I am a doula and childbirth educator in Lafayette, LA and the surrounding areas. I love birth. I am there to support and educate you. I know tons of tricks to help a laboring woman be more comfortable. However, I will never replace your partner. Here are some reasons why your partner is crucial to your positive birth experience:
KNOWLEDGE OF YOU
Your partner knows you intimately! They know how to motivate, calm, and comfort you. This ability will be very important during the intensity of labor! Additionally, he will be able to remind your birth team of your goals when they offer interventions.
Most couples are very protective of each other. This is important because they can be your advocate while you are deeply in labor. Ideally, there comes a time when a laboring woman stays inside herself to focus on what her and baby need to do. During this time it is helpful if your partner answers questions as needed, and minimizes interruptions.
Many men, not all, are simply stronger than women. They will be able to apply that extra pressure during a hip squeeze that may make all the difference in your comfort. He will also have an easier time supporting your weight while you are in different positions as well.
This is probably the most important reason! Your partner can stimulate your oxytocin. Oxytocin is the love hormone. Stimulating oxytocin will increase your contractions (helping your labor progress) and trigger more endorphin (this helps you cope with the sensation of pain) to be released. Your partner can help this hormone flow by hugging, being close, kissing, stimulating your nipples, holding your hand, or even sex (if you are trying to induce labor). So, for your partner to increase your love hormone, they need to be close! Your doula probably won’t get the same response . . .
SO WHY A DOULA THEN?
Your partner is going to do an awesome job supporting you! However, they may also need a break. Labors are often long. Your birth team will need to eat and go to the bathroom. However, you should not be left alone. If there is someone else besides your partner, he will be able to get breaks, while you continue to receive support. Or, you may need both people! Your partner can provide pressure while your doula gives you a massage, or vice versa.
Doulas understand birth. We have seen other women in labor and understand what is normal. We have successfully supported other women. Often your partner, unless in the medical field, does not have this knowledge or experience. Birth can be intimidating if you are not prepared (this is why a childbirth education class is also important!). A doula can reassure you of what is normal and how awesome both of you are doing!
A doula also provides answers to questions, resources, and support during pregnancy and postpartum as well, enhancing your overall experience!
How do you envision your partner helping you during labor? Comment below!
I am a certified Birth Boot Camp doula and childbirth educator, as well as a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator. I practiced as a nurse for 7 years before becoming a birth worker. I’m also a wife, breastfeeding mother, and President of Louisiana Constituents for Safe Childbirth. I provide services in Lafayette, Eunice, Broussard, Youngsville, Sunset, Opelousas, Church Point, Ville Platte, and surrounding areas. For more information about me and my services, visit www.MYBirthandBaby.com