The cesarean surgery rate in the United States alone is at 32.7% according to the CDC website. This means that nearly one in three women will give birth via major surgery. This surgery may be planned in advance (scheduled cesarean) or may be decided upon during labor. So, what can a doula do to help during a surgical birth?
Scheduled Cesarean Sections
You may find that you need to schedule the delivery date of your baby to be born via c-section. The need for this can be for many reasons. If this is how you are giving birth you will still need support from other people. A doula is the perfect person to help give you this support.
As a doula I am trained to help women and their families while giving birth, whether that birth be a vaginal birth or a surgical birth.
As your doula, I am another set of hands, eyes and ears to help you better prepare for your upcoming surgical birth. I can help you get answers to your questions and formulate a birth plan for a cesarean section.
During the pre-op period, I can help explain procedures to you and your partner and help you get answers to any questions that you have, much like any other labor planning.
Once inside the operating room, I can assist you in knowing what is going on by giving you details of what is going on.
Your doctor and assistants are busy doing the surgery. The nurses are preparing the room for the baby. Your partner is awaiting the baby and will soon go to the warmer to greet the baby. I will be right at your side. I can take photos if you desire, particularly after the baby is born. I can help you voice any special requests you may have, like letting your partner announce the gender of the baby , getting to touch the baby right away, music in the room, etc. If your baby needs to go to the nursery, your partner can go with the baby, knowing that I am still by your side.
One important fact to know about the cesarean is that the baby is born in the first few minutes. The rest of the nearly hour long procedure is the repair. If your partner is busy with the baby or in the nursery, you would otherwise be alone during this period. Many of the mothers I have worked with have said having a doula for this period was incredibly reassuring and prevented them from becoming frightened or overly anxious.
During the postpartum period I can suggest post-operative comfort measures. I assist you with any breastfeeding questions you may have or special help you or baby may require with breastfeeding. I can also help with reminding nurses about your birth plan and special needs you may have.
I provide all of the above services for you should the need for a cesarean come up during your labor. If you have an emergency cesarean, my role as well as the role of your other support people may be extremely limited during the actual surgery. However, in the recovery and postpartum periods I will again be able to resume those functions.
A doula for a cesarean, particularly a scheduled cesarean, is becoming more and more popular. Many couples find that they benefit from the supportive and informative services of this extra set of trained hands during a cesarean birth.