I found this on another web site and had to share. The first part tells how a dad can support his wife/girlfriend in labor. The second part exsplains how a doula is there to help both the mother and father.
Is there an instruction manual to tell me what I need to know and should be doing?
It can be pretty nerve-wracking to know your partner expects you to help her get through labor when you haven't got a clue what it will be like or how to help. Our best advice is to attend a childbirth preparation class with your partner. Childbirth classes will help teach you how to work as a team, give you pain coping techniques to help coach her through contractions and give you an idea of what to expect. In addition have put together a few universal tips:
- A laboring woman is always right.
- Don’t ask a woman questions during a contraction. She will be annoyed with you.
- Most women do not appreciate jokes when they are in labor.
- Most women do not like their bellies touched during a contraction.
- Don’t go to sleep unless she gives you the OK. She is working hard and has to stay awake. She will expect the same from you.
- If something helps her during contractions (like rubbing her back), start is as soon as the contraction begins. Starting half was through a contraction is not helpful.
- Laboring women are sometimes only able to get their thoughts across in one or two words and are often very direct in labor. If she tells you to STOP doing something stop. If she tells you to do something, do it right away.
- She needs encouragement. Tell her she is strong and doing a good job.
My partner keeps talking about having a doula at the birth. Isn’t having our midwife and her assistant enough?
The pressure of being a super-coach in labor is taken away when you have a doula. A doula’s role is not to replace the dad or partner but to allow them to be involved in the birth at a level that is comfortable for them. The support a dad or partner can provide is irreplaceable. It is not fair, however, to expect them to retain every technique taught in their childbirth class. It is like asking someone who has never watched or played a football game to coach Monday Night Football with only a brief training session and a playbook. Parents who use doulas can shift the burden of remembering details from childbirth class and their birth plan onto the doula's shoulders. They are free to follow their instincts and let the doula guide them when they need it.