The old traditional labor and delivery with mom suffering behind closed doors while dad paces in the waiting room has been replaced with both expectant mother and partner moving through the stages of labor and delivery together. And research has found that the partners support during child birth actually makes this a much more positive experience for mom while helping the partner to bond earlier with the baby.
In Western cultures women in labor dont usually receive continuous supportive care from practitioners, nurses or doctors. In other cultures family members take turns supporting mom through the process and participating in the excitement of the birth of the new family member. Even though today more and more fathers are taking a more active role they are often put into uncomfortable situations and asked to provide emotional and physical support that is foreign to them.
Fathers may attend child birth classes and remain with their partner during the birth process but they may also feel as though they must be an authority on the process while mom relies on them for support and reassurance. Moms who are doing a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) may have even more fears and anxiety about their ability to go through a vaginal delivery.
If there are twins or triplets involved or if the family decided to involve the older children in the process dad may have an even more difficult time supporting mom and answering the questions of the children.
Fathers experience doubts too. They arent sure when to provide reassurance and when to be quiet, when to give the massage and when to offer a washcloth. Dads who travel as part of their work may also have fears of not being available when mom goes into labor.
Professional help is available for both mom and dad that will afford partners support during child birth. Supporting dad help to support mom often helps to make the birth experience more positive as well as to create a deeper bond between the partners.
This professional help is in the form of a doula. A doula is a professional labor assistant. She is experienced in the birth process and will stay with the expectant mother and her coach throughout the labor and delivery providing partners support during child birth. She gives continuous and uninterrupted physical and emotional support while being a liaison between the mother, father, practitioners and nursing staff in the hospital or birthing center.
Through education and embracing the mission of a doula these women recognize that childbirth is a key life experience mom will remember all her life. The doula has a good understanding of the physiology of the process and will help the mother and her partner carry out their plans for the birth while helping to maintain a safe environment for both mother and child.
The word doula originates from the Greek word which means in service of. Sometimes people mistakenly believe that a doula takes the place of a father or nurse. In fact the doula is there to support both the father, the nurse and the mother in the process.
Research studies by Klaus, Kennel and Hofmeyer show a significant decrease in the use of epidural anesthesia, the use of forceps or vacuum suction (when the baby doesnt descend well in the birth canal), the length of the labor and a decreased risk of cesarean section.
When mom and dad consider hiring a doula they should meet with the woman before the birth and should not just be assigned. Fathers may comment that they want someone that can help take the pressure of being an authority figure off of them so they too can experience the miracle of their childs birth. This is the one person there just to support the mother while the nurse is responsible for administrative duties, charting and going off shift; or the physician is attending to other births or office visits and the father feels stress over feeling inadequate in this situation in which he is thrust.
Seeking partners support during labor and delivery of a couples child is something that is invaluable for both mother and father. Born out by case studies and research mothers find they are less likely to need medical pain management, cesarean section or medical intervention to deliver their baby much the way that nature intended!Free PDF Health Ebook...