My partner thinks a doula will impede with their ability to support me. What can I say to them to help them understand why I want a doula at our birth?

We get this a lot actually and my partner thought the same thing when we were going through the birth process before I was a doula. In reality, a doula is there to support both you, the birthing person, and your partner. I could absolutely never ever replace the love (oxytocin) or connection that your partner can provide for you and I use it! At all of my births, I encourage partners to help me and I encourage them to do hands on/physical support because I know that is what is going to keep the birthing person releasing oxytocin to encourage their contractions to come on stronger, more powerful, and more efficient. I love working with partners and you’d be surprised at how much it matters to be taken care of by a doula while you’re taking care of your partner birthing.

I love this quote that speaks to how doulas empower partners from an abstract of a study done on the use of doulas - “Observations during labor showed that fathers remained farther away from mothers than doulas, talked and touched less. When the doula was present with the couple during labor the father offered more personal support. The father-to-be' s presence during labor and delivery is important to the mother and father, but it is the presence of the doula that results in significant benefits in outcome.”

Here’s some “Evidence on Doulas” from Evidence Based Birth

“Research has shown that the most positive birth experiences for fathers were ones where they had continuous support by a doula or a midwife. In the McGrath and Kennell study, the women and their partners who had a doula overwhelmingly rated the support of their doula as positive—with 93% rating their experience with the doula as very positive, and 7% as positive. In other studies, fathers have said that when they had labor support from a midwife or doula, things were explained to them, their questions were answered, their labor support efforts were guided and effective, and they could take breaks from the emotional intensity of the labor without abandoning their laboring partner (Johansson, 2015).”

What’s the difference between a doula and a midwife?

I get this one a lot and the answer may seem obvious if you’re already in midwifery care, but for those who aren’t it is an understandable question. First, let’s start off by covering what a midwife does.

From BC Midwives

“In BC, registered midwives offer primary maternity care to healthy pregnant clients and their newborn babies from early pregnancy, through labour and birth, until about six weeks following delivery. They practice evidence-based, client-centered maternity and newborn care and are an established part of the BC health care system.

Midwives listen, observe, educate, guide and care. They order and interpret tests and screen for physical, psychological, emotional and social health. They are with clients during pregnancy, labour and birth, normal and complicated. They catch babies. They do home visits after the baby is born. They help with breastfeeding and adjusting to life with a new baby. They work together and with other health professionals.”

Midwives are one of your options for a care provider. A doula is a non-medical support person, so as your midwife sees you for all your prenatal visits and listens to baby’s heartbeat, tests your urine, checks cervical dilation, and assists you medically while you birth your baby, a doula is there by your side during your birth to provide continuous emotional and physical support to both you and your partner and especially before you head to the hospital while you’re in early labour at home. We love to work in a team with family practice doctors, nurses, midwives, and obstetricians and love to watch how amazingly supported you are by any of these care providers.

What’s the difference between a midwife and a doctor?

People might choose to see a midwife in their pregnancy over a family practice doctor because they feel more comfortable with someone who specializes in pregnancy and newborns and like to have longer and more frequent appointments than they would normally get in the care of a doctor. Midwives also come to your home for anywhere from 5-15 visits after baby is born, so you don’t ever need to worry about leaving the house for appointments after baby is born and you have someone to call and come over quickly should you have any questions.

However, some might choose to see a doctor instead of a midwife because they feel more comfortable knowing that their care provider has knowledge on things medically related other than pregnancy and they are happy with the one or two visits they’ll receive from a public health nurse. In BC, people with low-risk pregnancies are usually followed by either a midwife or a doctor, however some may request to be cared for by an obstetrician.

Regardless of which care provider you choose, know that North Shore Doula works seamlessly with any care provider. Allie’s parents are in the medical field practicing as pediatricians and a family practice doctor. She is happy to work with any of the amazing providers you have options to choose from on the North Shore.