Are you worried a doula might interfere with the very personal and emotional nature of your birth. Do you envision having an intimate experience with your partner, and worry that having a doula present will take away from your privacy and diminish your connection with one another. I’d like to explain how having a doula can actually increase the chance that you’ll have all of this and more!
1. Less Stress for your partner = more energy for emotional connection and intimacy
Birth is unpredictable, and often stressful. Your partner loves you more, and knows you better, than anyone else on your support team. They care for you and this new life you are about to bring into the world, and they may be nervous about the sounds and smells and uncertainties of birth. Simply entering the hospital can bring up a lot of negative feelings, as it is a place we generally associate with pain and sickness. And if they are your sole support person, they may be worried about how they will perform. All of this creates stress and tension for your partner, and decreases their ability to be emotionally present.
Your doula knows birth, and both you and your partner know your doula and trust her. During your prenatal doula visits, you have both told her about your hopes for this birth, and shared with her your fears and worries. Your doula is also familiar with your birth setting, whether that may be a hospital, birth center, or your home. Having a doula means knowing that your partner doesn’t have to shoulder all the weight on their own. As we all know, when a person is well-supported, they are able to relax and enjoy the experience. Your partner can look to the doula for reassurance when they are worried. Having this support means that your partner will experience less stress and tension, and will therefore relax and be more emotionally present for you. This results in a more intimate birthing experience for you both. And more intimacy means more oxytocin, which means less pain and more progress in the birth process!
2. Your doula teaches your partner to help you with the pain so that you can work together throughout the birthing experience.
During prenatal visits, we will demonstrate and teach you and your partner many techniques for easing labor pains. We will practice these techniques so that your partner feels confident in their ability to help you. During the early stages of labor, your partner will be able to apply counter pressure to help ease the pain of your contractions. The longer you are feeling comfortable and staying on top of the pain, the less likely you will be to rush off to the hospital too early. This means that you may actually spend more time alone together during early labor. This increases your personal, emotional, intimate experience of laboring together…and once well established, it will be easier to continue once you are at the hospital.
3. Once at the hospital, your doula sets the scene for you to have a more personal experience.
Your doula knows the hospital and its staff. While the nurses are getting you admitted and adhering to hospital protocol, your doula will help you and your partner settle into the room. She may adjust lighting, set up aromatherapy, show you where to store your belongings, help you to change, acquire a birth ball for you, draw a bath…whatever is needed.
By helping you and your partner to settle in more quickly and smoothly, your doula helps you to keep your labor moving smoothly. Limiting discomfort and creating an atmosphere where you are both relaxed and cared-for helps to keep you feeling good. When you feel good, your body produces oxytocin, and that keeps labor progressing. It also keeps you in an emotional and intimate frame of mind.
While your doula is helping you both to settle in, your partner is able to focus all their attention on you. They are less distracted because they don’t have to worry about every little thing, and they trust that the doula will take care of you both.
Hiring a doula helps ensure that your birthing experience will be personal and intimate. When both you and your partner are supported by a doula, you both experience less stress and have more energy for emotional connection.
New Day Doula
Rainbow and Mary share thoughts on pregnancy, birth, and the parenting journey.