Your Partner’s Role

What about my partner?

Birth is an intense, unpredictable, and emotional experience. After all, often the two people most important to partners can seem to be in peril. In the midst of this, doulas are able to be an objective, caring, and experienced voice for both laboring women and their partners (along with any other supporters present at the birth). A doula can remind a laboring woman and her partner that birth is a normal, natural experience that happens every day, and that this woman’s body was made to give birth to her baby.


Researchers have also studied the way that a father’s support differs with a doula present. Penny Simkin, P.T., writes about their findings in her book The Birth Partner:

“Researchers compared the behavior of two groups of fathers during labor. In one group, the fathers were the only support persons for the mother; in the other, there was also a doula in attendance. In the group in which a doula was present, the fathers generally spent more time in the room with the mother and stayed closer to her. Because the doula takes pressure off of the partner, the partner may not need to take a break as often.” (P. 164, The Birth Partner)

In other words, the partners who experienced labor with a doula present were actually able to be better supporters to their laboring partners. They stayed physically closer to the laboring mother, talking to her and touching her. They felt less fearful of the pain of labor they saw their partner experience, and they were more patient with the process of labor. They were more likely to be active participants in the birth experience because they also felt supported by the doula’s presence.