Doulas & Partners
Doulas aren’t just there for mothers; they are
of great service to partners as well.
How do doulas help partners? Great question!
Guilt-free breaks. Stepping in to help when the partner needs a short break. Labor is hard work, not just for the woman but for those supporting her as well.
Helping partners be helpful. Sometimes people want to help but they aren’t sure where to begin OR they feel intimidated by the medical staff going in and out of the room. At The Village Doula our sound experience and knowledge of the medical system will take away the pressure of having to “figure it all out”. In a system that can be confusing and complex— even dangerous when not navigated correctly — we will always empower you to support your laboring partner with confidence.
Grounding the energy of the room. Doulas help to provide a grounded sense of calm to a situation that can sometimes seem chaotic. A doula’s simple presence and reassurance of the process can hugely impact how pregnancy, labor, and beyond are seen, felt, and integrated.
Emotional support. Providing reassurance to the partner as well as the woman giving birth. If a partner has never seen a woman in labor before, it can be very reassuring to have someone focused on his needs to answer questions, give an encouraging smile,
and put everything into context. This is an amazing journey for partners too! Let’s acknowledge it!
Less pressure. With a doula present, the couple will not need to worry about forgetting their birth plans or trying to remember the pros and cons of interventions. They will not need to stop to refer to their wishes should an emergency arise.
Myths about Dads and Doulas
By Penny Simkin, PT
Myth 1: If a woman has her partner, the doula becomes redundant.
Reality: The doula may be the only person at the labor (besides the partner) who is there solely for the emotional well-being of the woman. The nurse, the doctor, and the midwife have other priorities that compete with the emotional care of the woman such as, breaks, shift changes, clinical responsibilities, office hours, and hospital policies. The doula has few or no other priorities. She stays through shift changes and until after the baby is born. She is not just another stranger in the room. She has the woman’s needs as her sole priority. In some cases, the couple will bring several other friends or family members into labor with them. Sometimes these people aren’t sure how to help, which leads to confusion and actually adds to the woman’s stress. The doula can direct and coordinate the efforts of a group of people, giving them all something useful to do, so they work as a team on the woman’s behalf.
Myth 2: The doula “takes over,” displacing the partner and interfering with their intimate experience.
Reality: The doula can actually bring the couple closer. By making sure that the partner’s needs are met e.g., (food, drink, occasional back rubs, and reassurance), the woman and partner can work more closely together. The doula enables the partner to participate at his own comfort level. Some partners prefer to be there only to witness the birth of their child and to share this experience with the woman they love. They may not want to play an active role and may not want to be responsible for the woman’s comfort and emotional security. The doula can fill in and allow the partner to participate as he wishes without leaving the woman’s needs unmet. When the partner chooses to be the major source of emotional support, the doula can supplement his efforts by running errands, making suggestions for comfort measures, and offering words of reassurance and comfort. During a long, tiring labor, she can give the partner a break for a brief rest or change of scene. While the doula probably knows more than the partner about birth, hospitals, and maternity care, the partner knows more about the woman’s personality, likes and dislikes, and needs. Moreover, he loves the woman more than anyone else there. The combined contributions of partner and doula, along with a competent, considerate and caring staff, give the woman the best chance for an optimal outcome.
Myth 3: The doula has her own beliefs about how the birth should go and imposes it on the woman or couple.
Reality: The doula’s true agenda is to help ensure that the woman’s or couple’s agenda is acknowledged and followed as much as possible. If the doula is thoroughly familiar with the couple’s wishes and their birth plan, she may actually think more about it than the couple, especially when labor is intense and things are happening rapidly. The doula can remind the staff or the couple of some items on the birth plan that have been forgotten, but which might be important later. Sometimes if a birth plan is not followed, the couple later looks back with regret or disappointment. The doula helps with decision-making by asking questions to ensure that the right information is given to the woman or couple so that an informed decision can be made. She may also suggest alternatives for the couple to consider. She does not, however, make decisions for the couple.