Doulas and Partners

A partner’s participation during labor is both irreplaceable and indispensable; nothing can replace that emotional connection between the couple. Partners are also navigating their own transition into parenthood during childbirth and may need support for themselves during this time. To help support both people on their individual and connected  journies, a doula’s work enhances this experience for the couple by providing neutral information and support to both people.

A partner is there for the laboring mother every step of the way helping her with physical and emotional support and “a doula compliments and reinforces that unique partner support,” says Kelley Burke, owner and doula at Portland Natural Birth.

The doula’s training, experience, tools, and skills gives partners permission to experience the labor and birth without feeling like they are fully responsible for everything that happens once labor begins. “As a doula I wear many hats during the time I’m working with a family. I learn the family’s communication style and see where there are places I’m needed to support both people,” continues Kelley.

It is common for partners to be concerned that hiring a doula might force them out of the picture or like they won’t be needed as much. Really, a doula is trained to work in collaboration with partners and enhance their experience; childbirth isn’t about a doula, it’s always focused on the entire family. A doula’s presence will compliment the partner’s ability to be present and attentive to the laboring mother.  

 

Pillars of Doula Support

The role of a doula is to provide continuous labor support at home, in the hospital, birth center, or  in the operating room. A doula facilitates and promotes informed choice and helps the birthing parent and family advocate for their needs in any birth setting.

At Portland Natural Birth, our doulas offer physical support through:

~ Massage and Comfort Care
Our doulas is a licensed massage therapist and can provide a variety of bodywork techniques to promote relaxation in early labor, soothe areas of tension during active labor, and promote pelvic/baby alignment so your birth has the best possible chance of progressing smoothly.  Massage during labor can relax the birthing body and release pelvic ligaments, making for a faster and less painful birth.

~  Water therapy
Doulas understand when to utilize certain tools like a warm shower or tub soak to provide the pain relief and rest a laboring parent needs from contractions.

~ Calming Effect
Doulas work with the entire family to understand their communication styles and needs during the birth. This familiarity not only has a calming effect on everyone in the room, it also allows the doula to make sure a mother’s laboring environment is supporting her birth.

At Portland Natural Birth, our doulas offer emotional support through:

~ Continuous presence
Our doulas support you at home, helping you decide when to leave for the hospital, and throughout your labor in the hospital or birth center.

~ Emotional clarity
Labor can be a tiring and emotionally-draining event for birthing parent and family. Doulas provide emotional clarity, allowing the family the space they need to process their experience, and trained know-how to help a family through the emotional hard spots of labor.

~ Reassurance
Nothing may be more valuable than the reassurance a doula can offer based on decades of attending births.  Our doula has attended over 500 births as both a midwife and doula.  Bridging clinical knowledge and comfort care skills is her specialty.   

At Portland Natural Birth, our doulas offer informational support through:

~ Evidence-based information
Our doulas are current on the latest information about pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and postpartum. Most importantly, we are trained in how to break the academic studies down into sizable and understandable chunks of information, allowing you to make informed decisions.

~ Labor techniques
Doulas will help with various labor positions to speed or slow down labor and ways to breath through the contractions and while pushing.  

~Medical procedures
Doulas are able to distill and explain medical procedures so families understand what will happen beforehand.

My Commitment to you as your Doula:

As your doula, I will use my skills and knowledge of anatomy, the birth process, bodywork and my training as a midwife to guide and inform you. We will work together to support pelvic alignment and baby positioning so your birth has the best opportunity of progressing smoothly while also honoring your emotional journey both individually and as well as a family unit. I will provide perspective and guidance to you and your partner, make suggestions to support labor progress, assist with relaxation, positioning and bodywork techniques to aid your comfort. As your doula, I am working for you, not your care provider, hospital or birth center.  My only agenda is for you have the information you need to make informed decisions and the support you deserve to give you the strength to get through it.