Many women who are facing a Cesarean Section—scheduled or otherwise—may wonder whether a doula can be helpful at their birth. The answer is yes!
Doulas attend all kinds of births: unmedicated, medicated, VBAC, and Cesarean, at home, at a birth center, or in a hospital. Part of a doula's role is to create a bond with the mother so as to provide reassurance and comfort. As you meet with your doula in the weeks leading up to your birth, you will develop a friendship that will make your doula an ideal person to have at your side during a stressful situation. A C-section is major surgery that is likely to cause anxiety or distress, especially when an emergency C-section is ordered, but also when a C-section is scheduled ahead of time.
A doula can inform you of some of the aspects of the surgery, stay by your side to calm and comfort you during surgery, and be with you afterward to help with breastfeeding. In the case of an emergency Cesarean, if the baby needs to be quickly treated for medical problems, your doula can stay with you, allowing your husband or birth partner to go with the baby. If the baby needs to stay in the NICU, the doula can act as a link between the mother in recovery and the baby in the NICU, bringing positive news to the mother.
Another very important role a doula can play in a Cesarean birth is talking about the birth with you, helping to fill in gaps and holes in the birth story, helping you process the experience and resolve negative emotions. This can be especially important when a woman has planned to have a vaginal birth and ended up with an emergency C-section. Seeing all your plans fall apart in the case of an emergency can make you feel out of control and can bring up feelings of failure that you were not able to proceed with the birth as you planned. A doula can help you understand the necessity of what happened, talk through parts of the birth that frustrated, angered, or frightened you, and leave you with an overall feeling of positivity toward your birth.
A postpartum doula can also be especially helpful in the case of a Cesarean birth. The recovery from a C-section is long and difficult. A postpartum doula can help with laundry, cooking, cleaning, and baby care, allowing you to get the rest necessary to recover and to focus on bonding with your baby and establishing breastfeeding. A postpartum doula can also help manage visitors, ensuring you get the rest and alone time you need to recover as quickly as possible.If you're having a planned C-section, or find yourself in the position of needing an emergency C-section, remember that a doula can still be a friend, comfort, help, and advocate for you, helping to make your birth a positive experience and a happy memory to carry with you for the rest of your life.
-Written by Missy www.dreambirthdoulas.blogspot.com
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