I get a lot of partners asking me what tasks I do during labour, fearing that I will take over and they will be pushed out of the picture. This is simply not true at all. I am there to support both mom and her partner in the labouring process.
Because there is such a strong bond between mom and dad (they did make a baby after all), the woman in labour usually prefers the partner to be her main support. A birth helper’s role is to tend to the birthing person’s needs, reassure, encourage, love, and support her. They are there to hold her and be in awe of how much strength she has. With all of the tasks falling on the shoulders of one person, plus the need to remember breathing techniques, positions, various bits of medical knowledge and questions to ask the nurse, midwife, or doctor, it might be a good idea to share the responsibilities with someone else. This is where a doula can help.
Here are some ways that doulas can help partners have a positive birth experience too:
- Partners don’t have to remember everything from childbirth classes. A doula will remind you!
- Doulas provide everyone with reassurance that they are doing the right thing.
- Doulas suggest things that can be done if they are at a loss or they simply aren’t sure at that moment.
- Doulas take care of tasks outside the room or away from labour so that the partner can stay with the labouring partner. (getting water, warm blankets)
- The doula’s goals are the same as everyone else’s– positive birth experience, healthy mom, healthy baby.
- Doulas help the partner be more involved with the birth.
- Doulas can explain medical interventions that are happening too quickly to be explained by medical professionals.
- Doulas can give support people a break during long labours, to get a bite to eat, or to go to the bathroom.
Doulas not only provide services for the birthing person, they provide services for all support people. Having someone with you, constantly, can make you feel more confident and at ease, and will help you be a better birth partner.