I get a lot of dads 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 dad 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 dad to be her main support. A dad’s role is to tend to the woman’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 dad.
Here are some ways that doulas can help dads have a positive birth experience too:
- Dads don’t have to remember everything from childbirth classes. A doula will remind you!
- Doulas provide dad and mom with reassurance that they are doing the right thing.
- Doulas suggest things dads can do 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 mom so that dad can stay with her. (getting water, warm blankets)
- The doula’s goals are the same as dad’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 dad a break during long labours, to get a bite to eat, or to go to the bathroom.
Doulas not only provide services for the mother, they provide services for the couple. Having someone with you, constantly, can make you feel more confident and at ease, and will help you be a better birth partner.