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Natural Birth & Parenting Natural Birth & Parenting

Dads and doulas

Posted by on Apr. 21, 2011 at 11:41 PM
  • 12 Replies

This is something that my doula has posted on her website.


Dads and doulas

A father’s role in birth is very important.  As Rose St. John says in her book, Fathers At Birth:

No one other than the mother is more personally and profoundly affected by the baby's birth than you are. As the mother's lover and the baby's father, you are connected to them like no other. Your role- to provide stability and refuge-is unique to you.

Your presence profoundly influences your partner and how she navigates through labor. As a vigilant attendant, you offer your partner tremendous refuge and have the power to alter how labor and birth unfold.

Because the man's role can make such a critical difference, it is important men have access to the preparatory attention they need to fulfill their role. 
 
 
Doulas support and enhance the relatively new but vitally important role of a father’s increased involvement in the birth of his child.  The father-to-be is expected to understand the process and language of birth and hospital protocol, and be able to advocate for his partner and protect her in an environment which is usually as unfamiliar to him as to his partner.  There is also often an expectation that he know how and be able to emotionally and physically support his partner throughout her labor.  A doula can provide the information needed by parents to make informed decisions and help dad to better and more comfortably provide the support mom needs from him.  She can also facilitate communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her medical care providers.   

 
Dad may not understand a woman’s instinctive behavior during childbirth and may become unsure and anxious by her actions or her obvious discomfort.  A father's instinctive response is to try to protect her and take away her pain.  The doula is able to support this innate desire and enhance a father’s involvement, at whatever level he is comfortable, by providing reassurance and guidance to him. She is able to make suggestions about what kind of physical support measures may work best and how he can be involved.  She also can run errands for the couple, get him something to drink, or give the father a much needed bathroom/dinner break/nap.  
 
 
The process of labor and birth are time of dramatic change and transition for the father.  A mother has been becoming just that, a mother, since she knew she was pregnant.  For fathers the actual birth of their child tends to be a defining moment.  He will likely have his own strong emotional experiences during the labor process as he prepares to take on the new roles of father, provider and protector of his newborn child.  Fathers benefit from a doula's presence and reassurance of their own personal experience while encouraging and helping them to support the mother.  


Some fathers want to be involved in every aspect of the birth process, from massaging his partner’s back and feet, to supporting her leg or back while pushing, to catching the baby.  Others, while just as supportive and no less loving, find it difficult to fill the role of “labor coach.”  A doula is able to help the father navigate this uncharted territory and help him feel more relaxed and confident, no matter his degree of participation.  Ultimately, the doula will base her own level of involvement on the wishes and desires of both the mother and father, being more or less present and involved as needed.
by on Apr. 21, 2011 at 11:41 PM
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Replies (1-10):
truealaskanmom
by on Apr. 21, 2011 at 11:48 PM

BUMP!

HamBergerMama
by on Apr. 22, 2011 at 1:12 AM
Thanks! I think I shall e mail this to dh:-)
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doulala
by Gold Member on Apr. 22, 2011 at 1:56 AM

:-)
Thank you!

I have some old posts on here somewhere, too.     It's great to remember the reason we use doulas!

Pandapanda
by on Apr. 22, 2011 at 3:29 AM
Dads need support in labor, too!
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rachelrothchild
by Silver Member on Apr. 22, 2011 at 10:15 AM

BUMP

I know some people who wouldn't agree that the father's role is important, but I think he is important.

AmazingGrace85
by on Apr. 22, 2011 at 10:46 AM
I totally got teary eyed! Lol (pregnancy hormones!) i am totally gonna read this to hubby when he gets home from work :) at this point he is like 'well idk what to do in there...i dont wanna SEE ur you know what while pushing out the baby' but i honestly think his opinion will completely change come due day. Hes agreed to be supportive and help me best he can and hold a leg (if im on my back for pushing) but doesnt wanna be right down there watching the whole thing. I want a mirror down there so that i can see because i really wanna have that experiance but im afraid it will freak him out because hell be able to see it all lol
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Raeann11
by on Apr. 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Yes they do

Quoting Pandapanda:

Dads need support in labor, too!


Roadfamily6now
by on Apr. 22, 2011 at 1:33 PM

As a Doula, I get most of my THANK YOU's from the Fathers. :)

doulala
by Gold Member on Apr. 22, 2011 at 1:47 PM


Quoting AmazingGrace85:

I totally got teary eyed! Lol (pregnancy hormones!) i am totally gonna read this to hubby when he gets home from work :) at this point he is like 'well idk what to do in there...i dont wanna SEE ur you know what while pushing out the baby' but i honestly think his opinion will completely change come due day. Hes agreed to be supportive and help me best he can and hold a leg (if im on my back for pushing) but doesnt wanna be right down there watching the whole thing. I want a mirror down there so that i can see because i really wanna have that experiance but im afraid it will freak him out because hell be able to see it all lol

Well nobody needs to be down there watching!
I hope you aren't on your back to labor~~
It really is nice to have someone to help the dad better support the mom, to give him a break, and to offer another perspective than just the medical staff's.

  • Doulas mother the mother.       :-)
  • Every woman who wants a doula should have one!      :-)
  • If you don't know your options you don't have any.      ~Korte & Scaer
  • If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.    -John H. Kennell, MD
  • Women's strongest feelings (in terms of their birthings), positive and negative, focus on the way they were treated by their caregivers.       ~Annie Kennedy & Penny Simkin
  • labor is not about dilation.  Your body knows how to give birth whether or not you have a pelvic exam during labor.  Birthing women need encouragement to trust their bodies, and to be the stars of their own labors.     ~The Doula Guide to Birth

jazacher
by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 10:35 PM

I have to read this book. I wanted my hubby to be involved, forced him to Bradley classes and still he was a butt for our now 4.5 YO. Ok fine. We just had twins and the dork sat there and barely moved when I, my mom and my doula asked him to come hold my hand. Some guys are just not cut out for childbirth. He almost passed out at the beginning delivery but recovered enough to hold our 1st twin and my mom got to cut the cord for the 2nd as she was there for the birth of both. I feel abandoned so hopefully she has some insight as to how to get over it.

 

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