You found out your partner’s pregnant, congratulations! You’re excited, nervous, and probably a little scared; she’s got a big pile of books she’s reading and has joined all the birth boards, but you’re not sure what that means for you. You’ve probably never been to a birth, and you might not be sure what she’s going to expect you to do. Don’t worry, Dad, your doula has your back.
Fathers-to-be are in a unique position; they are worried about their baby and their partner, but unsure what to expect and what to do. Having a doula takes some of the pressure off of you. Instead of you trying to remember everything from your childbirth class, a doula will make suggestions, remind you of the tips/techniques you learned and help you be as helpful as you can be.
Doulas never come between a couple, in fact, some studies show that with a doula present, a dad may to be more hands-on. The reassurance that you won’t make things worse can be a big deal when you are dealing with a loved one in distress. Often just the confirmation that what’s going on is normal can encourage you when you’re worried.
Of course, no matter how big, strong, loving, and prepared you are, you’re going to have to take breaks – bathroom, food, rest. Part of our job is to ensure that you’re taking care of yourself so that you are at your best. We tell you when it’s a good time to step out and we are there so your partner isn’t alone. You should be planning to bring snacks in your bag, but your partner might not want to see you eating them! Doulas will promise to call you back if anything happens so you can step out and get a quick snack or a good meal; you’re no help to your partner if you faint from hunger!
There are plenty of other ways that a doula supports the father-to-be almost as much as the laboring mama, like keeping relatives informed (or at bay), a quick shoulder rub, demonstrating techniques and more. An involved dad is an important part of a great birth, and that’s what we all want.