April is recognized as Cesarean Awareness Month. And with as many as 1 in 3 births ending in cesarean in the United States, it’s an important topic to cover. And as a Fort Collins birth doula, it’s a subject I feel very passionately about.

First, let me say this. All births matter. Your baby is beautiful. And your body is strong. If you’ve had a cesarean, I applaud you and I honor your birth story. I am not a judgemental person and I will NEVER make you feel less than for how your birth turned out. In fact, I hope you can feel proud of your birth no matter how your baby is born.  Whether it went the way you wanted or not, the important thing is you did what you had to for your baby. This is a completely safe space and I am here for all parents, no matter what. 

And as a Fort Collins birth doula, there is no birth that I’ve ever attended that wasn’t beautiful in some way. Women+ are powerful and capable and so strong, even in the face of unwanted outcomes. 

Doulas Help Avoid Cesarean
While every birth absolutely matters, it’s also in our collective best interest to reduce the cesarean rates in our country so babies and moms can experience better birth outcomes, especially for those that do not want a cesarean birth and prefer a vaginal birth. According to DONA.org, “Depending on the study or review, doulas have been shown to reduce cesareans by anywhere from 28 percent (Hodnett et al., 2012) to 56 percent (Kozhimannil et al., 2016) for full-term births.”

As a doula and someone trained in birth, it’s my honor to help birthing persons experience birth in a supportive, safe, and healthy environment. The main way I help you lessen your chance of a cesarean is with evidence and fact-based education prior to birth, continuous bedside support during birth, and recommending laboring positions that help for optimal fetal positioning. And I’m there to help you with relaxation and comfort so your stress levels remain as low as possible (your partners, too). I’ll support you through the birth process and help you labor productively to avoid the necessity of surgical birth. 

In the instance of a second baby, I can support you with a VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean) if that’s what you want. We’ll work together to create birth preferences and a solid birth team that will give you the best chance to accomplish this goal and I’ll support you every step of the way. 

Doulas Role in a Cesarean
But let me be clear – some amount of cesareans are necessary and I fully support that birth method when it’s the best for you and baby. I’m not medical and don’t pretend to be, so I’m not here to get in the way of your medical care. 

With that being said, let’s talk about the role of a doula during a cesarean birth, whether it’s planned or not. As your Fort Collins birth doula, I am here to help you:

  • Through the whole process – explaining every step to you and your partner, as well as help you advocate for your needs. And in Northern Colorado, I will even be in the operating room with you and your partner to support you and take photos of that sweet baby, too. 
  • After the baby is born, I will stay by the laboring person’s side to make sure you’re comfortable and informed. If your baby is unable to be with you for any moment this helps partners feel more comfortable being with the baby instead of having to choose who to support.
  • And after the surgery, I’ll be there to help you through recovery which can include breastfeeding support and lots more. I usually stay with you for at least 1-2 hours after your baby is born. I’ll make sure you are settled before I leave the hospital. 

So this month, let’s honor all birthing people – no matter how the baby is born. All parents are miraculous and your body is stronger than you know. Let’s not shame parents for how their birth concluded, let’s not be embarrassed about how we labored or gave birth, and let’s work together to do better – support parents better, get better birth outcomes, and reduce cesareans as we can. 

If you have any questions or want to learn about my Fort Collins birth doula services, please reach out today.