1. A doula can help you come up with a birth plan for your cesarean birth.
Having a c-section does not mean you surrender all choice in how you will birth. Your hospital-based birth team will be focused on making sure you have a successful surgery, meanwhile there may be other things you desire for the immediate time after birth. Consider how quickly you would want skin to skin, or who will cut the cord and when. These are things you might want to discuss with your doula. If you get a doula for your cesarean birth, you can write down your plan and review it with your care providers before the big day.
2. A doula can help remind the birth team of your birth plan.
The birth team could be your partner or the hospital staff. Your partner might be overwhelmed with emotions, having just witnessed the birth of your child. The doctors and nurses might be caught up in their typical post-surgical routine and could forget about those extra little things you wanted for your birth. A doula can point out to your partner that you had a vision for your birth. Something as simple as “hey, didn’t mom want to see the baby before eye ointment was applied,” can bring the focus back to your birth plan.
3. A doula will be by your side.
While your partner is busy staying by the baby’s side during the moments after the birth, a doula can be by yours. It could get pretty lonely having such an emotional, transforming experience while being stuck on the table, behind a sheet, while getting stitched back up. This can bring up a lot of feelings, from fear to feeling left out. No one wants to feel like they are watching their birth from the outside. During that time a doula will be present for you, talking to you about how you feel, what is happening on the baby’s end, or simply holding your hand.
4. A doula can help out with initial bonding.
Sometimes when a baby comes into the world through a c-section, the mother and baby both have trouble starting that initial breastfeeding relationship. Certain aspects of a c-section birth, such as the prolonged separation from mother, the medications given during the surgery, and the long recovery process, all play a role in the possible difficulties. When you and your partner are emotionally and physically exhausted, and the hospital staff is attending to their many tasks and patients, a doula will be there to help guide you through those first few steps.
5. A doula will be present after you go home, during the postpartum visit.
It’s no secret that a woman’s recovery is typically longer and harder with a cesarean birth. In addition to having a newborn, you will be recovering from surgery. A doula continues to follow you in the postpartum, checking up on how that newborn bonding is going, as well as help with pain management techniques. A doula is very helpful during this time to answer any questions you may have about your birth, talk about how you think it went, and share the memory. They are also available to answer any concerns you may have as you transition into your new family roles. Moms and partners will find it very helpful that most doulas remain on call for six weeks after the birth, should any additional questions arise.
PHOTO CREDIT: HEARTLOVE PHOTOGRAPHY