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Doulas versus Partners

Are you having trouble convincing your partner on the benefits of having a Doula at your birth?

One of the main reasons a couple may not hire a Doula is because the partner thinks the Doula may take over their role, but it important to know that the Doula will be very inclusive of the partners and will ensure that they feel encouraged and confident during the big day as well.

It is like being a part of a team!

Each team member has an important role to play.

The way a woman is treated during labour and birth will have a huge impact on her postpartum recovery, therefore having her partner as well as an additional independent support person there to guide her and provide her with comfort is invaluable.

It is important for you to know that your role is irreplaceable as you are the only one in the room who knows her better than anyone else.

Your labouring woman needs your presence and loving support during labour and birth and her knowing that you are there providing that will give her confidence and strength. With you and your Doula, your partner can have the best of both worlds – your loving care and attention so she feels safe and your trained Doula’s expertise and guidance on all things relevant to birth.

Having a Doula there can be really helpful in achieving progress, particularly if the labour has become long and slow and this could be due to malposition of the baby for example. An experienced Doula may suggest some really helpful techniques like “rebozo sifting” or “acupressure” or “massage” so as to prevent any medical interventions, however if you are trying to do these physical techniques on your own for a long period of time this can be exhausting, so having the option of a “tag team” to give the maximum benefits of those techniques is really helpful.

When partners are trying to do (or remember) the many different techniques they have been taught during independent childbirth classes this can be exhausting as well. This can affect the energy in the room, and may be sensed by the labouring woman. Sometimes the woman will become concerned about her partner rather than focussing on herself, her body and their baby  – that is just what women do.

Women are generally compassionate and empathetic of others, even during their own discomfort.

Birth, pregnancy, VBAC, pushing baby out, Vicki Hobbs, VBAC statistics, maternity, mothers and babies, cesarean, caesarean, VBAC in Australia, Hypnobirthing Australia, VBAC in Perth, doula, doula in Perth


Your Doula can provide information so you both understand the processes and language of your caregivers, and to be that conduit in helping you to understand medical procedures and hospital policies while referring you back to your birth preferences.

Your Doula will encourage you and offer suggestions on how best to support your partner during labour and birth, but also be there with your partner so you can go for a walk, get some food or take a break – or have a bit of a sleep if the opportunity arises, which is so important because nobody can predict how long the labour will be.

Women are wired for birth and at times during labour may act in a primal and unfamiliar way, or you may see your partner in pain and become distressed, which in turn will make her feel more distressed. Your Doula will recognise this behaviour as a normal process of birth and will be able to reassure you and encourage you to encourage her.

You may also need to be with your partner during surgery should a caesarean become necessary and it can be reassuring to have someone to offer you support and encouragement during that time as well.

At times labour and birth can become quite intense, and partners may need that extra support not only for their partners, but for themselves as well.

Doulas know that most partners are eager to be really involved during labour and birth, but sometimes you may find it difficult to navigate through the unknown or if special circumstances arise it is such a relief having someone you can lean on and gain more information from.

Your Doula’s skills and knowledge can help you to feel more relaxed. If you want to provide physical comfort, such as back massage and change of positions, and help your partner to stay focused during contractions, your Doula can provide that guidance and make suggestions for what may work best at that moment in time, because the key is to ensure that what you are doing in the moment is helping and working.

And this changes from moment to moment as well.

What was working before, may not be working now so it is really beneficial to have someone who is tuned into that and is able to offer alternatives.

Many times we hear of women having interventions because their labour was not progressing, but having a Doula there who is trained in “alternatives” can be the difference in achieving a natural, physiological birth, if that is what you desire.

Sometimes it is best to just leave the labouring woman who is in her “zone” so knowing when to step back and take a break – my favourite saying is if it isn’t broken, don’t try and fix it.”

Obstetricians, midwives and obstetric nurses are responsible for monitoring labour, assessing the medical condition of the mother and baby and treating complications when they arise; but birth is also an emotional and energetic experience with a long-term impact on a woman’s personal wellbeing.

Your Doula is constantly aware that the mother and her partner will remember this experience for the rest of their lives.

By nurturing the mother during birth, your Doula supports you both in having a positive and memorable birth experience, which will lead to a more satisfying and positive postpartum experience as well.

Birth, pregnancy, VBAC, pushing baby out, Vicki Hobbs, VBAC statistics, maternity, mothers and babies, cesarean, caesarean, VBAC in Australia, Hypnobirthing Australia, VBAC in Perth, doula, doula in Perth

A study released in 2012 identified that women who had independent birth support were:

You can also read about studies and outcomes of having a doula from the Evidence Based Birth website:

Your Doula offers your partner support on many levels as she has seen it all before and has experienced many different situations and special circumstances and knows how to help the mother and her partner cope so much better.

In the past women of the community worked together so they were the ones who attended and supported each other during labour, birth and the postpartum period. However, in today’s society birth has become so medicalised therefore a Doula’s support is even more valuable particularly in a hospital setting and helping both the woman and her partner to feel they are safe, respected and listened to.

Birth, pregnancy, VBAC, pushing baby out, Vicki Hobbs, VBAC statistics, maternity, mothers and babies, cesarean, caesarean, VBAC in Australia, Hypnobirthing Australia, VBAC in Perth, doula, doula in Perth

Independent childbirth education classes highlights that fear creates tension, which leads to more intense pain, so you and your Doula will work as a team to provide tools and techniques to eliminate fear, while working through any shifts in mindset and creating the most comfortable and safe environment as possible.

This may be unchartered territory for the birth partner and so you will be grateful to have someone who is trained in eliminating fears by utilising her “Mary Poppins bag of tricks” to bring the woman back into a calm state while increasing the release of endorphins for pain and oxytocin for strong, effective contractions.

This is what Matt says (pictured at the top of the page sharing a special moment with wife Belinda who had just had a successful VBAC) about having a doula at their birth:

“My first thought of having a doula be a part of the birth of our second child I wasn’t really a fan, but due to the birth of our first child going only the way the Obstetricians wanted it to, I was open to any ideas the Mrs wanted to try to educate ourselves to have the birth she was wanting if all health aspects were taken into consideration. 

After agreeing with my wife on going with a doula I was bloody glad we did as from the very first meeting with Vicki till the day our little girl was born I felt informed and up to speed with all things to do with birth. Because my wife gave birth to our son via caesarean I had no clue on what to expect with a natural birth except what I had seen in movies. 

Having Vicki there to give us all the information we needed or point us in the right direction on where to find the information and to give us the latest research was great and stress free.

And on “D Day” which started in the early hours of the morning, well I could rave on forever at how glad I was Vicki was there to help my wife through the contractions and to also determine when it was the right time to make the dash to the hospital. At the hospital it was even better as all the support for my wife was available, from massage and reminding her to breathe, drink, move and so on, and her reminders for me on what I should be doing at times was just so welcome. I highly recommend to anyone considering having a doula to make that a part of their birth journey.” Matt, Perth 2017

While a Doula may initially be a stranger to you, she will certainly become a trusted birth coach helping you to support your partner on all levels – the mind, the body and the emotions to create that beautiful synergy of energy on the day.

By hiring a doula you will be giving your partner the very best chance of a positive, calm birth without fear and with little or no interventions.

You won’t regret it.

Vicki Hobbs – Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum Coach

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    About Vicki Hobbs

    My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a Childbirth Educator (Back to Basics Birthing), Hypnobirthing Practitioner, Certified VBAC Educator, Remedial Massage Therapist specialising in Pregnancy & Postpartum Massage, Birth & Postpartum Doula, Certified Placenta Encapsulator, Hypnotherapist, Aromatherapist, Reiki Practitioner and Life Coach.

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