Doula Support for your Caesarean
Did you know that you can have doula support for your Caesarean? Yup, that’s right, doulas are not just for vaginal births, we support ALL births!
Childbirth is often a time of uncertainty and fear - what’s going to happen, will it hurt, will I be able to cope? Your doula can help educate you on the physiology of birth as well as interventions and Caesareans, and as your knowledge increases, your fear will decrease. Understanding the hows and whys will help you to feel more confident to make informed choices about your care, and more confident to ask questions when you’re not sure about something. That applies to all types of birth - vaginal, med-free, with an epidural, assisted, and surgical.
For some people a Caesarean is a last resort, and for others it is a welcome choice or a medical necessity. Whichever one it is for you, unless there is a true emergency, most hospitals will allow you to have your doula with you during your Caesarean.
So how can your doula support you through your Caesarean?
Firstly, through education, as mentioned above. Understanding your rights and options means you can be involved and informed about your pregnancy and birth care. For example, you might want to plan a gentle Caesarean, or it might be really important to you that your partner gets to cut the baby’s umbilical cord. Your doula will help you communicate that in your birth plan (because yes, you should still have a birth plan for a Caesarean!).
When it’s time for your Caesarean you may need to choose one person to accompany you, as some hospitals will only allow one support person. If this is the case your doula can help prepare you and your partner through teaching you some calming breathing techniques, and be ready waiting for you after the operation. Some hospitals will allow your doula to swop in with your support person once the baby is here, for example if your baby needs to go to the NICU and your partner goes with them, your doula can come into the operating theatre to be with you while the operation is finished up. Immediately after your Caesarean if you and baby are well your doula can help you with early breastfeeding support, help you get comfortable, and join in with celebrating your new family!
If you’re having an elective (planned) Caesarean your postpartum doula can help you prepare and plan for your return home after the op. We can set up snack, feeding and nappy change stations around the house so you don’t have to move around so much at first. We can practise ways to safely get in and out of bed or off the sofa (find out more about recovery here). And we can help plan out your first few meals and make sure you have supplies in place. If you weren’t expecting a Caesarean, your doula can also help you to process your experience and adjust to parenthood at your pace.