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15 Weeks Pregnant: Partners and Doulas

“I am creating a birth team that fully supports me and my baby.”

A partner may wonder how a doula would help during labor, with concern about whether the doula might replace their role. Actually, a good doula enhances a partner’s involvement by helping both the birthing person and the partner feel more calm, confident, and supported. To understand how, let’s compare the roles of doula and partner.

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A birth doula is a companion who is very familiar with childbirth. The doula is like a childbirth educator, objective listener, and personal assistant wrapped into one. The doula learns what the pregnant person wants during pregnancy and strategizes individualized help for comfort and coping and reminders of all the tips and tricks learned during childbirth education classes. The doula does not make medical decisions or give opinions, yet can help the birthing family ask good questions of medical staff and make sure they understand their options.

Doulas typically meet with families at length prenatally, at least twice. This gives the doula knowledge of both your and your partner’s fears, joys, and hopes surrounding the birth when she attends your birth. The doula stays with you no matter how long or short your labor is and does not change shifts the way nurses and some care providers do. When you hire a doula, you hire a champion for you—someone who sticks with you no matter what.

Numerous studies show that continuous labor support improves outcomes for birthing parents and babies, including an increased likelihood of vaginal birth and shorter labors. The presence of a trained doula may also decrease the chances of cesarean birth, instrumental vaginal birth, pain medication use, and negative feelings about the birthing experiences. [1]

The partner knows the pregnant person best and offers intimate support. Often, intimacy is what the birthing person needs most from their partner—to simply feel their presence, affection, and support. The loving arms of the partner are often in use for hugging, holding, and rubbing limbs and back. The partner often benefits from a doula’s suggestions of how to best help their loved one. There is room for both the doula (birth expert) and partner (love).

Seek a mature doula that respects the choices you’ll make for your birth. It’s important the doula knows how to nurture your primary relationships. The doula is able to come forward or sit back as needed, so that others who are supporting you have their time to shine. The doula certifying organization called DONA is a great place to begin your doula search. Spinning Babies considers The Birth Partner, by Penny Simkin, an essential read for partners.

Spinning Babies Activity of the Week

Relieve pelvic pain with ball squeezes. Get a child’s toy or an adult physio ball. The best size ball is one that you can grip in your hand without dropping it.

  1. Squeeze and release the ball with your knees in rhythm with your breath.
  2. Inhale normally and keep your knees soft, but don’t let the ball fall.
  3. Exhale normally, squeeze the ball. Don’t squeeze hard, just firm.
  4. Repeat 5-10 times.
  5. Move the ball from between your knees to between your thighs.
  6. Repeat the squeeze pattern. If you are sitting, make sure to sit on the front of your sitz bones, back lifted, shoulders open. Chin down a bit, back of your head high.
  7. Practice three times per day.

Tip: Try this before or after each meal to help create a routine around this helpful daily exercise.

Early in pregnancy, do the ball squeeze on the floor with a modified half bridge.

Later in pregnancy, sit on a chair and put the ball between your knees.

Your Baby This Week

At 4-5 inches long and 2.5 ounces in weight, your baby now appears fully formed, though its skin translucent and thin.

The baby at 15 weeks gestation has 16 movement patterns. [2]

You This Week

You might begin noticing increased libido, though not all pregnant people experience this second-trimester change. Your baby will be oblivious to sex and remains perfectly safe during lovemaking.

Weekly Affirmation

Affirmations are short, powerful statements that can affect your conscious thoughts. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly, and repeat the following to yourself each day throughout the next week. Fill yourself with breath and feel the joy:

 

“I am creating a birth team that fully supports me and my baby.”

Spinning Babies®

Doulas enjoy the Spinning Babies® Workshop where they learn how to help support favorable positions for you and baby to ease birth. Send your doula a link to Spinning Babies® Workshops at SpinningBabies.com/Events/.

Spinning Babies® Parent Class video makes a great gift for your doula as well as education to protect your desire for a vaginal birth.

References

  1. http://www.cochrane.org/CD003766/PREG_continuous-support-women-during-childbirth
  2. De Vries, J. I., Visser, G. H., & Prechtl, H. F. (1982). The Emergence of Fetal Behaviour. I. Qualitative aspects. Early human development, 7(4), 301-322.
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