Some couples worry that the partner will be relegated to a minor role if a doula attends the birth. On the other hand, some pregnant women worry that their partners will not be very helpful but are hesitant to suggest a doula for fear of hurting the partner’s feelings. Many partners want to help but feel insecure about their ability to meet all of their loved one’s needs.
𝗠𝘆𝘁𝗵 #1: Partners can do all the labour support on their own.
𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆: While this may be true for a minority of couples, many partners are not equipped to be the primary birth support. Doulas are specifically trained in emotional and physical support such as comfort measures. They understand the birth process and what to do at various stages and situations. Besides, partners are going through their own birthing journey and need support too.
𝗠𝘆𝘁𝗵 #2: Doulas displace partners and interfere with the couple’s intimate experience.
𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆: Research shows more eye-contact and physical touch between couples when a doula is present; they usually work more closely together. Doulas help couples clarify their expectations of each other and then make space for partners to participate at their comfort level. When the partner chooses to be the primary emotional support, the doula can supplement their efforts by running errands, making suggestions for comfort measures, etc. During a long tiring labor, she can give the partner a break. While the doula probably knows more than the partner about birth, hospitals and maternity care, the partner knows more about the woman’s personality, likes and dislikes, and needs. Moreover, they love the birthing woman!
𝗠𝘆𝘁𝗵 #3: Doulas are there only for the birthing client.
𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆: Of course the labouring woman is the priority but doulas support partners too! Medical staff have other priorities that may compete with the emotional care of their patient; e.g. breaks, shift changes, clinical responsibilities, office hours and hospital policies. Client care is the doula’s priority. She is not just another stranger with the couple. They’ve met prenatally until they know each other and feel ready as a team. Doulas understand the dreams, wishes, goals of the birthing person and the partner. By making sure that the partner’s needs are met (e.g. food, drink, reassurance, and maybe even rest), the birthing woman and partner can work more closely together.
As one partner said, “I heaved a big sigh of relief when she (the doula) walked in. I hadn’t realized how much pressure I had been feeling. She not only calmed my wife, she calmed me down. I was able to support my partner MORE when the doula was with us!”