Doulas Are For Scheduled Caesareans

She had waited until the last few weeks of her pregnancy to decide that she would hire a doula. She had scheduled a consultation with the perfect doulas. Then at her doctor’s appointment, she found out that her baby was still breech and she was trying to decide if she would prefer to schedule a caesarean. She and her doctor discussed the risks and benefits of trying for a vaginal birth versus a scheduled caesarean birth.

She went home that afternoon, her head swimming. She wasn't sure what she should decide. Her husband wasn't sure either; he wanted her to do what she felt was best. And what about the doulas? Should she just cancel her consultation?

The next morning she called the doula agency office. She explained her predicament and was surprised to learn that doulas support planned caesarean births. She kept her appointment, and when she hired the doulas she met with, they helped her go over the risks and benefits of her options. They talked about what her gut feeling was about her baby's birth, and she ultimately decided to have a scheduled caesarean delivery.

The night before her caesarean was scheduled, the doula on call phoned her, and they went over the items in her hospital bag. She talked about her fears and about how excited she was to meet her baby! The doula was able to go over what the process would look like from start to finish.

On the big day, her doula met her in the hospital parking lot. The doula helped her partner carry up the bags and kept the mood light and happy. The doula helped her get settled while she was being admitted. While they waited, the doula gave her the most amazing hand and foot massages ever! The three of them talked a lot about hopes and dreams for life as parents!

They had already been informed that it would not be possible for the doula to join them in the operating room so when it was time to go they hugged, and the doula wished them well. She promised to be waiting in the recovery room.

The nurses and doctor were excellent during the birth. The doctor explained what was happening every step of they way and soon a nurse was holding her beautiful baby boy close to her so she could see and kiss him.

In the recovery room, her doula was waiting. She couldn't help but grin with pride when her doula congratulated her. It was so reassuring to both her and her husband to see a familiar and comfortable face.

Together, she and her doula got her new baby latched, and he had a few good swallows. The doula helped them get back into their postpartum room. With help, she was able to get settled in for some rest while her husband enjoyed some baby snuggles. They said their goodbyes.

The doula visited the first day that they were home from the hospital and was so knowledgeable about how to care for the incision. She also knew lots of tricks for staying comfortable. They sipped tea and talked about the birth and what was to come.

It was an incredible roller coaster of an experience from the beginning! In the end, she felt empowered and supported. She knew she had made the right decision to trust her body and her baby. And while she could have done it without the doula, she couldn’t imagine her birth experience any other way!

How Do I Avoid Perineal Tearing?

 

The thought of a perineal or vaginal tear is, well, tearifying.

Your vagina is required to stretch significantly to accommodate your baby’s birth. And while your body is designed to stretch in this way, that doesn’t always mean you’ll escape the experience laceration-free.

So How Can I Prevent Tearing During Childbirth?

 

While nothing is foolproof, there are some strategies that have proven useful in reducing your risk, including:

·       Perineal massage. Some studies have shown that when giving birth vaginally for the first time, the risk of lacerations was reduced when perineal massage was used. Other studies have shown that perineal massage is not helpful, and may make tearing worse. Talk to your primary care provider about whether perineal massage is right for you, and how to do it safel. 

·       Different positions for pushing. You can try pushing on your side, on all fours, or squatting. Your doula or partner can help you get repositioned. Listen to your body and do what feels most comfortable for you. If something isn’t working, change it up.

·       Professional guidance during crowning. You may be asked by your primary care provider to pant or breathe deeply without pushing for a few moments, giving your perineum time to stretch more effectively. Follow these instructions to help ease your body through childbirth. One trick is to think about blowing like you are trying to keep a feather in the air; a sustained and upwards breath.

·       Warm compresses. Not only can warm compresses be very soothing, using them as the time to push gets closer will help relax your perineum.

 

Perineal tears happen as your baby’s head is being birthed. Most perineal trauma is considered superficial and either requires no treatment or minimal stitching. Should you require stitches the area will be numbed. If all is well with you and your baby, you’ll be busy snuggling your little one while your primary care provider repairs the area.

After birth your bottom will likely be sore, regardless of whether you have stitches or lacerations. You can ease your discomfort by using a perineal bottle (squirt bottles generally supplied by your hospital or midwife) to rinse your vulva while you pee. Rinse the area again after you’re done, and pat gently dry with tissue. You may find ice packs  comforting or, if it feels better, a warm compress.

There are several commercial products available to lessen discomfort as well.  They include numbing sprays, perineum healing sprays, or perineal spray of your choice) and herbal combinations for sitz baths. Talk to your primary care provider about what may work to speed up your own recovery.

If you’re feeling fearful about how perineal tearing may affect your postpartum recovery, talk to your doula or primary care provider. With a little planning for birth and post-birth care, you’ll feel more confident about the process.  Plus, being prepared will help get you back to feeling like yourself faster.  In this case, having more information is a win!

 

 

Do Doulas DO Epidurals?

Epidurals are the most effective way to relieve the discomforts of childbirth.

After numbing the area with local anesthetic, an anesthesiologist inserts a needle into your spinal cord in the mid to lower back. A small tube is then threaded through the needle and into what is called the epidural space. Once the epidural is in place, medication is given through the tube to relieve pain.

There’s this myth floating around that you won't need a doula if you're planning to have an epidural, but that just isn't true. There are so many tasks a doula can attend to, regardless of the pain relief options you desire. 

How can a doula support me if I am planning to have an epidural?

 

A doula is a perfect person to delegate tasks to!

 

epidural

For people that are worried about how they might react to labour, a doula is an experienced assistant. Throughout labour, you can count on your doula to help you stay in control. As your non-judgemental support person, utilize your doula to manage tasks, as needed.

A doula will ensure you are never alone (unless you want to be).

 

Labour can feel lonely. Once you have your epidural, you may feel refreshed and chatty. Having your doula in the room means there is always someone knowledgeable to ask your questions or talk things through with. How about a foot massage while we discuss what a fabulous mother you are going to be?

 

A doula creates security for your partner and encourages a closer connection between you.

 

Partners experience birth, too. When you are comfortable, your partner may be ready for a break. With doula support, they can grab a meal, check in with family, or get a little self-care time without leaving you on your own. Hiring a doula provides security and flexibility for both of you.

Sometimes partners find the process of birth troubling or concerning. It can be distressing to watch someone you love in such an intense state. A doula will be there every step of the way with reassurance and guidance. We love teaching partners how they can better help the birthing person to relax and remain focused.

 

A doula has the answers or knows where to find them.

 

For couples that wish they could just bring their Childbirth Educator into the delivery room, a doula is the answer! You'll get continuous informational support based on reliable studies and credible sources. Your doula can paint a picture of the process in advance, and as your labour progresses. An expert on pregnancy and childbirth, a doula knows exactly where to find the facts you need.

 

Are you planning to utilize epidural pain relief for your baby’s birth? There are so many ways a doula can help you have a more positive birth experience, regardless of your preferences for pain relief. Contact Ottawa Family Doula today to learn more!