Time to bust a common myth about doulas; doulas do not replace partners in the birth space. Are you a mom or a partner who needs a little more convincing? Let’s break it down then! Here’s a handful of reasons why doulas don’t replace partners, and can in fact help them be more present in the birth space!
(1) Okay partner, you know all those childbirth education classes you went to during mamma’s pregnancy? Do you remember everything they told you about early labor signs, when to go to the hospital, positions for back labor or what kind of words to use when she is in active labor? It’s okay, there’s a lot to be learned in this new transition into parenthood and you’re not expected to remember everything. As for birth doulas, we breathe, eat, and sleep all those things they teach you in childbirth classes. We also have training and certifications and hours of education and studying that helps us remember all those things that may slip your mind. This can bring a lot of comfort to families.
(2) You get a teammate! There’s no doubt that labor and birth can be exhausting for moms, but it can also be taxing on the partners as well. You may get only a few hours or even minutes of sleep, you may be active and on your feet the whole time, you might not always get chances to eat or use the restroom, and your emotions will probably be all over the place during the experience of your baby being born. A doula can relieve dad or partner at any time during the labor process. For example, doulas often bring bags full of snacks not just for mom, but to keep dad full and energized as well! If we see a dad/partner getting tired we can offer to give labor support for a while so he/she is able to take some to rest and re-energize. Doulas advocate for the moms, and their partners as well!
(3) Doulas can offer a sense of comfort and support during a time that can have your emotions feeling a little bit scattered. Doulas are trained to have a calm and relaxed nature to them, especially when they are in the birth room with a family. They can be someone to lean on when you feel like you could use some comforting.
(4) Someone to help facilitate and respect the birth plan. Often during birth, the mother, partner, and even medical staff can get focused and caught up in the birthing process. A doula is someone who can pay attention to those sometimes missed or forgotten things such as delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin when baby is born, dad helping catch the baby, etc. The mother and her partner most likely picked these elements for their birth plan because it was important to them and a doula can make sure those things happen when everyone else is focused on your baby entering the world (as they should be).
Hopefully this has answered some of your questions about doula support and their role in your birth space. The main goal for doulas is to facilitate a birth experience that aligns with your wishes and hopes of bringing your sweet babe into the world. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the ABC staff.