To round out The DONA Doula Chronicle’s posts for Cesarean Awareness Month, we have compiled a list of resources for doulas and our clients about cesareans, doula support for these births and, since many cesareans are repeat cesareans, resources on vaginal birth after cesarean. While this collection is not complete, of course, we hope it will provide a good resource collection for doulas supporting families birthing via cesarean. Know of other resources? Please add them in the comments!
Doulas & Cesareans
The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) has an article on their blog written by a certified doula on the value of doula support for a planned cesarean: http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2015/03/world-doula-week-a-doula-at-a-cesarean-birth/
ICAN also offers an article on doulas, entitled “Professional Labor Support,” available for download and distribution to clients, students and providers. While focused on the role of doulas in general, the document specifically mentions that mothers planning cesareans and VBACs can benefit from doulas. The writer shares her experience using a doula for her vaginal birth after two cesareans, including a quote from her husband on the support he received from their doula.
“A Doula Can Reduce Your Odds of a Cesarean” is available at vbac.com, as well as links to research showing that women supported by doulas have fewer interventions, including cesareans. This article also provides a good overview of doulas as well.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) issued a joint statement last year, “Obstetric Care Consensus: Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery.” The paper states that one of the most effective tools available to reduce the cesarean rate is doula support.
Cesarean Birth Resources
The Truth about C-Sections, a five minute video by renowned birth researcher Eugene Declerq, PhD, is a quick but comprehensive overview dispelling myths about what is driving the c-section rate in the United States.
For a more expanded video on this topic, Birth by the Numbers: Myth and Reality Concerning US Cesareans is a video lecture with visuals by Dr. Declerq lasting just over 20 minutes.
“What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know About Cesarean Section” is a 14 page booklet from Childbirth Connection published in 2012.
ICAN offers a reading list on their website useful for both doulas and our clients. Included are books on recovery after a cesarean, collections of stories of women who have had cesareans and chronicles of women who advocated for a VBAC.
The Evidence for Skin-to-Skin Care after a Cesarean is an excellent resource from Evidence Based Birth that outlines the value of skin-to-skin care in general and research specific to skin-to-skin after a c-section.
VBAC Specific Resources
While most c-sections are primary cesareans, about 25% of all c-sections are repeat surgical births. Supporting women who are seeking a VBAC requires unique considerations and preparedness for doulas. In this case, the mother’s past birth experience is a significant factor in her preparation for her next birth.
ACOG offers a brief VBAC Frequently Asked Questions document for patients which clearly states that mothers who have birthed via cesarean have a choice in how they have their next baby.
In 2010, ACOG released a Practice Bulletin specifically about VBAC which states that women with one or two previous cesareans, including those carrying twins, are candidates for a trial of labor:
“Making Informed Decisions About VBAC or Repeat Cesareans” from vbac.com is an evidence-based article, updated just last month, that outlines what women should know about VBAC and a strong list of resources for additional information helpful to doulas and families, including a Lamaze International webinar.