After discussion with your doctor and partner, you for one reason or another will be delivering your precious baby via cesarean. Or, maybe your vaginal birth has taken a turn and you will be heading in for an emergency cesarean. So, why do you need a doula?? So many reasons!!
A doula can help prepare with preparing a birth plan especially designed for a cesarean, something mothers with scheduled c-sections don’t often consider. We don’t just provide physical support, we also offer a lot of emotional support to both mom and their partner. When mom heads in for a c-section, planned or not, it can be a stressful event between the number of people in the room along with the anticipation of meeting your new baby.
Her doctor is busy doing the surgery; the nurses are preparing the room for the baby; her partner is awaiting the baby and will soon go to the warmer to greet the baby; but her doula will be at her side. A doula can help answer questions and guiding mom and partner the birth of their baby. She can remind the staff of any special requests the parents may have, like letting the husband or partner announce the gender of the baby.
Once baby has safely been born, dad/partner typically heads to the nursery with baby, leaving you in the OR while they complete your surgery. This is one area where a doula can be a great asset. We are able to stay with you in the OR, assuming there is no immediate emergency, update you with baby stats, listen to any concerns you have, even just sitting there with you being quite can be a comfort. This can be so important for a mother who is not able to hold her baby and needs to know for herself that “all is well.”
An important fact to remember about a cesarean birth, is that the baby is born in the first five to ten minutes. The rest of the nearly hour long procedure is the closing of the incisions. This can be a lonely time for the mother who has only seen her baby for a few moments and has likely not yet held him or her. I know this for myself, it seems like an eternity. A doula’s presence can be very comforting. If dad/partner is busy with the baby at the warmer or in the nursery, the mother would otherwise be alone during this period. Some moms have said having a doula for this period alone was invaluable and prevented them from becoming frightened.
After surgery has been completed and mom has gone to recovery, a doula can serve as a go-between for dad/partner in the nursery and mom, or between mother and dad/partner in recovery and baby alone in the nursery. Hearing positive news about her baby is likely to affect the mother positively during her recovery period. If the baby is not doing well, a doula can do her best to support the couple emotionally and buffer the situation as much as possible. As mom’s anesthesia starts to wear off and before the post-op pain medications are available, the doula can assist in breathing and relaxation, just as she might have during labor. Last, but not least, a doula can assist in initial breastfeeding just as after a vaginal birth.