Bringing clarity to complex problems & reimagining tomorrow’s everyday experiences.