Cesarean (c-section) is a scary thing to bring up during pregnancy. Some women are terrified of it. While others would choose that in a heartbeat. The US rate of C-section along is just under 33%. This can be planned in advanced (scheduled) or may be done in labor in either on emergent or non-emergent basis. A Doula can be a great asset to have with you during your pregnancy. I am not only speaking from experience but also from other people's experiences and perspectives. I have been on both sides. Women go through a lot during a C-section, not only physically but mentally as well. I have heard of other women saying to someone who had a C-section that it makes them less of a mom. OH MY GOSH NO IT DOES NOT!!! You are a mom either way! Everyone needs to know this and remember to be kind to one another. Not only is this mom processing that she just had a major surgery but it does not mean she is any less of a mom or a women because she went through a c-section. (End of rant sorry guys)
So how can a Doula help you while you are going through surgery? Well let me tell you that there are many ways she can help before, during and after. Now some facilities won't let the Mom have more than 1 person in there with them but other places do. Its a good idea to find out beforehand, but hospitals are really good about letting you know right away what their policy is.
1. A Doula can help you feel be better prepared for your surgical birth. Answer your questions and help you adjust your birth plan. Doula is another set of hands, eyes, and ears for you!
2. A Doula can help you manage pain and anxiety prior to the procedure. Help get answers prior to surgery, much like she would for a vaginal birth. She can help keep you comfortable for your IV and even for your epidural/spinal. She has training to help keep you calm through this and answer or help get you answers on things that are happening or are going to happen. Training such as breathing techniques, talking and oxytocin releasing techniques.
3. Once in the Operating room (OR), your doula will assist you in knowing what is going on, giving you details as it happens. While your surgeon is doing the surgery, nurses are preparing for baby, husband or who you chose is with you and awaiting baby. Your doula is at your side. She can take photos if you would like. Remind staff of any special requests you may have for during the procedure. She is available right there for help with breastfeeding if needed.
4. IF the baby has to be in the warmer/nursery, your husband may go to be with the baby. Your Doula will stay by your side. She can be a liason for you for getting updates on the baby while you are separated. She can answer any questions you have or let you rest and help you get prepared for when the spinal/epidural wears off.
5. Baby is born in the first few minutes of the procedure, the rest of the almost 1 hour procedure is the repair. Having a doula can prevent the feeling of being alone/frightened. Personally I know this is a very hard time for mom being that you can't move your legs and you can't see what is going on. Its stressful to be the mom. I want to make sure the mother I am with has plenty of support. The surgeons, nurses, doctors check on you but they are making sure the procedure goes the way it should and a Doula can be there just for you, one on one the whole time.
6. During the postpartum period, a Doula can suggest Post-op comfort measures and help with breastfeeding/bottle feeding. Here are some comfort measures to think about using after a c-section
Use a pillow to splint your incision for when you stand, cough, sneeze, laugh
Sleep near baby
Move as soon as you can
Don't pick up anything heavier than your baby
Use a pillow for positioning baby for breastfeeding
Use Ice on incision
I hope this helps at least 1 person. Remember you are still a mom even if you have a C-section. Your family made this amazing baby. Enjoy your baby and love on each other.