What to expect if you have a c-section:
Before the Surgery:
During the Surgery
1. Bikini cut: horizontal incision on the lower abdomen right above pubic bone (making a VBAC a possibility for your next birth)
2. Vertical cut: only made in extreme emergencies, higher and longer to effect a more rapid delivery
Husbands and doulas are often allowed to be present at a c-section, if they have attended the hospital class. This policy at Bloomington Hospital depends entirely on the doctor or midwife's discretion, so please ask.
In the Recovery Room
After the incision is repaired, you'll be taken to recovery (for about one hour unless there are complications.)
At this point, you'll want lots of reassurance about your baby, who probably is with Dad, being looked at by a pediatrician. You'll also want warm blankets. There's no kind of cold like a post-section, teeth-chattering, chilled-to-the-bones cold.You also may be hungry and thirsty. Ask your female servant to fetch you something to eat and drink!
Your baby may be sleepy at first depending on the medications used, especially if a general anesthesia was given.
C-section babies don’t “pink up” quite as quickly as those born vaginally, but they tend to have prettier heads since they have not been “squashed” through the birth canal.
Once in the room
Ask for assistance as needed.
Hold a pillow over your incision to cough.
Some women think doulas are great for other women who are planning to have a natural childbirth, but aren't really needed for c-section births. Ridiculous! Any woman giving birth should have a female servant of her own, to reassure her, let her know what is going on, and pray for her.
Here are ways a doula can help you through the birth of your baby:
Physical Comfort Techniques:
These techniques are used to help physically relax mom during the surgery, birth and repair.
• Massage and other forms of touch, especially to scalp, face, neck, shoulders and hands
• Heat and cold to face and neck, as needed and as allowed by surgical staff
• Breathing (slow, steady and varied)
• Facilitating skin-to-skin contact and bonding between mom and baby, possibly even during the repair
• Assistance with breastfeeding/positioning after surgery
• Continuous presence with sole focus on supporting mom and dad
• Verbal encouragement
• Acknowledgement of her strength and the physical work her body has done during pregnancy
• Keep mom informed of what’s happening to her baby and body during the surgery
• Emotional and Mental “Goalposts” – work through fears/concerns of birth, and provide support to
acknowledge and move forward through memories of previous births
• Reframe thoughts, fears and feelings during the birth (turn doubtful/negative statements and words
into words of faith and hope)
• Meditations pointing the birthing Mama back to Christ
• Distraction through mental activities
• Focal points
• Listening to the story of the birth and helping to tell it in a God-glorifying way
• Educate mom and partner about risks/benefits of cesarean birth
• Discuss breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact and bonding after the birth
• Suggestions for making surgical birth as gentle and comfortable as possible for mom and baby
• Recommended reading for VBAC/Cesarean information
• VBAC/Cesarean support groups
• prayer for your pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery
• encouragement from Holy Scripture throughout pregnancy and birth
• on-going reminders of the sufficiency of God in all circumstances