~ C-SECTIONS AND WHY YOU NEED AND WANT A DOULA ~
I have been asked more than once why a woman would want a doula for a c-section and what would the benefits can be. Whether it’s a planned c-section or unexpected, the woman and her partner need support. As a doula you have perhaps spent anywhere from 2 to 9 months listening, encouraging, and developing a relationship with them built on trust and support. How valuable would this be when about to head into surgery? The main difference between doula support for a c-section and a vaginal delivery is perhaps the way I support. A vaginal delivery will need a lot more physical support, including but not limited to position changes, massage, etc. With a c-section that support alters, and becomes more emotional and mental support. Verbal encouragement, perhaps a massage as a mom is prepped for the operating room, perhaps a continued conversation about how they envisions the delivery to go. If a doula is allowed into the OR, she will be able to to provide support during the c-section as well. There is immense value in having someone to process everything that has happened after delivery – someone that is educated and can help with breastfeeding as well. As a doula, I often think about the emotional and mental needs of a mom, regardless of it being a first baby or a tenth. How do they feel? What are the concerned about? What things will they need a listening ear for and support once baby arrives? I also know that once baby is born a partner instinctively goes to baby, and oftentimes mom is left alone regardless of how they delivered. I fill that gap as a doula by staying with Mom: my priority at this point is the mom, how she is feeling physically and emotionally. Never underestimate the need for a mom to hear encouragement well she did, how her body nourished and supported a baby and birthed life, and how beautiful that baby – no matter how she gave birth. A mom’s perception of birth and what she experienced can often be set within those first few minutes after baby is born. The need for reassurance and comfort is always important in pregnancy, labor and delivery, and most so at that moment of birth.
Things to consider
- When you arrive at the hospital, waiting for them to start the preparation for the surgery….where does the roll of a doula fit into all of this? Oftentimes, I help create and maintain a calm and safe environment. Helping to keep the mood light, answer questions, offering a mom a foot massage are just a few ways we can help the transition from waiting to O.R.
- If baby is taking out of the O.R. prior to a mom being ready to leave….a partner will usually go with baby. A doula is able to stay with mom, provide the needed support and comfort in that moment.
- If baby had to be transported to the NICU for any reason….again, the partner would go with baby. Where is Mom? she will likely be immensely worried about how her baby is doing, how long it will last until she gets to see Baby, and may be anxious and afraid to be alone. A doula will stay with her, talk, support, and keep her connected to everything going on.