If I had a dollar for every time I'm asked if a doula is just for natural birth, I would have a heck of a lot of dollars. This is a common myth that needs to be stopped in its tracks! Every mom can benefit from a doula. Whether she is planning an induction, an epidural, a home birth, or yes, even a cesarean.
A large portion of the doulas role during a cesarean birth is to provide informational support. A doula can help you and your partner know what to expect with a cesarean section and help create your birth plan. A birth plan will help you organize your thoughts and feelings and help you feel more in control. Most people do not realize that they have any options during a cesarean birth but a doula can inform you of these.
Here are some options you may have for a cesarean birth:
Your doula can help relieve fears before, during and after the surgery. If you are disappointed that you have to have a cesarean section, your doula is there to discuss your feelings with you and your partner She will help you practice relaxation techniques, and talk to you during the procedure to keep you calm. Your doula can help keep your partner calm so that they are effective support for you during the birth. The doula will empower you to advocate for yourself in the ER by reminding the surgeons of your birth plan and wishes.
After the birth, your doula is there for you while you process your feelings. Whether in the recovery room, the postpartum room or at home, its great for moms to have someone to talk to. Your doula can refer you to resources like ICAN and other support groups.
Just having an extra set of hands can be a bigger help than is realized after a cesarean. If dad wants to photograph and touch his baby while the baby is in the warmer, the mother is left alone on the surgery table. If the baby must go immediately to the NICU, and dad goes with the baby, the mother is also left alone. This can be an extremely scary time to be alone - the procedure continues for around 45 more minutes as the surgeons suture you back up, and you may continue to feel discomfort and concern for your baby. The doula can stay by your side throughout all of this to keep you calm and comfortable.
The doula can also help with breastfeeding after birth. This is no small feat after having major abdominal surgery! The doula can help you navigate how to hold your baby and get the baby to latch, in addition to all the regular breastfeeding support typically provided postpartum.
You will be surprised how much having this kind of support can really help with your recovery!
Miranda is a birth and postpartum doula serving the central Oklahoma area.