Partners and Doulas
The doula works to support both the woman and her partner. She compliments the role of the partner rather than taking away from it or replacing it. Nothing can replace the connection between the woman and her partner, and a doula frees the partner up to offer this loving support. The doula and partner work as a team, enabling the partner to engage with the experience at their comfort level, taking an active role in providing support as and when they feel comfortable. The doula and partner can tag team if the labour is long. This enables the partner to be more rested for the later stages of the birth when key decisions may need to be made, or just to be able to enjoy the baby's arrival.
Supporting a woman to labour and birth normally can be hard physical work. When a woman gives birth, particularly for the first time, her body often requires many hours to stretch and open to bring her baby safely into the world. In many hospitals, the staff team have the responsibility of caring for a number of labouring women at the same time and are not able to provide continuous support to individual women. For a partner working by themselves, supporting the woman is a marathon task, as he does not have the wonderful endorphins provided to the woman by her body, relieving her pain and rendering her unaware of the passage of time. The presence of the Doula enables the partner to participate in the birth at their comfort level. The doula models support techniques for the partner to use and the hard work can be shared according to the couple’s needs and wishes. The doula can prepare food for the partner or provide reminders to the partner to eat and drink. When the partner needs a break to attend to their own needs, they can be assured that the woman will be supported through every contraction by the doula.
The Doula recognizes that no one can fully replace a woman’s partner at the birth because of the unique love connection which exists between them. The emotional support and comfort that the partner can bring to the woman during labour is of a quality no other human being can provide. By doing the physical work of heating up the hot pack, filling the bath, applying counter pressure to your lower back, or taking photos, the doula enables the partner to focus their full energy on providing the woman with this wonderful form of support and attention.
Traveling through birth together in this way is an experience that can bring a couple even closer together, reaffirming their connection and providing an intense memory of the depth of their partnership which can last a lifetime. This is a great way to begin parenthood.
The doula is a member of the birth team rather than a birth support partner, allowing the partner to engage with the process as they feel comfortable. She can tag team with the partner if the labour is long.
The doula can provide the partner with information about what is happening to help address the partner's concerns.
The doula can provide companionship to the partner during the long hours where the woman is concentrating on her labour.