In the case of an emergency cesarean birth any or all of these feelings may be intensified. You may feel relief in knowing that it will soon be over and your baby will be here, or you may feel terrified and upset that this is happening to you.
No matter how you are feeling, it is important to know that your feelings are valid! Every woman needing a cesarean deals with this news differently, and every woman is right in the way she feels. It is important to remember that it doesn’t matter if your child enters the world vaginally, via cesarean or while you are doing a handstand (this position is not advised ;) ), it is still your incredible birth story. It is your day to celebrate the gift that you have been so patiently waiting for, and as such YOU deserve to be honoured on your journey.
SO...here are 5 reasons you should still hire a doula for your cesarean birth!
1) Help With Preparation: I have had the privilege of being hired for multiple cesarean births over the years. Some ended up in an emergency cesarean, while others were scheduled. Regardless of your situation, a birth doula’s job is to help you prepare for your birth experience.
In the event of a scheduled cesarean a doula can still help you create a birth plan. This allows you to ask questions, talk about your fears and have some say over your birth experience. Being prepared can help you embrace this beautiful birth experience!
In the event of an emergency cesarean your birth doula may have discussed your “backup plan” with you during a prenatal visit. If not, or if you didn’t put much thought into it, your doula will be right there beside you to offer a listening ear, a comforting presence, and reassurance.
2) "Attend" Your Birth: While many hospitals allow a doula to attend a cesarean birth, this is not currently an option in our community. However, that does not mean we serve no purpose on the big day.
Your doula will be available to meet you at the hospital that morning to offer you comfort and reassurance during that last period of waiting. It is not uncommon for an expectant mother to feel anxious before she gives birth. This is a great time to talk with your doula about any lingering fears or uncertainties. Your doula may also offer comfort during any procedures you receive ahead of time (ex: IV or catheter).
In this situation your doula should have been contacted at the beginning of your labour. She will provide all of the support that is given in a scheduled cesarean, but she will also have provided labour support until it was determined that mom needed to go to the operating room.
3) Remain in the Hospital During/After Surgery: Depending on your hospital policies a number of things might happen after your cesarean birth. Ideally, mom, dad and the baby would remain together after the birth to enjoy skin-to-skin and share in the miracle that just happened. However, depending on hospital policy and the health of mom and baby it is possible that a separation may occur. In the event of a separation a doula is there to offer support to whoever needs it. If dad is separated from mom and his new baby he might be worried, confused or feel useless. A doula can offer him company and support during this difficult time. If mom is separated from dad and baby, a doula can help dad initiate skin-to-skin and answer any questions dad may have while he waits.
4) Document Your Birth Details: Regardless of if there is a separation or not, there are so many little details that mom and dad will not want to miss or forget! Your doula can help you document all of those tiny moments through notes and pictures which you will cherish forever!
5) Postpartum Support: Not only is your doula there immediately after the birth to help with breastfeeding support or any other questions/concerns mom and dad might have, but your doula will typically offer at least one home visit as well (we often offer an additional postpartum visit to caesarean moms free of charge -contact us for exact details-)! It is important to remember that your body has just undergone major surgery and that can greatly impact your day to day life. A doula can offer the specific support your family needs when returning home from the hospital. This might include light housework, cooking a meal or helping mom tend the baby and/or older siblings.
Remember, a birth doula performs many tasks! No matter how you give birth a doula is a valuable part of your birth team!
Doula, Childbirth Educator and lover of everything pregnancy, birth and babies!
Mom of 3, Birth Doula , CBE , Breastfeeding Educator, CIMI, and Photographer!