How Doulas Support Dads and Partners

how doulas support dads and partners

I can’t tell you how many clients I call to follow up with after they use our birth doula services who say, “My husband wasn’t convinced we needed a birth doula, but after delivery he said we could never have done that without her.” Whether you are first time parents, or adding another child to the family, this is a monumental day for mom, but also for dads and partners too. When birth doulas support both parents, everybody wins. 

What is a birth doula?

A birth doula is a childbirth professional who provides physical, informational and emotional support to you and your partner during pregnancy, childbirth and the period of time just after birth. Evidence shows that having a doula present during labor can result in fewer c-sections, less interventions, shorter labors and a more satisfying birth experience.

So, how do doulas support dads and partners during labor and birth?

Your doula can help your partner figure out their desired role.

Some partners want to be very involved, cheer on every single push, help deliver the baby and cut the umbilical cord. Others would prefer to stand further back and bring a loving presence. Each family has their own unique preferences. Doulas help partners determine what their comfort level is and how they can participate in the best way. Talking through this with your doula during your prenatal meeting helps you both to have realistic expectations. 

Your doula will help your partner be a better support person for you.

Labor can be a long and arduous process. Birth doulas are a wealth of knowledge regarding comfort techniques, positioning, coping tips, breathing strategies, and more. Your doula can gently provide tips and suggestions when needed. She can show your partner which technique to use, and how to do it in a helpful way. 

Doulas are there when partners feel frazzled. 

Since she is not as emotionally attached to you as your partner is, your doula can stay focused and calm to help you both. She won’t buckle under the pressure of the delivery room, or freak out if things take an unexpected turn. Highly trained and experienced, doulas understand how to help you both navigate these unpredictable events.

Dads and partners need a break.

Research shows us that people in labor do better when they have continuous support. Even the most hands-on and physically involved partners need a break to go to the bathroom, eat a meal and take a breather. Your doula provides a welcome and needed break for partners, which is especially helpful during long labors.

If complications occur, having doula support can make a big difference.

Every birth is different. C-sections happen and there is a chance your baby may need to be separated from you. Your partner may feel torn between staying with the baby or being by your side. With a doula on your team your partner will have the ability to tend to your newborn, knowing that you will not be left alone. Your doula will always be there for you to keep you comfortable and supported. 

Your partner knows you better than anyone else. 

Yes, you are going to rely heavily on your doula for reassurance and guidance. However, when you are in pain, worried or afraid you will still be looking for the love and strength of your partner. Your partner knows how to speak to you, how to ease your worries and how to make you feel your best. Your doula understands this and will never come between you. She will encourage and foster this bond. The oxytocin generated by your interaction with your partner will only help your labor progress. 

While your partner knows you best, your doula knows birth. Together they make an unbeatable team!

Your partner will always be your rock and your doula will be an invaluable source of support and encouragement for both of you. Even if you and your partner took a childbirth class, there may be times of uncertainty and worry about whether things that are happening are normal or not. The doula will be right there by your side to fill in the blank spaces with information on topics you are not certain about. As changes occur and new information becomes available, she will work to explain things, and help you both feel confident in your decision making.

Your doula is there to empower you and your partner to have a voice.

During labor new parents can feel vulnerable or scared. The authoritative presence of a doctor and hospital staff can add to this. Your doula will always want to know how you and your partner feel about the process. Are you happy with the way things are going? Do you need more information? More time? More options? She will bolster you and your partner so you can speak up and advocate for yourselves. 

Your doula is part of your team and will always make sure your partner knows how important their role is.

A doula is a caring, compassionate birth supporter to both new parents entering the amazing journey of parenthood. She will help create the best birth experience possible, for mom and partner. That’s what a doula does, by definition.

About Christie Collbran

Christie believes in helping women recognize their own inner wisdom, strength and power. Having served as President of the Tampa Bay Birth Network for six years and with ten years serving families as a birth doula, she has a reputation for leadership, dedication and compassion. A childbirth educator, certified lactation counselor as well as a certified doula, she makes a point of ensuring mothers and their partners understand all their birthing options and what to expect on their journey.> keep reading