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3 Reasons Dads Need Doulas Too!

Posted on November 6th, 2013 by | 13 views

The faithfully supportive birth partner: you have attended childbirth classes, visited with the baby belly every day,  pampered the mother-goddess to her heart’s content and managed to get that tricky nursery furniture assembled. You are overjoyed with the coming of your child and you love his mother to the moon and back. What more could any pregnant mama ask for? Then, Mom says, “I want a doula.”

A partner’s first reaction may be worry that he will be replaced, that Mom doesn’t trust him, or that having more people present will ruin the intimacy of the birthing. The truth is that Dad’s loving presence is reassuring and comforting to the mother. Only he can provide the instinctual protection and nurturing that is so necessary for the new family.  But it can be stressful to experience all the activity and emotions that go on during labor. The doula’s role is to support the parent relationship and encourage the partner to contribute to birthing at a level he is most comfortable with. Studies prove that with the presence of a doula dads are less likely to pull away as a reaction to stress and instead stay more involved during this most miraculous occasion.

Why Dads need Doulas too:

1. You will look like a super hero. It’s easy to care for a pregnant woman; you had nine months to perfect it and chances are Mom was pretty direct about what she did and did not like. Caring for a laboring woman however can be a bit tricky if it’s a new experience for you. She will probably not be acting like her usual self and may not be very verbal with her requests. A doula is well versed in the course of labor and has lots of experience reading comfort cues. She will be the little angel on your shoulder giving you the suggestions to help Mom cope. Consider her your private behind the scenes labor coach and don’t feel shy about taking all the credit with Mom.

2. You are amazing, but you can’t do it all. You might be applying counter pressure to your partner’s lower back while your doula keeps a cool cloth on her head. Your doula may be arranging childcare for your older children while you walk the block with your partner. You may be having an intimate moment somewhere quiet, holding laboring Mom’s hand while your doula tidies your home and folds some laundry. There are so many scenarios during labor when your doula can be extremely helpful and there are many degrees to the level of her involvement. Also, we say labor is like a marathon for Mom, but it can be pretty draining on the whole birth team; some labors last 24 hours or longer. It’s great to have someone fill in while you catch a power nap, grab a bite to eat and use the restroom.

3. You will need a labor interpreter. Even if you took meticulous notes during childbirth class, read all the maternity material you could get your hands on or have been through birth with a previous child, your doula could kick your butt at labor trivia. She lives, breathes and sleeps all things pregnancy, labor and birth. Can’t remember what eases back labor? Not sure what the risks and benefits are of pitocin? Is it normal for Mom to vomit during labor? Your doula knows the answer to all of these and is familiar with the process and language of labor. She will know the hospital procedures and protocols and can advocate for you and your partner’s birth wishes. Your doula also knows what a woman’s instinctual birth behavior sounds and looks like which can be very unusual and sometimes frightening to dads. Having a skilled and knowledgeable birth doula present can allow an anxious dad to relax and bring a sense of calm to a situation that can be difficult to navigate alone.

The father’s role in labor and delivery has changed into a much more hands-on experience than what it used to be. Partners now can be expected to ease labor pain, welcome the baby at the moment of birth and help care for the newborn at home; whereas just decades ago the norm was quite the opposite. Hiring a doula can help expectant fathers experience these moments with confidence and be apart of the event in a very memorable way.

* * Embracing Labor is a team of San Diego labor support offering Birth & Postpartum Doulas, Childbirth Education, Lactation Counceling, Placenta Incapsulation and Prenatal Massage. Visit to learn more, receive free education and a complimentary consultation.

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