Posted: Jun 26, 2013 10:00 AM
 
Think dads don't need doulas? Think again. A good doula supports the entire family — not only mom — during labor and birth. Meet dads who thought they didn't need doulas — until they did.

You probably know that doulas support moms during labor, birth and the immediate postpartum period. Do you know doulas also support dads?

If you're thinking of hiring a doula, your partner may be hesitant. My husband and I didn't know much about doulas the first time around (I became a doula after our son was born) and came to the conclusion that if we worked with one, he would have nothing to do. He says, "It was clear a doula would be helpful. I just wasn't sure how I would fit in."

An expert who supports both Mom and Dad

Even after taking childbirth classes, dads can't be expected to know everything about the process (even though they may think they do!) and it's very different supporting your wife in labor, seeing her in pain even though birth is a normal, natural process. A doula can reassure your partner that everything is OK when labor gets challenging.

At every step of the way, our doula helped with the comfort measures and practical suggestions for how to make the birth go smoother.

Sean is a dad who felt well prepared after attending childbirth classes, "but when my wife hit transition, I was totally at a loss for how to really help her — and be present," he says. "At every step of the way, our doula helped with comfort measures and practical suggestions for how to make the birth go smoother."

Charlie is a dad who found comfort with a doula, too. He says, "She also gently and tactfully clarified where to go and what to do when I felt clumsy or in the way — or clarified {my wife's} desires when, for the life of me, I couldn't figure it out — and allowed me to be present for {her} and for our children." He adds, “I'd strongly suggest having the conversation with your partner about what doulas do and don't do, and then look for one that will guide you through your choices."

A helpful voice when you get tired of hearing your husband's

One thing I was sure of — my wife had a tendency to doubt me if I say the sky is blue but completely accept it from another person.

I mentioned my husband and I didn't have a doula for our first labor. Lesson learned. "One thing I was sure of — my wife has a tendency to doubt me if I say the sky is blue but completely accept it from another person," he explains. "If I say 'breathe,' she'd be more likely to yell 'don't tell me to breathe!' (I admit I did this during labor the first time!) while a doula saying the same thing would be met with a quiet 'OK' and proper breathing. I knew a doula was necessary."

She was. We ended up having two doulas for the birth of our second son, and I listened to both of them.

Even if you're not as stubborn as me, a doula will also give your husband a break if he needs one and they can make a great tag team to help you stay comfortable during labor. Good luck!

Read more about doulas

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Pick the perfect doula
Should your parents be in the delivery room?

Topics: doula