Doulas DO NOT Replace Your Birth Partner

Partner touching laboring mother's shoulder.
Photo by The Statesville Doula

"Will you replace me in the birthing room?" "What will I do if you're there?" are questions that get asked frequently, mostly by the birth partner. It is one of the biggest reasons there is hesitation in hiring me, at first. I think this topic warrants a discussion.

It is a good question and one that perhaps requires a detailed answer to. The short story is that NO, your doula WILL NOT replace your birth partner; they will not replace you, birth partner.

Let us first talk about what a doula is. Doulas are trained professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a birthing person and their family before, during and shortly after childbirth to help them achieve the optimal birthing experience possible, unique to them. This is done through prenatals, mini childbirth education classes, hands on comfort support, and more. The goal of a doula is to empower the family to empower and advocate for themselves. The more we discuss and practice, the more prepared the family will be, and the more empowered they will feel to do the work on their own.

Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, the doctor or nurse will recommend something, and it sounds "matter of fact" and not so much a question. This is where your doula can say "Client, do you have any further questions you want to ask before deciding?" This turns the pressure off of answering and allows you the opportunity to advocate for yourself.

The Statesville Doula offering hip squeezes to laboring mother.
Photo by Mindi Joy Photography

So with that being said, let us begin with the long story. Your doula knows birth. We know the process. We know about procedures and when they are most likely used. We know labor progression and I am about 97% accurate on when it's time to go to the birthing location (the times I've been wrong, the birthing person was further along than we suspected!). We also know the birth you desire, the outcome you want. We know the role your partner wants in the b