Doulas aren't only great support for the birthing person; the support that we provide to partners & other members of your birth team is just as valuable. Many partners go into birth feeling nervous & scared that they won't be adequate support for their birth partner. Here are just a few ways that I can support your birth team to help them support you!
#1: Physical Support Coaching
There's nothing more calming than the touch of someone you love. I love teaching partners during our prenatal visits how to provide comforting & effective physical support during labor. We go over just a few basic "moves" like hip squeezes, counter-pressure, & basic rebozo skills to teach your partner how to support you in the most effective way.
#2: Reminders to eat & drink!
Just like it's important for you to stay hydrated & nourished while you're in labor, it's important for your birth partner, too! I often see amazing, dedicated partners forgetting to take breaks to eat & drink, which can lead to fatigue and will ultimately prevent them from being the best possible support for the birthing person. And the great thing about having a doula is that your partner can take a break without being worried about leaving you alone!
#3: Oxytocin Support
Oxytocin, or "the love hormone," is produced during sex, or when you're feeling loved & safe. Oxytocin helps labor to progress by creating good contraction patterns. I teach partners about the power of oxytocin in labor, and often will leave the room for a bit to give partners some time to snuggle & get that oxytocin flowing.
For longer labors, partners will most likely need a nap (or at least a break) a few times during labor. Many loving partners are reluctant to worry about themselves during labor, but when the time is right I often encourage them to take a short nap (with agreement from the laboring permission) and assure them that I will stay right by the birthing person's side the whole time & wake them up when they are needed!
#5: Encouragement & Emotional Support
Partners need encouragement & emotional support during labor, too! Many partners worry that they're not doing enough, or feel helpless watching the person they love going through a challenging experience. I often remind partners that they're doing a great job & that everything is going well! If something unexpected or scary happens during a birth, I do my best to make sure that both partner & birthing person understand what's happening & feel empowered making any decisions that may be needed.
#6: Help before going to the Hospital
Many partners express fear & anxiety about having to help the laboring woman decide when to go to the hospital. I am often primarily in contact with partners during early labor, often reminding them how to support the birthing person during that time at home, and offering to come over to the house to help if needed.
Long story short: partners need support, too. And I do my best to make sure that your birth partner feels involved, informed, & supported throughout pregnancy, birth, & postpartum!