Caesarean Section Day

Caesarean Section Day is observed next on Friday, January 14th, 2022 (47 days from today).

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Caesarean

Caesarean Section Day is a celebration of the first successful C-section performance in the United States. Dr. Jesse Bennett performed it on January 14, 1794 on his wife who was unable to give birth naturally. He performed the surgery at his home without the right equipment. The doctor hired to deliver Ms. Bennett's birth refused the surgery because of the low survival rate, forcing Bennett to perform it herself. Everyone present knew that it was unlikely that both mother and child would survive. They mainly hope to save the baby. Miraculously, both made it through. Bennett did not think anyone would believe he had successfully performed the operation under such conditions, so he did not report it. Until Dr. A.L. Knight, a neighbor of Bennetts, tracked down a number of witnesses and set a record with an article following Bennett's death. This ultimately gave him the credit he deserved for his achievements.

History of Caesarean Section Day

Dr. Bennett performed an important cesarean section on Elizabeth, his wife, at their home without any disinfectant or medical equipment. Dr. A. Humphrey first tried to give birth naturally, with forceps, but was unsuccessful. He refused to assist Dr. Bennett in a cesarean section because he thought it would be difficult to save both mother and baby. Indeed, the survival rate in Ireland and the UK at the time was around 15%.

Elizabeth was placed on the table and used laudanum to make her sleepy. Then, two servants had to keep her during the operation, and her sister, Nancy Hawkins, held a candle to provide light. The surgery was a success and Dr. Bennett stitched her up with linen thread designed for heavy clothing. Elizabeth lived another thirty-six years after the surgery. Her son, Maria, lived to be seventy-six years old. Dr. Bennett did not make it public because he did not think people would believe him that both the baby and the mother survived.

Because Dr. Bennett did not record or share information about the operation, another doctor was recognized as the person who performed the first cesarean section in the United States. In 1827, physician John Lambert of Ohio performed a caesarean section using modern equipment. It was reported as the first caesarean section.

Sometime after Dr. Bennett's death in 1842, Dr. A.L. Knight, who had been Bennetts' neighbor as a child, spoke to the witness of the caesarean section: Nancy Hawkins and one of the servants. He wrote "The Life and Times of Jesse Bennett, MD, 1769-1842," which was published in the Southern History Review in 1892. It was through this story that the story of Jesse, Elizabeth, and Maria Bennett was brought to life widely known, and that is why we mark Cesarean Birth Day on January 14 every year.

How to celebrate Caesarean Section Day

Here are some ways to hold this holiday:

  • Read for more interesting information "The Life and Times of Jesse Bennett, M.D., 1769-1842."
  • Read information relating Cesarean Section: An American History of Risk, Technology, and Consequences.
  • Visit a marker near the site of the cesarean section, a suburb of Linville, Virginia.
  • Visit home of Dr. Jesse Bennett in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

If you are pregnant and considering a cesarean, learn more about caesarean sections. You can read about some of the pros and cons of surgery, as well as some information on whether a planned cesarean delivery is a good idea. Talk to your doctor for more information.

Observed

Caesarean Section Day has been observed annually on January 14th.

Dates

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Friday, January 14th, 2022

Saturday, January 14th, 2023

Sunday, January 14th, 2024

Also on Friday, January 14th, 2022

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