Not only does the statistics from birth outcomes highly recommend hiring a birth doula for birthers, but birth partners also benefit from their support as well. As your birth doula, I don’t replace partners. The team members need to work together to achieve the goal at hand. There needs to be a mutual respect and great synergy between each of us. When you’re looking to hire a birth doula it’s important to include the partner in the interviewing process. Though the main goal is to support the birther, I’m there to support the family as a whole, helping the partner know how to care for the birther, providing space for the birther and comfort for the family. Which means the partner needs to be communicated with, brought into the conversation, and if they have questions, those need to be addressed so they feel like a valuable member of the birth team.
Being reassured that things are in the variation of normal, knowing that the pain felt in a contraction isn’t the same type of pain from an injury, and this isn’t something their partner needs to be rescued from, but supported in can help a birther feel the positive energy and trust in their abilities to keep going when they’re looking to have an unmedicated birth. Knowing what to expect from pain medications such as Stadol or an epidural, and how to support their laboring partner if the medication doesn’t work as effectively as hoped for, help finding great positioning for the progress of labor to continue despite limited mobility by the medication, and the confidence in their own ability to support the birther is another great aspect of having a doula there, if you’re planning for an epidural, or wind up using an epidural in the end. A cesarean section also comes with unknowns and situations to prepare for. Oftentimes I will stay with the birther while the partner goes with the baby, if there needs to be a quick trip to the nursery or a NICU visit. As your doula, I support the partner in feeling prepared for what to expect from a cesarean birth. We will work together to discuss scenarios that may happen, to talk about alternative plans, to role play situations on how to disarm those that may pressure the birther into decisions they don’t wish to make, and to honestly believe in the birthing process, the birther, their body to bring forth the life they’ve spent these several months to create, and the baby.
Now to the fun part: the statistics!
There are many benefits to the birther and the baby to have birth doula support. Did you know that there’s also a great benefit to the partner? Less postpartum anxiety and mental health issues (that’s right, the non-birthing parent also gets postpartum depression in 15-25% of cases), more confidence in the birthing space and during the postpartum period and having someone they can rely on for valuable and vital information about pregnancy, labor and postpartum recovery, as well as newborn care.