A doula is a wonderful addition to your birth team. The doula is not there to replace your partner, mother, mother-in-law, best friend or sister. Our role is to be well integrated on the birth team and facilitate everyone on the birth team being on the same page.
When it comes to your partner, a doula can help your overall experience as a couple, thus creating a more intimate, memorable and positive birth experience. Below are some strategies the doula may employ with the Dad to enrich the overall labor journey.
1. Comfort Techniques Hands-on:
Your doula will work with you and your partner to demonstrate to him hands on how and where to massage you while you are in labor. She will experiment with the both of you prenatally so that you can try various positions and techniques before labor day. Your doula will show your partner appropriate amounts of pressure to apply and encourage him to be gentle.
2. Love Language for a Laboring Mom:
Dads often struggle with finding the language to encourage their partner while she is in labor. I've even seen them keeping their distance with a terrified look on their face. They feel like they don't know what to do or what to say. The doula's job is to bring the dad into the process. She coaches and encourages him on what to say. She encourages him to advocate for his wife while she is in labor. She gives him things to say that will help his wife focus on delivering their baby.
3. Mutual Understanding and Perspective:
Especially for first time parents, the trials and tribulations of adjusting to pregnancy, birth and newborn parenting presents a myriad of obstacles that the couple must face. The doula spends much more time with the couple than the midwife or Ob. The doula sees the couple in their natural environment at home. She has an insight on the couple that many other providers do not. When the couples face obstacles such as work schedules, family integration, hormone fluctuations, body image, etc, the doula can provide the couple with perspective and mutual understanding. She can help give the couple tools that will help them resolve common relationship challenges ultimately leading to higher relationship success.
4. Tag Team on Labor Day:
A first time mom can labor for 24 hours. Labor can be extremely long. It's great for a couple to have a doula because Dad will inevitably have to use the restroom, rest and eat. The doula is there to allow for him to be away and rest his mind knowing that his partner is still being cared for.