How do doulas support cesarean births?
Doulas are able to provide a multitude of supports leading up to, during and after a cesarean birth, whether the cesarean is planned or unplanned. Your doula will be another set of hands, eyes and ears to help you better prepare for your upcoming surgical birth. They can help you get answers to your questions and work with you to prepare a gentle cesarean or family-centered cesarean birth plan.
During the hours leading up to surgery, your doula can help explain procedures and make sure you feel prepared and emotionally anchored. They will also explain to your support partner what to expect and how to support you in the operating room. Your doula can help you manage emotions and discomfort during procedures like the administration of an IV, a spinal or an epidural for your surgery.
If allowed in the operating room, your doula will be able to:
- Offer explanations of the process as the surgeons are focused on the surgery and the nurses are prepping for the baby’s arrival
- Remind staff of any special requests
- Take photos
- Support immediate skin-to-skin or breast/chest feeding in the operating room
- Stay with you so that your support partner can accompany the baby should they need special care
Recovering from a cesarean birth often requires many physical comfort measures for post-operative healing. If choosing to breast/chest feed, your doula can assist you with supportive positions that reduce strain on your surgical site.
If your doula is not allowed in the operating room, there are still many things on this list that they can do to help you and your support partner. And even if you don’t have a doula for scheduled c section, there are many things a doula can do postpartum to support the entire family.
Learn more about how how doula can support parents after a cesarean birth in this post about postpartum doula care.
A collaborative piece, written for PDX Birth with the doulas of Brave Birth Doula Care.