Daddy Doula Cheat Sheet: Your Guide to Become a Daddy Doula

Feb 23, 2022

Some dads worry that they won’t know how to help their partner through labor because they’ve never been through it themselves. This is a common concern, and not just for dads. People ask us all the time, can you be a doula without having a baby?

The answer is YES, you can be a doula without having a baby—both for doula dads, and for professional doulas. The trick is learning from the best—which is why we’re here.

Dads make amazing doulas.

One of my favorite things about my job is seeing the transformation that occurs in our expecting dads. Thousands of nervous, skeptical partners have walked into my classroom over the years. Often they have more fear and more worry about the upcoming birth than the pregnant person. In our first class, we talk about these fears, and begin the work of facing and moving beyond them. 

Do you want to know the top three most common fears expecting dads and partners have? 

3. Fear of the unknown; not knowing what to expect in labor
2. Fear of being helpless; not knowing what to do in labor
1. Fear of suffering and loss; the worry that their loved ones won't be ok

If we don't help dads work through their fear, they bring it with them into the birth room, and the birthing mother will absorb it. An anxious partner makes an anxious birther, an anxious birther has an anxious uterus.

I've said it a million times, and I'll say it again:


Their labor is different but no less significant. I've seen men who are almost as sweaty, exhausted, and exhilarated at the moment of birth as the new mother. 

I've seen partners so engaged and focused that they can't help but rock and sway and breathe, instinctively mirroring the birther's movements and sounds. 

I've seen laboring couples break down walls in their relationship and fall in love all over again as they lean into each other for support. 

And let me tell you something else:

Never once, in any birth I've witnessed, have I heard a laboring woman scream "YOU DID THIS TO ME!!!" or "I HATE YOU!!!" at her partner. 


I have heard things like "I love you I love you I love you I love you..." and "We did it, baby we DID IT!" I've heard cries of "She's here! Our baby girl is here!" or "It's a boy!" 

Dads, she is not going to hate you or resent you during the birth of your baby, unless you aren't there for her. And I mean, really, really THERE for her. You gotta step up, both physically and emotionally. Just like conception, the work of childbirth was meant to be done by two.

Even if you've hired a professional labor doula (and you should), partners should always be the main source of emotional support. If partners feel calm, prepared, and confident, mothers feel calm, prepared, and confident too.

How do you become a Daddy Doula?

Daddy Doula training helps partners set the stage for a supported, positive birthing experience for the mother. Just like professional Doulas, Daddy Doulas provide physical and emotional support to the birthing person during labor and delivery.

Ina May Gaskin teaches that we become "touch telepathic" in labor. This means that the birthing person will absorb the energy of those who are in contact with her. So it's time to sit down with together and talk about what mom needs to feel supported.

Doula Dads, here are the basics:

Stay present.
Remain focused.
Be calm and confident.
Protect the the birth environment.
Take care of her need for hydration, calories, and chapstick.
Brush her sweaty hair away from her face, put a cool washcloth on her neck.
Give her an extra blanket if she's shivering, or fan her face and arms if she's sweating. Run a nice warm bath and help her get into it (yes, even in the hospital.)
Maybe you'll get into the birthing tub with her. She'll love it.
Turn on her Hypnobirthing tracks in the background. 
Stay off your phone. I repeat. Put the phone down. 

That is, put the phone down except to use your camera. You can help record this incredible experience (unless, of course, you’ve hired a professional photographer, which we recommend)!

Repeat her birth affirmations and positive statements.
Learn counterpressure.
Use it. A lot. 

You can also prepare and provide support during pregnancy and after birth.
Leading up to delivery, you can practice hypnobirthing techniques and exercises along with your partner. You can also look up labor and birth videos. These will help you know what to expect.

After birth, you can bond with your new baby directly, especially through skin-to-skin contact. Most importantly, you can help take care of mom as she recovers and bonds with your little one.

And if you're worried that you or your partner will forget what to do?
We've got a tool for that...  (continued below) 

It can feel overwhelming for a dad to wrap his head around how to support his partner in labor. We've broken it down into the top five labor support skills and put them in a printable Daddy Doula Cheat Sheet which you can bring to your birth location. 

When you are ready to go even deeper and prepare to be the best birth companion you can be, it's time to sign up for class. Our HypnoActive Birth curriculum is based directly on our professional doula training course, so that BOTH parents leave the six week course feeling like total birth EXPERTS.

You'll BOTH be ready to face anything that happens on your birth journey. 

Get ready for the journey of birth with our six week intensive training

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