Kate Anderson's desire to feel empowered and have ownership over the birth of her son Oliver could change the experience of caesarean birth for hundreds of future Ballarat mums. Ms Anderson had asked repeatedly throughout her pregnancy to be allowed a maternal assisted caesarean in which she would lift Oliver out of her womb. With the support of a registrar, and unaware that other obstetricians at the hospital were also keen for the practice to be introduced, Ms Anderson was granted her wish and helped deliver Oliver on October 30. It was the first maternal assisted caesarean at Grampians Health Ballarat and the first of what she hopes will be many more for the women who come after her. "Once they made the incision and got through to Oliver, they lifted his head out and the start of his shoulders then I was guided and directed to where his underarms were and lifted him out from there and placed him on my chest," Ms Anderson said. Once his umbilical cord was cut, Ms Anderson was able to take off her gloves and pull down her gown to allow Oliver to have early skin-to-skin contact. "It was a really nice way to feel like I had some say over the birth ... but I had no idea at the time how much of a big deal it was with the hospital. "It's so nice to feel I was playing a part in the future of caesareans at the Base and thrilled to bits that more women will get this opportunity because I pushed for it." Having previously worked as a midwife, Ms Anderson had seen the procedure carried out at another hospital and following an emergency caesarean with her third child, she "wanted to have some ownership of the birth and feel empowered" when she knew her fourth child would be delivered via an elective caesarean section. Grampians Health clinical director of women and children's services Dr Natasha Frawley said the introduction of maternal assisted caesarean sections at Grampians Health Ballarat provided more women-centred options of care to mothers giving birth at Ballarat Base Hospital and was part of efforts to provide expectant parents with more informed choices and improved satisfaction in their parenthood journey. "We are delighted to have completed our first maternal assisted caesarean at the Ballarat Base Hospital. The caesarean was conducted under the expert guidance of our skilled medical team, ensuring the utmost safety and care for both mother and baby," Dr Frawley said. "Shared decision making and women centred care are very important standards that staff apply to pregnancy care when working at Grampians Health. This achievement underscores our dedication to maintaining the highest standards of maternal and neonatal care in the region." Because they require a longer preparation time, maternal assisted caesarean sections will only be offered during elective caesareans when the baby is expected to be in good condition at birth, including being 37 weeks or more. Maternal assisted caesarean deliveries have been offered at St John of God hospital for a few years. Following his landmark birth, Oliver joined his three sisters aged six, four and two at their Ballarat home. "It's very busy. He's got three older sisters who are very excited to have a brother and he's very much loved in the house."