Doulas For Cesarean Birth
We often think of doulas as a great “extra” for those women planning a natural birth in the hospital. Doulas however, are not just for women planning a natural birth. A woman planning (or unexpectedly having) a cesarean birth can benefit just as much from the presence of a doula as any other woman.
With over 30% of babies entering the world through cesarean section, it just makes sense that more women, no matter their birth needs, should benefit from the non-judgemental support of a doula.
Every Birth Benefits From Doula Support
The support needed for every woman at every birth is really very similar. A woman planning a natural birth at home can benefit from the relationship, support, knowledge, and acceptance that her doula can show her.
A woman planning a cesarean birth needs the very same thing in order to have her most positive birth experience.
In fact, the thing that consistently determines whether a woman has positive emotions connected to her birth is not how she delivers, but how she was treated by those with her.
A doula helps you celebrate your unique birth and that is something every woman needs!
How Can A Doula Specifically Help During A Cesarean Birth?
Birthing women and their families always benefit from a constant, supportive, presence amid the shift changes, admittance procedures, and ritual of modern childbirth.
Cesarean birth is evolving in modern hospitals with some even starting to offer more family-centered cesarean birth options. In these more mother-friendly cesareans, doulas are welcome and moms can hold and breastfeed their babies sooner.
A doula can help you during this process and help you know about and advocate for a family-centered cesarean birth. Sometimes just knowing that more mother-friendly options are available is incredibly helpful.
If the doctors performing the cesarean allow the doula in the operating room, the doula may stay near the mom’s head and let her know what is happening during the surgery so she can be more involved and aware.
If the doula is not allowed in the operating room, she may accompany family in the lobby and help explain the process to them. If mother and baby are separated at all after the birth, the doula can stay with the mother and provide continuity of care allowing the partner or father to stay with the baby. This also ensures that the mother is not left alone, a very important but often forgotten factor.
The presence of your doula at a cesarean birth can provide comfort, ease fears, and smooth the process of birth.
Doulas Can Assist With Breastfeeding After Cesarean Birth and Postpartum
Breastfeeding is an important goal for many women. Women who give birth via cesarean can face particular challenges breastfeeding after cesarean birth. A knowledgeable doula can really help in this area and ensure that mom is able to breastfeed, and even help hold the baby if necessary.
Some doulas also have some lactation training so they can help you with that first nursing session. Ask your doula what she knows about breastfeeding.
When You Need (But Don’t Want) A Cesarean
Some women planning a vaginal birth find themselves in a position where, due to circumstances like position of the baby or the placenta, they can more safely birth via cesarean section.
A doula can help you sort through these emotions, listen to you, honor your needs, and support you in the birth that you have. This is one of the unique and beautiful things about a doula- her ability to appreciate and support every kind of birth and understand your feelings regarding your birth and how important it is to you. She will not dismiss your feelings.
This ability- to “hold space” and simply listen and be empathetic- is key to a better birth experience. A doula can add this often missing piece from modern maternity care.
Women deserve to have birth experiences that help them feel empowered. Adding a doula to cesarean birth is one way to help this happen for more families.