About Daddies and Doulas

One of the most common concerns families have when they are considering hiring a doula is:

“Will a doula replace the role of Dad?”

And my emphatic answer is always “Not in any way.”

Regardless of the role the father wants to play during birth, a doula will never replace the importance of the Dad’s presence at the birth. Dads have a special relationship with the laboring mother and know her better than any other person on the birthing team. They can provide a hug, a kiss, and those special loving words of encouragement that will help a mother during labor. They share the journey that brings their child into the world together.

Dad and Shelley help mom through a contraction

Dad and Shelley help mom through a contraction

On the other hand, Dads do not always feel comfortable with the medical aspect of birth. They may be uncomfortable around medical staff, or not know which questions to ask. They may be concerned about “remembering” all the comfort measures they learned in Childbirth Classes, or knowing when to suggest which techniques. That’s where a doula can assist both the laboring mother and her family.

As a doula, my role is to assess the needs of each family, and provide encouragement, physical support, information, and reasurance during labor and birth. Sometimes a doula plays the “background” role in providing gentle suggestions to the mother’s partner, fetching ice and water, hot or cold packs, and making sure the mother has things to keep her comfortable. Sometimes a doula takes a more active role, providing comfort touch, assisting with relaxation and breathing strategies, or suggesting positions to facilitate labor. During long or particularly challenging labors, a doula can provide needed breaks for the father, so that he can rest, eat or just take a walk and “clear his head”.

As a doula, I do not replace anyone on the team, I am an added person to your team.

Here’s what some of my Daddy clients have said:

“Thank you so much for being there for us during Camille’s labor. We are sure that without your support, the labor and delivery would not have gone as it did. We are so happy that we included you in Sydney’s delivery and may have to bring you to Dallas for the next one!”
— Earl, dad to Sydney

“Shelley, I cannot begin to thank you enough for all you did. I am forever in your debt! Thank you so much for the birth of our child.”
— Tony, Dad to Emma, and now, Molly

“Thank you so much for all of your support during this exciting time. Carissa and I are so grateful for all that you have done. You will always be in our hearts.”
— Andrew, dad to Charlotte and Finley

“Your service and guidance were invaluable to us. Thank you for making our birth experience absolutely perfect. You are gifted at what you do.”
— Michael, dad to Nola

Happy Dad and his new baby girl, Sadie

Happy Dad and his new baby girl, Sadie

“When my wife Cynthia and I found out that people do more research when buying a car than when they have a baby, … we did some research! That research led us to our Doula, Shelley Scotka. Weeks before and during the birth process, Shelley, as an educated, unbiased, outside source, provided for my wife what I, as a husband could not! My wife had a sister and a mother who could not be in town because our sweet daughter came 3 weeks early. Shelley professionally and personally provided breathing techniques, different positions to feel the least amount of pain, and other somewhat vital options that we may have otherwise never known about. We wanted a natural birth with little to no pain medicine and as little risk as possible to baby Sadie, and Shelley did what she does best to made sure that we got just that! We will always remember her, especially her role in the awesome experience of the birth of our first child!”
— Aaron, dad to Sadie

Resources for Dads

How does a doula really make a difference?
Results from different studies have all suggested that having a doula reduces the overall cesarean rate by 50%, Pitocin use by 40% and requests for epidurals by 60%. The use of a doula also showed a major reduction in the length of labor due to fewer stress hormones being produced in the laboring woman’s body.

The Doula Book © 2002; Klaus, Marshall, Klaus and Kennell.