The Partner & Doula Team
Some families struggle with understanding how a doula will fit into their birth. Will she take over? Push the partner to the backseat? It can be difficult to determine if professional labor support is right for your family as you look toward the unknown experience of birth. I ask each partner what level of support he/she plans to provide during labor and delivery. Some partners want to offer physical, verbal, and emotional support. Other partners are more comfortable providing emotional support only. These are both valid levels of support. I strive to fill in the gaps for each family, and help to "smooth out the rough edges" for a more positive birth experience.
I can offer the partner assistance to incorporate childbirth education knowledge and personal preferences into the reality of the birth room. I can assist with guidance for specific positions and techniques suited to different stages of labor. Many partners find the reassurance provided by a doula's presence invaluable. Labor and delivery can be an overwhelming experience. Having a doula who is comfortable in the hospital, understands labor and delivery, breaks down medical language into layman's terms, and helps facilitate questions can prove helpful for partners
Partners who plan to do the majority of hands-on labor support can benefit from doula support. In this scenario the partner is in the forefront and the doula is in the background. She steps in when needed to provide gentle support and guidance. Labor is often long and taxing, and having an additional support person can allow the partner time to take a restroom break, eat, and update family.
Some partners plan to share labor support equally with their doula. The partner and doula trade off providing hands-on help, verbal encouragement, and caring support. In this scenario the doula and partner will work in tandem to meet the laboring woman's needs. This allows for both partner and doula to take breaks, eat, update family, and rest as needed.
taking a step back
Partners who plan to take a less active labor support role can benefit from a doula. A partner may have personal reasons for providing less hands-on assistance, or he/she may have a specific reason which restricts their active participation (i.e. religious constraints, medical conditions). The partner will provide primary emotional support to the labor woman. The doula will provide hands-on support with physical comfort measures and verbal encouragement. This allows the partner to participate in the birth at their own comfort level. There is no replacement for the love and support a partner provides a laboring woman.