January 30, 2016 by Stacie Green
Dads & Doulas
Pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period are all huge times of adjustment, and take a lot of getting used to. It doesn’t matter whether you are expecting your first child, or your sixth, things still challenge, and change drastically, and in so many ways. It seems that with every child, it is always different as well as to what those changes are and how they come about?
We often hear so much, about how a doula can help support a mother during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Doulas are great at this and can do so much, and offer so much to the pregnant mom to be and/or the new mom, but what else can a doula do? As doulas, we offer so much more support that goes way beyond that of just the mom. We actually can extend our support to many.
While the mothers are deserving of the best support we can possibly provide to them, doulas are wonderful at offering and providing support to the dads and the partners as well. They need our support as well. And they definitely benefit from our support.
A doula isn’t only present to support the birthing woman, but to support the whole family unit as a whole. Becoming a parent, whether it is for the first time, or the tenth time, is a big deal, and a huge day for everyone. Not just for the mom, but for the dad or partner as well. It is such an exciting time, and such a special time, and we want to make it as memorable as we possibly can for everyone. When everyone involved feels supported, it is such a good thing for everyone filled with the best memories possible. Also, by providing support to the dad, a doula helps him to support the laboring mother too.
Since the dad isn’t the one going through childbirth, how can a doula benefit him? There are so many ways a doula can help the dad feel supported during childbirth. From assistance, to emotional support, we can help with it all. A doula does not replace a birthing mother’s partner at all. It’s quite the opposite. She is there to guide and support the mother through the childbirth process. She is a part of the team…a true asset, not a replacement.
Here are some ways a doula can benefit dads and partners:
- One of the best ways to support a birthing woman is to help build her confidence in her ability to give birth. By doing this, a doula must show her confidence in the birthing process. During prenatal visits, a doula educates the parents about childbirth and the different options to help build their confidence in the whole process, and also about listening to their “gut” feeling. It is a great thing when a doula supports all types of birth, and can help the birthing couple in the decision making of what kind of birth they desire to have. A doula builds a strong relationship with both the mom and the dad. Since the dad feels supported and has learned all of this information, and he feels well informed, he will feel more confident in supporting the laboring mother, and be comforted by knowing a labor support professional will be right there to guide them every step of the way.
- A doula can help give you suggestions during labor and delivery. If you have tried certain comfort measures and they have not worked, a doula will be able to help you to figure out other comfort measures that may work. Doulas have a lot of different ways to help in different situations as well. This is very comforting to the partner to know she is right there to help.
- Sometimes, labor can last a long time. A doula can offer that constant care if the partner needs to go get something to eat, needs a break, or maybe he has been up for hours and he needs a nap. It is good to know that the mom isn’t being left alone at all, and that someone is with her that you know and trust.
- A doula comes prepared. We have all kinds of things in our doula bag, from Alieve for us and the dad, to snacks, to things to help the mom throughout the labor and delivery of the baby. A doula will have honey sticks for energy, chapstick for dry lips and so much more.
- This to me is the most important thing about dads and doulas. In that room, at the moment the mom is going through labor and delivery, the dad is the one in that room that loves the mom like no other. Having a doula allows the dad to participate in the birth of his child at his comfort level, and to be completely, and emotionally supportive of the mom, as that is so important and she is going to need that so much, and the physical part is so important as well, but with a doula, there is someone else there to help assist with that part of it.