Hospital live-tweets caesarean birth

Streamed birth ... The moment the baby was presented to his parents - and the world - for the first time.
Streamed birth ... The moment the baby was presented to his parents - and the world - for the first time. 

Not many people can say their birth was seen by thousands of people around the world, but one baby boy, born in an American hospital yesterday, will be able to one day claim just that.

Houston Memorial Hermann Hospital live-tweeted the birth, posting photos, videos and information about the child’s entry into the world. And yes, he got his own hashtag: #MHbaby.

It began when a 39-year-old woman agreed to the hospital sharing details of her caesarean through social media. Her name, and the name and exact birth time of her baby, have remained anonymous, but nothing else was off limits; the hospital’s twitter account, @houstonhospital, shared every incision, tug, and, eventually, baby’s cry.

Of course, viewers were often warned of contents of the feed. 

An obstetrician named Anne Gonzalez performed the surgery, while a doctor wore a helmet-mounted camera to document the procedure on video, which was then shared via YouTube.

Another obstetrician answered questions and gave details on the surgery via the twitter account.

When asked why the hospital had chosen to share the surgery in this way, Dr Gonzalez said it was a matter of public education.  


“[A live-tweeted c-section] will allow us to pull back the curtain on the most common surgery that many women need to have in order to deliver their baby. It also will help families to prepare for their own deliveries and show them what to expect,” Dr Gonzalez said.

“It is an amazing honour to be involved in the most important event in this family’s life and we are thankful they are sharing their story with the public.”

The hospital’s YouTube channel features 18 videos of the birth, including the operating room before the surgery, the mum getting an epidual, several incisions, the birth of the baby, the removal of cord blood and the placenta, and the dad presenting the newborn to the new mum.

Here is the video of the baby emerging into the world (again, warning: the contents of these videos are indeed graphic).

To see the full feed, with links to video and images, visit the hospital's storify page.  You can also visit the Memorial Hermann YouTube channel