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Doulas and Dads...what is the difference?

Let me start this conversation by telling you that when we first heard of a doula, my husband was not having it. At. All. He assumed that having a doula would completely take over his role in the birth of our son. It was his job to support me through labor and he was not about to give that up to someone else.

 

I’m thankful for my husband’s desire to play an active role during the birthing process. Just a few decades ago, men were pacing the floor of the waiting room while their wife delivered with strangers around them. I think everyone is thankful that this is no longer our typical scenario. 

Men today are frequently actively participating in supporting their partner in the birthing room. 

 

As a doula, our main focus is supporting the mother, however, our support also extends to dad. What does the doula/dad relationship look like in the birthing room?

 

 

Physical Support 

 

A well-trained doula provides excellent physical support to the laboring mother to provide pain relief or position suggestions to help labor progress/baby descend. 

 

We are the hands-on and ever present source of knowledge and wisdom when it comes to all things birth. Dad’s often have limited birth experience, but they are usually a great source of strength and comfort to mom. Oftentimes a dad wants to help mom, but has no clue how. This is where a good doula can step in because we know how to support a laboring woman. We often will show dad just how to help when they want to be involved. We love showing them techniques and equipping them to support mom— and mom’s love a helpful partner!

 

A doula knows birth, but dad’s know mom. Together the two make a perfect team to give mom the support she needs during labor and the birth of the baby. 

 

 

 

 

An experienced doula also provides necessary emotional support not only to mom, as we comfort and encourage her, but also for dad who may feel uneasy. Having someone there who is comfortable with birth and knows the process can sometimes be so comforting to dad who feels like someone is staying by their side throughout the journey. This is the WONDERFUL thing about having a doula. They stay with you and there with the sole purpose of supporting you. Doctors, nurses, and midwives are all comfortable with the process of birth, but they have other patients and tasks to attend to. They aren’t able to hold your hand, so to speak, throughout the process. A doula does. We are there to listen and encourage. We have heard from so many dad’s who tell us that just having us there boosted his confidence in the labor room because someone who knows birth was calm and comfortable and that helped him feel calm and comfortable in return. 

 

 

And lastly, labor is hard work- not only for mom but also for dad! The physical and emotional toll it takes on him can be overwhelming, but is is far less so with a doula by your side. Need to step out for a bathroom break, but feel terrible about leaving mom to labor alone? Cue doula. Been up for 32 hours and need a quick power nap but feel guilty about sleeping while mom labors? Cue doula. Need a quick snack and a shot of coffee to keep going yourself but again don’t want to feel like you’re not there for mom? Cue the doula!  

 

When dads and doulas come together to support a mom, we create a very powerful support system that combines knowledge, emotional support, and physical support for optimum success. Dads- you play a crucial role during labor and delivery- let us help you be a rockstar birth partner!

 

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