Dads + doulas = a perfect partnership

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Dads + doulas = a perfect partnership

by: Laura Barbour, CD (DONA), CLEC, Postpartum Doula Military Birth Resource Network The Birth Education Center of Okinawa | .
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published: October 24, 2016

One of my favorite parts about doula’ing is working with the dads. Maybe it’s the fact that I have two sons and three younger brothers? Or maybe, it is just because I remember how important my husband’s role was in my own births?

A dad’s role does not stop at creating the baby or putting together the crib. He is the emotional foundation for a positive birth experience. No one involved in the birth process feels for the momma like the dad does.

Dad has the love and the doula brings the professional knowledge which create a dynamic, loving, and supportive birth experience.

Why is Dad so important to the birth itself? Here are 3 reasons why.
1. It is dad’s birth too. Nope, he’s not feeling the pain physically. But think about it, men have that ‘fix it mentality’ and it is difficult not being able to ‘fix the pain’ for his loved one. He is experiencing that angst of wanting the pain to stop for his partner and there is nothing he can do, but be patient and trust the process. He is waiting to meet his new baby and though it is not physical pain, he is in it emotionally while waiting, watching and supporting.

2. Dads bring a light heartedness to a birth. Their humor is natural and it can break up a tense moment. More so than not, there is one point in a birth that dad says something that drives mom a little nuts. That familiarity can be comforting during labor.

3. The emotional bond between mom and dad is theirs and theirs alone. Most births have that moment when mom feels done. Contractions are intense, mom is tired and she does not know if she can ‘do it anymore’. Dad and mom are face to face, her arm is usually curled around his neck and his words are what soothe her, comfort her, and encourage her - the familiarity of his voice, his touch and just him are what she needs to continue.
 
Here’s how a doula and partner work together:
1. Two heads are better than one. When dad is at the point where he does not know what to do, a doula is there to offer suggestions - position changes, new ways to cope with contractions, bathroom breaks, time to snack or drink, etc. Partnering together, a doula and dad make sure mom is as comfortable as she can be. As momma leans on her partner, the doula can do counter pressure, hold a heating pad or offer a massage.

2. Doulas are there to remind dad that birth is normal. There are moments in labor and childbirth that may appear ‘off’ to dad: intense contractions, medical providers working quickly, or dad just not being familiar with how birth can appear. Just a look and a nod or a few quiet words from the doula can reassure dad that all is well and his partner is safe.

3. Mom is never going to be left alone. If dad needs to pack the bags and the car, a few minutes to go to the bathroom, grab some food, plan childcare for siblings, or update the family, mom will not be going through contractions alone. Two-person support means a steady, continuous presence for mom.

Bottom line, dads play a major role in childbirth. My number one priority as a doula is to create a positive birth experience for an entire family. Though mom seems to get the focus, making sure dad is comfortable and confident are also important to me as a doula.

Military Birth Resource Network provides evidence based information and mother friendly support throughout Okinawa, Japan and stateside. To learn more visit:
www.militarybirthresourcenetwork.org

The Birth Education Center of Okinawa offers IBCLC consultations, breastfeeding classes, cloth diapering classes, support groups, Hypnobirthing, Cranial Sacral Therapy, community events, a baby & mom shop ‘Fresh’, and more.

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