Planned Cesarean Doula Support
“YES, THAT’S RIGHT, A DOULA CAN STILL HELP YOU DURING YOUR C-SECTION! BUT HOW?"
A doula provides SUPPORT to the expecting woman (and her partner.) Having a c-section is still giving birth to your child and is something that should be honored. It should be an experience that you treasure and can look back on fondly because it brought you this precious miracle in your life, your baby. This is exactly how a doula can help with that and provide support during your cesarean section:
PHYSICAL SUPPORT- You wouldn’t think that there is a lot that a doula can help you with physically during a c-section, but actually there are! Here are some different things that I can do:
1. I can help you with breathing and relaxation techniques to stay comfortable during uncomfortable procedures like the administration of an IV, or even the spinal or an epidural for your surgery.
2. I can help keep your partner as calm as possible, especially during prep time since he will not be allowed in until prep is completed. This will help your partner feel more prepared and be a more effective support person.
3. I can be your advocate in the operating room (OR) and remind your doctors and midwives your preferences.
4. If your partner is wanting to touch the baby or take pictures while he/she is in the warmer, he will have to leave your side. This is when your doula, like me can stay by you so you do not feel unsupported as your doctors continue with the repair part of the surgery. I will help you stay as calm and comfortable as possible.
5. I can also take photos if you desire, particularly after the baby is born, of you, your partner and your baby.
6. If your baby needs to go immediately to the NICU, most partners go with the baby so they know where he/she is going and what is happening. This causes them to leave your side for a longer period of time. This can be a little scary for mum since she is concerned for her baby and is still being operated on. Remember the procedure continues for around 45 more minutes as the surgeons suture you back up. I can stay by your side throughout all of this.
7. I can also act as a liaison between the staff and you for getting updates on the baby if you are separated.
8. I can also help assist with breastfeeding, helping bub attach, and getting you comfortable and feel supported without overwhelming information.
9. And this could be an extra relief of having someone who has had a cesarean myself by your side may be more comforting.
EMOTIONAL SUPPORT- If you are having an unplanned cesarean section, this is especially when emotional support from a doula is helpful. I can help calm your fears before, during and after the surgery. Having me there to discuss your feelings with you and your partner is truly valuable during this time. If you are having a planned c-section, it can still be a little frightening of the unknown. I can help by listening to you and talking you through everything. After the birth, I am there for you while you process your feelings about the birth. It’s really nice to be able to have someone to talk to that will listen and give you a biased, professional outlook on the whole birth. Whether you are in the recovery room, the postpartum room or at home, we all need someone that we feel we can talk to.
INFORMATIONAL SUPPORT- A doula can provide a lot of wonderful informational support to the family for a planned or even an emergency c-section. Sometimes your doula can even help you by teaching a cesarean section class for you and your partner. Here are some ways that I can help you by providing informational support:
1. I can help you and your partner know what to expect with a c-section, and also inform you of the newborn procedures that will occur.
2. I can help you prepare for the birth by asking you questions like 1. Would you prefer that your doctors describe, or not describe, the procedures as they are doing them during the surgery? Would you like for them to keep the chit-chat to a minimum? (Sometimes doctors and nurses talk about things completely unrelated to the procedure since this is just another day at the office. This is still your baby’s birth so you can speak up if you want the conversation to stop or change. 2. Would you prefer your partner to announce the sex of the baby? 3. Would you prefer that your baby be brought to you immediately (if the baby is healthy) to do skin-to-skin as opposed to being placed in the warmer? 4. Would you like music playing in the OR while your child is born? 5. Would you like one arm free (usually both are strapped down) so you can hold your baby on your chest once he/she is born? 6. Would you like delayed cord clamping done for the first few minutes?
3. During the postpartum period I can suggest post-operative comfort measures.
4. I assist you with any breastfeeding questions you may have as well as help the baby get a good latch.
As you can see, there are many things that a doula can do to help you before, during and after your cesarean. This is why the idea of using a doula for a cesarean section is no longer unusual. It’s obvious that there are many benefits for not only the mother but also the partner from the physical, emotional and educational support. Everyone having a baby deserves an advocate, and to -have continuity of care. This is why I hope more mamas who are planning their c-sections consider hiring a doula like me.
Virtual Doula support option:
During Covid-times Some parents have requested a combination of in-person and virtual. For example, in-person support prior to the cesarean, virtual day of surgery, as some hospitals only allow one support person. I also can be there virtually if bub needs emergency care so the partner can go with bub to NICU and I can still 'be there' so that mum is not alone while in recovery or surgery. I can also remind and advocate for mum if she wants to have skin to skin asap, delayed cord clamping, breastfeeding etc. I will also keep you up-to-date on Covid protocols at your birth location.
Fee- $800- (Payment plans available)
-Includes 1 prenatal visit during pregnancy (2hours)
-up to 5 hours of support on the day of surgery
-2 postpartum home visits (3hours each)
Photo credit: @ranarankinphotography & @breathebirthphotography