Dads and Doulas

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I sometimes hear a Dad’s hesitation in hiring a doula. He’s involved in the pregnancy, supportive of his wife/partner, wants to be active and have a main role in the birth of his baby, so he’s thinking, “Why do we need her?”

As a doula, I can assure all Dads, that I am not there to replace them, but rather as a part of the birthing team, to help enhance their experience, and to support Dads, too, prenatally, during labor and postpartum. Often, after the birth, Dads are more appreciative of doula support than Moms. Dads and doulas work together as complementary parts of the Mom’s birth team.

Our presence lets Dads support their loved ones in their own way without having to remember position changes or comfort measures, reminding her to empty her bladder or release her shoulders. To a Mom, her husband/partner’s reassurance and presence are invaluable, he is emotionally connected and invested in her and the birth. In labor, I see Dads lovingly rubbing backs,

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whispering in ears, encouraging and comforting, when they’re working so beautifully together, I can stand back, softly add a word of praise or a suggestion, add a touching hand and let the couple dance the labor dance together.

As labor progresses and becomes more intense, my role picks up, Dad and I are a team in supporting Mom, we may take turns squeezing her hips or being the leaning post for her swaying body. We find a rhythm that works. For some Dads who feel more uncertain or nervous, they can observe how I talk, touch, encourage and they can feel more comfortable in their actions.

At our educational prenatal visits, I always tell parents that it’s important for them to understand the stages of labor and the Dad supporting Mom in birth, dads in birth, doulas with dads, doulas with fathers, doulas supporting fathers, fathers day, doulas from dads point of view, how does a doula help a dadpossible interventions that may be suggested. They need to own their birth, be prepared to advocate for themselves, and make informed decisions, but they don’t need to remember every birthing position or detail we discuss, because at the birth, I am their “Cliff Notes.”

Culturally, we’ve placed Dads in the role of sole supporter of a laboring woman, but this is Dad’s birth, too, and even a Dad who’s been at a birth before has usually only been at one or two births. The doula is there as someone who really knows birth, who can help families navigate labor and works to protect the space for the birthing couple.

I honor the deep importance of Dads at a birth and in the lives of their kiddos. To all the future Dads, soon-to-be-Dads, new Dads, and Dads who’ve been in the trenches for years or decades: Happy Father’s Day!

A website I recommend: Fathers-to-be


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2 Responses to Dads and Doulas

  1. […] of oneself, receiving from others. It is a hug, a kiss, a hand held. Supporting a Mom in labor, doulas and Dads may rub a Mom’s back in a circular pattern, breathing in and out is circular, the instinctive […]

  2. […] a birth doula: How many births has she attended? How does she include Dad or partner in the birth? How can she assist you in drafting your birth wishes (aka birth […]

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