Doula is for Dad, Too!

The following is a student blog post by Dawn Bollhoefer

Doula is for Dad, Too!

Labor and birth aren’t just challenging for Mom, but Dad can and does have his share of negative thoughts alongside the positive ones. Having a labor support person (doula) during labor and birth can help to significantly alleviate Dad’s worries and fears. 

Let’s face it…most dad’s aren’t experts when it comes to labor and birth. A two to twelve hour childbirth education class is not enough to help a dad navigate not only his wife and what she is going through, but also all the medical jargon, the medical staff, and all the possibilities that can come up in labor. He isn’t trained in relaxation techniques or how to turn a malpositioned baby, he probably has no idea what that even means or how it can affect outcomes.

Dad needs to be concentrating on supporting his wife. He needs the freedom to be her best encouragement. In the book, Silent Knife, Cesarean Prevention & Vaginal Birth After Cesarean by Nancy Wainer Cohen & Lois J. Estner, they make this statement: 

“Asking your mate to be your sole “coach” is like asking an accountant to be a carpenter or a dentist to be a belly dancer. Labor support is an art that requires experience, sensitivity, knowledge, and objectivity. While your mate might be knowledgeable and sensitive, his experience with labor is limited at best, and his objectivity during labor and delivery may be obscured by his own intense personal involvement. His sensitivity to you and his inexperience my cause him to make or support decisions that are not in your best interest.”

Having a doula brings in that objectivity and knowledge, as well as experience and a deep sensitivity for a laboring mother and father. She can relieve dad from the simple tasks that need accomplished so that he can be fully present for his wife and her needs. A doula will seek to inform you prior to labor and help you to decide on the type of birth you want to have and then help you to achieve that, even when things might not seem to be going as planned. A doula can gently guide Dad into a more supportive role. She is often able to listen better to Mom and then help Dad to meet that need for Mom. In the face of difficult situations, the doula can help them to understand the issue and instruct them about what might be happening due to that situation. She can be there for Mom should baby need Dad to come with him/her, helping to alleviate his feeling pulled in different directions.

Dad’s need doulas, too. They aren’t there to replace Dad in the birth room, they are there to support both Mom and Dad and to help them have the best birth they can. Having a doula to help guide Dad and give him the tools to be a supportive partner can be one of the best things you can do for Mom.

My name is Dawn Bollhoefer and I am a Birth Doula. I began this journey just over 13 years ago after attending the homebirth of a dear friend. I didn’t realize it at the time, but just a few years later my own daughter began having her babies at home and I found that I really enjoyed helping her through her labor and delivery. From there it expanded to other moms and I knew that I had found my calling. I would love to help you through your journey, too!

You can get more information at or visit my blog at

All student article posts are the expressions of the student who wrote them. We do not take responsibility for the content, these are done as part of the educational experience and we try to encourage students to use their voice and learn to connect with clients through blogging and social media.
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