Doulas and partners are a dream team when it comes to birth support. Some women say they aren't sure why they would need or want another person who isn't their partner because their partner is so supportive.
Others wonder why you might want to have someone outside of the partner dyad present the day you give birth. To that, I encourage birthers and partners to consider a doula as another care provider - not a healthcare one, but a professional nonetheless. Doulas are trained to care for birthing people the ways they need.
Having a doula present is very different from having your mom, sister, friend, or anyone else there. It's even different from having the midwives and nurses who, although helpful and caring, are not able to devote the same amount of time to holding space and encouraging your unique labor vibes as a doula. Consider a doula as one more essential part of your birth team. A doula supports the birthing person and supports the partner. Here are 8 ways how doulas support the primary birth partner:
1. WhatsApp support
Doulas are there for the birth partner to reach out to during early labor and also during the postpartum time in the hospital. Whether via message, video, or voice message, partners can ask any questions they have about supporting the birther, handling everything, and infant care. They can ask questions on behalf of the birthing person or ask questions to help them get information and feel calmer.
2.Encouraging/making it possible to rest
Without a doula, the partner is the only person there to sustain the birthing person. All comfort, understanding, and physical and mental care fall on the partner. With a doula, the partner can also take time to rest, eat meals, and recover mid-way during long births so they can be 100% supportive, aware, and there for the birthing person. Doulas encourage partners to take a break when needed while simultaneously ensuring that the birthing person always has support. The birthing person will never be alone and the partner will not feel alone in having all birth support falling on them.
3. Helping remember previously discussed plans
During the labor and birth, it's easy to quickly forget everything you've already planned for or thought about. This is especially true when it's the first time you're seeing and experiencing the birth experience as a partner. Birth is energetically draining and requires full attention - this means some previously discussed plans and ideas may not be at the forefront of the mind. A doula will have these plans, hopes, and desires documented and will be there to remind you of them. Something as simple as remembering to put on birth music playlists or change positions may not be remembered during the intensity of labor. Doulas support partners by reminding them of the plans and options that were agreed upon during the weeks leading up to the birth.
4. Coping with seeing the birthing person in pain and discomfort
The realities of labor may come as shock to partners and even though they often prepare for it as much as possible, they don't know how they'll react during labor itself. When the birthing person is in pain and discomfort, it's easy for the partner to become discouraged or even a little frightened and unsure of how to provide support. Doulas provide a soothing voice reminding partners of what's normal and how they can help. Doulas help partners find their center and cope with the intensity of what the birthing person is experiencing without letting it overwhelm them.
5. Extra support getting from home to the hospital
Practically, doulas help with the transition to the hospital in a big way. If driving to the hospital, the doula can sit in the back with the birthing person, providing continued support every step of the way. If going by taxi, the doula can call the taxi. Doulas and partners can work together to split support and getting bags ready, checking in at the front desk, and any other things that come up as you make your way to the hospital.
6. Giving ideas for how to help the birthing person cope
Doulas can offer suggestions and ideas for ways to help the birthing person find a new rhythm or maintain one that is working well. Doulas can show partners massage techniques and suggest alternative coping methods based on what was discussed while planning for the birth.
7. Setting up the birth space and setting the tone at home and the hospital
While the partner is taking care of the logistics of getting checked into the hospital and is supporting the birthing person, the doula can set up the room. Doulas will turn on the chosen music, hang any lights they brought, cover bright windows, hang images or affirmations, and set up anything else the birthing person wants to have with them. Doulas can also help setting up the labor space at home when she arrives and pack up to take things to the hospital when it's time to go. This way the partner can be completely focused on the birthing person.
8. Accompanying decision making
Doulas never advise, but they do help partners and birthers identify how they feel about it and feel confident in the decision they ultimately make. Birth is a highly emotional time and having a professional there who is not trying to sway a decision is incredibly valuable. Doulas inform, listen, and help you find clarity and empowerment. Doulas also help the ambiance feel calmer even when big decisions must be made.
Doulas support both the birthing person and the partner at each birth. This partner support also brings additional peace of mind to many birthing people who are concerned about how their partner will react to seeing them in pain or watching the birth. Doulas bring peace of mind to the entire birthing experience for both birthers and partners. It's teamwork and that teamwork increases the likelihood that the birther - and the partner! - will have a positive experience.
Giving birth in Madrid or a new mom in Madrid? Looking for support on the wild ride called parenthood?
Look no further - book a free discovery call with me (Madison - doula in Madrid) today and let's chat about how together we can work to make your experience a positive one! And be sure to check out the Madoula homepage. If you're looking for doula support during your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum please be sure to contact me for a free consultation!
Giving birth is one of the most vulnerable moments in a person's life. There are many factors to consider at all times. The support of a doula from home to hospital adds an additional layer of support for both the birthing person and partner. Continuous care and individualized support both increase the likelihood of satisfaction with one's birth experience, regardless of the birth outcome (C-section, instrumental birth, etc).