Partners know the birthing mom intimately. Doulas know birth intimately. Together we make a great team. Not sure if you need a doula?
Here's HBS’s handy checklist to explore if your partner is prepared to be your doula:
Has your partner attended births of people they aren't related to as a primary emotional, physical, and informational support person?
Does your partner regularly participate in continuing education opportunities on topics related to supporting families through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period?
Is your partner someone you'd consider a primary resource for information during pregnancy? What about after your baby is born?
Does your partner have referrals on hand in case you need extra support? Can they point you toward a great childbirth class, prenatal chiropractor, lactation counselor, pelvic floor physical therapist, prenatal massage therapist, ...?
Is your partner a member of any doula/birth professional groups or associations so they can learn from others' experience as well as their own?
Is your partner well-versed in the language of birth? Do they have a thorough grasp of commonly used medical terminology, abbreviations, acronyms and other language specific to labor?
Does your partner have an in-depth understanding of the ways medications and technology can be used during labor? Do they understand the common side effects of medications and procedures that are sometimes used in birth? And if so, are they practiced at communicating that information with people who are deep in labor to help them make thoughtful and informed decisions if the need arises?
Does your partner have a wide working knowledge of coping skills and comfort measures to help people through labor? Do they have tips and tricks up their sleeve that they can offer at pivotal moments during labor, based on their experience and knowledge?
Does your partner have advanced knowledge and skills to help identify ways you might be better supported during labor? Can they identify labor patterns that might indicate that a specific change in position for labor progress could be helpful?
If labor needs to be induced for whatever reason, can your partner walk you through what to expect from the induction process and what questions you might want to ask your care provider? What if a scheduled cesarean is necessary?
If there is a challenging situation during birth, does your partner have the experience and knowledge to offer a solution that may not have been offered by your care providers yet if the need arises?
Is your partner totally comfortable in a hospital labor and delivery room? Do they have tricks for helping YOU feel more comfortable there?
Does your partner have experience "holding space" for laboring parents? Are they practiced at staying balanced within themselves even in the uncomfortable, challenging, or even frightening moments that can happen during birth, all the while supporting you fully?
Does your partner have experience speaking to and touching people during birth? Are they in tune and responsive to the needs of someone who is in labor?
Is your partner used to spending hours upon hours in a small space with little nourishment and/or sleep while still supporting someone through their labor?
Thank you HB services for putting this checklist together! https://www.herobirthservices.com/blog/2018/9/19/long-beach-doula-your-partner-is-not-your-doula