Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Doulas at a Planned (or Unplanned) Cesarean Birth

I just found a great article on the ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) blog. It explains well what doulas can do during a cesarean to help the mother and her partner have a more fulfilling experience.

Here are a few excerpts from the blog post:

Moms having a cesarean birth hire a doula for many of the same reasons you would benefit from a doula at ANY birth – emotional support, explanations and reassurance, reminders of your birth plan, recording a time line of events, someone to stay with mom while dad is at the baby’s side, and breastfeeding support.

Doulas are a fantastic help for ALL moms, as they work with you through your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum time.

Doulas are not just for home births or natural births! Also,

Specific to a cesarean arrival, your doula is able to talk you through what can be a scary experience! We can explain the steps of the surgery, reassure your partner if they witness some things that can appear alarming, report back to mom as the baby is examined and encourage the nurses to make sure the baby stays within mom’s line of sight. The sights, smells, and sounds of a cesarean birth can be surprising and your doula can help explain what is happening.

A doula can be of help after the birth as well:

Once your baby is here a doula continues to help, perhaps snapping photos of those first sweet moments with your baby. If skin-to-skin care is possible in the OR we can help hold baby in place so your partner can focus on you and this exciting arrival. If there are any concerns we can stay with mom while dad accompanies your little one to the nursery, which hopefully will not be necessary! Once in the recovery room we can assist you with positioning while nursing to help avoid pressure on your incision site, and assist in getting baby situated for some skin-to-skin time. Doulas will remain generally a couple hours postpartum so we can accompany you to your postpartum room and help make sure you get settled, and ensure our partner has a chance to grab something to eat and drink.

Here's what one mom said in the comments section after the post:

Thank you for this article. I had a doula present at the birth of my first child, which was a scheduled C-section thanks to some serious complications. I was heartbroken that I could not have a natural birth, and my doula helped me through what would have been a very scary experience without her. OR staff tend to be good at their jobs, but not so much with bedside manner and kindness, which is what a new mom so desperately needs. I’m tired of seeing doulas and holistic birthing practices only being stressed for natural births – while far too many C-sections happen for the wrong reasons, some of them are truly necessary and I’d love to see moms be better cared for “above the drape."

No matter what kind of birth a mother and child experience, there are benefits to having a doula present. There's just something about having another woman there who has experience in childbirth and can be an encouragement to the mother and her partner, to reassure them in what can be an extremely stressful time.

So if you are planning on a c-section and you're not sure about having a doula present, read the article. Then please come back and tell me what you think. I'd love to hear from you!


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