How do Doulas and Partners Work Together During my Birth?
Clients often ask in our first meet and greet- “How do you work with my partner?”.
My answer is very simple. I include the partner in everything we do. I do not make them feel like an outsider or that they don’t belong. I ALWAYS include the partner during prenatal meetings, in labor, and in our postpartum visits. I realize and respect that this is not only your birth experience, but also your partner’s birth experience as well.
In our prenatals we go over how you and your partner work together in everyday life and also during times of stress. I do this to feel out your relationship dynamics and to access where I’ll be needed the most.
After I access, we talk about expectations you have for your partner during labor. For example, we go over whether you’d like your partner to be vocal for you in voicing choices you will make during labor or whether you want your partner to talk you through contractions or be a quiet and calm presence beside you as you experience labor. I find that going over this information during your prenatals prepares partners so much for what to expect and what will be asked of them during labor and birth. We will also go over how your partner can support you physically during different stages of labor. I will often go over different massage techniques as well as support positions for your partner to implement during labor.
When the big day arrives, I get your partner involved as much as they want to be involved. I will often suggest places for your partner to step in and support you both physically and emotionally. This is accomplished by educating your partner during our prenatal sessions on what to expect during labor and also physical means of supporting you through labor.
Often, partners do not think about the physical and emotional strain that they will also be experiencing during your labor. Your partner is going to get tired and hungry and experience all the emotions of birth as well. I am also there for your partner, to give words of encouragement, breaks or food. I am there to support you both through this journey. I remind partners to eat, sleep, and take breaks when there is downtime. Often I will step out of the room and give you and your partner some time to chat and process labor. I find that leaving you and your partner alone for a bit can sometimes help to reset the mood in the birth room or even help labor to pick up if it has stalled. There are so many things I offer to partners, it’s hard to capture with just words.
As a Doula, I am NOT there to take the place of partners, rather I am there to help them do the dance of birth alongside you and be as supportive as possible.
At the end of the births I attend, partners are so incredibly grateful that I was there to walk the journey with them.
Partners will often give me a huge hug and thank me for supporting them as well. I am so honored to be invited into your birth space. I appreciate each and every person I am able to support through this work.