Thursday, March 31, 2011

Doulas and Cesareans

I have written about how a doula can help with different plans for hospital births and for homebirths. A post by Navelgazing Midwife made me realize that I left out yet another group of women. A follow-up guest post Doula-ing for Cesareans on Navelgazing Midwife's blog by Kristen French, of Central Washington's own Three Rivers Birth Services, (small world, huh?) addresses this much better than I ever could. A lot of people assume a doula can't really do anything for a woman having a cesarean, but Kristen's comprehensive post does a great job of explaining otherwise.

Here are a few key things a doula can help with for a cesarean:
  • helping the mother understand the procedure and prepare emotionally for a cesarean
  • helping the mother develop a birth plan that allows her cesarean to be a special birth for her and her baby in whatever ways he woman would like. Kristin's guest post contains a list of options, and some possibilities are shown in this amazing video:

  • supporting the mother in the moments just before the surgery, where intense emotions are likely to arise
  • helping the mother develop strategies for coping with the emotional intensity of the cesarean experience
  • being present in the OR, if the hospital will allow it
  • if the mother and baby must be separated, staying with the mother while the father stays with the baby
  • helping with establishment of breastfeeding, which is often more difficult after a cesarean because the incision can make it necessary to use less common breastfeeding positions
  • helping the mother process emotions from the birth to help her memories of it be as positive as possible

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