Doula Chats: How Fathers can Prepare

May 13, 2022


One of the things that I always stress with my clients is that I do not replace fathers. In fact, I have often heard of mothers hiring doulas specifically for the role they play in supporting fathers. So often they want to help, but they may not know where to start.

Here are some suggestions!

During Pregnancy

  • Encourage her to rest when she needs and build her up with encouraging words and compliments.
  • Read childbirth education books like The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin and Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert A. Bradley.
  • At my second prenatal meeting with my clients, I always teach mothers and fathers the different labor and birthing positions, as well as counter-pressures for discomfort. Practice these positions together so that you feel confident in using them during labor.
  • If you’re planning on a hospital birth, be sure that the car is filled with gas, know where her bags are, and know how to get to the hospital.

During Labor

  • Use those labor and birthing techniques that you’ve been practicing, and become like Mother’s shadow.
  • Make sure she’s drinking water and getting snacks (make sure you are, too!)
  • Remind her to go to the bathroom frequently.
  • Time contractions for her.
  • Be there to whisper in her ear how amazing she is, read or recite her favorite affirmations, turn on her favorite meditation tracks/music.
  • Be her cheerleader.
  • Apply a double hip squeeze, sacrum pressure, and other counter-pressure points.
  • Help get that Oxytocin flowing. Make her laugh, slow dance with her, hold her, massage her back, run your fingers through her hair, rub her feet or her back, connect with her emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
  • Talk to her about the baby and what you’re most excited about.
  • Pray with her.

Immediately Postpartum

  • Feed her.
  • Tell her how proud of her you are.
  • Continue to keep the Oxytocin flowing (helps contractions continue and get the uterus back to its normal size) by kissing her, hugging her, holding her hand, etc.
  • Be in charge of corresponding with family members and friends who the two of you want to notify of the birth.

Later Postpartum/4th Trimester

  • Ask her about her feelings/emotions and be on the lookout for signs of postpartum depression, anxiety, rage, OCD, and other postpartum emotional/mental disorders. Visit this website for more information.
  • Sit with her as she calls for professional help with postpartum disorders. If necessary, make the phone call yourself.
  • Give her time to herself. Let her shower or nap, and change all the baby’s diapers (at least most of them).
  • Play with your older children, care for them, and help them be included.
  • Guard her healing time by helping her set, and keep boundaries.
  • Take over the household chores.
  • Encourage Mom to rest, follow the 5-5-5 rule; 5 days in bed, 5 days on the bed, and 5 days near the bed. Visit this website for more information.

One of the things I love most about birth is that it is an incredible opportunity to strengthen familial bonds. When I gave birth to my second daughter, my husband became my coach, my cheerleader, and my teammate. That experience has become foundational in my relationship and my marriage.

Best of luck moms and dads!


*Susan Joy is a Doula and Birth Documenter serving the families of Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, Queen Creek, San Tan, and other cities in the East Valley. The information presented here is not medical advice. All medical decisions should be made after discussion with your medical provider.*

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