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  • Sarah Carter

Tips for an Unplanned {or planned} Cesarean Birth

A Cesarean Birth has its own set of challenges. Most women who hire us as their doulas are not planning to have a cesarean birth. However, there are times before or during labor that it becomes the option that is healthiest for both mom and baby.

Here are some tips and bits of information for you to keep in mind...

It is very rarely an emergency. Sometimes the term “Emergency C-section” refers to the fact that the mother’s care provider feels that a C-section is the only option. Or sometimes they feel that continuing in labor could be dangerous for mom or baby. So, most of the time you have the opportunity to ask questions and determine that this is the best path for baby to enter the world before being rushed into surgery! Ask your doula for questions to ask your doctor, midwife, or nurse.

Once the decision is made to go to the OR for the birth, things move very fast! We hear a lot of moms say they do not remember a big chunk of time. So, we recommend that you ask your doula or someone to still take pictures and try to document the process just like you would with any other birth. We have many couples that love photos/videos from there cesarean birth!

Advocate for your doula to go to the birth with you. Most hospitals have a policy stating that only one support person can go with mom. Luckily in our area, there are a few hospitals that are open to not only the partner but also the doula coming to the operating room for support. This way the doula can help with relaxation and focus and talking through the process with the parents just as they would with any other birth. Another thing that doulas can do is take those special first moment photos and videos for you. Sometimes doulas are not allowed to attend the birth with you and your partner. Sometimes the anesthesiologist does not want anyone else there. But it doesn’t hurt to ask and hopefully that will encourage the policy to change.

Ask questions along the way. Usually when you get to the operating room, the mood of the birth changes. People are talking rapidly and mom no longer can see what is going on. It can be very confusing. Remember to ask questions. You can simply ask, “What is happening now? How is it going?”

Communicate with the Anesthesiologist. Start an open dialogue with them so that they will do the same and communicate with you about what they are doing. Either the Anesthesiologist or a Nurse Anesthetist will be near you asking you questions and checking your vitals. Sometimes moms will get extremely shaky or sick and they will give you medication for that. Ask them if the medication will make you sleepy and then decide if you are OK dealing with the shakes or nausea for a little bit or if you really need something.

During pregnancy, spend a little bit of time planning for the possibility of needing a cesarean. Think about what resources and support you have for during the first few hours and days after birth but also once you go home from the hospital.

We love helping women achieve their goals during labor and birth, but if those goals do change we want couples to feel very confident that it was necessary and feel as informed as possible! Please ask your doulas for more information if you want to spend a bit more time thinking and preparing for a Cesarean. For those who have a planned Cesarean, we have sample birth goals that we can provide. Also, feel free to check out the following podcasts as they have some additional great information:

These beautiful pictures were taken by Kristian as she was able to be with this awesome client during her cesarean birth in the operating room recently. These are precious moments of mama and baby boy together for the first time!

C-Section 1
C-Section 2

Soon you will be able to read about a cesarean birth from our client pictured above on our blog. We can't wait to share her story!

I (Sarah) had the opportunity to be the doula for this wonderful family for the second time. In her first birth, she had a cesarean. In her second birth, she wanted to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), but it was best for this second baby to be born via cesarean birth also. That first look from mom to baby is priceless.

C-Section 3

I (Sarah) was able to support this amazing mom in her birth. This moment was a mother and father seeing their baby less than two seconds after he was born after laboring to meet him for three days!

C-Section 4

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