A Daddy Doula Cheat Sheet

Feb 23, 2022

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 with more fear and more worry about the upcoming birth than the pregnant person is carrying. 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, and an anxious uterus is biologically compelled to slow or even stop labor and hold that baby IN until a feeling of safety has been restored.

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


Their labor is different from yours, 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), your partner should always be your main source of emotional support. If your birth partner is calm, prepared, and confident, you'll feel calm, prepared, and confident too. If your partner is nervous, worried, and anxious, you will be too. 

Ina May Gaskin likes to teach that we become "touch telepathic" in labor; meaning that you will absorb the energy of those who are in contact with you. So it's time to sit down with your birth companion and talk about what he can do to support you. 

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. 
Repeat her birth affirmations.
Learn counterpressure.
Use it. A lot. 

And if you're worried that 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, so 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. 

And partners, 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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