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How does a prenatal education class prepare DAD for birth?

" I wanted to take a class but he wasn't really into it!" 

Taking a prenatal education class is definitely NOT just for moms.  Dads have a lot to learn and typically don't spend as much time during those 40 weeks of pregnancy reading up on cervical changes, contractions, and other birthy stuff. But, if they want to be there for you during labour then getting on the same page is a must! 

So how can a prenatal education class help to prepare Dad to have a positive experience with birth and to be a kick ass birth partner? 

Peterborough prenatal education Hello Baby

Taking a class helps Dads know what to expect.

You will be the one giving birth but the birth of a child is an important experience for Dad, too. It is 100% normal for him to be emotional watching you labour. Watching someone work that hard and dig that deep can be tough when your partner doesn't have a good understanding of how birth works!  This is even more true when Dad is not sure if what you are experiencing is normal or cause for concern. Once you have taken a class, you will both have a solid understanding of the basics of birth and what labour can look and sound like. A good prenatal education class should help to answer your questions and take some of the mystery out of birth.

Taking a class helps Dads learn new skills to help during labour.

If Dad is your main birth partner, he is going to need to know what he can do to help you manage those contractions when they start to get more and more intense!  Some of his regular day to day massage techniques might help but sometimes you will need more targeted touch.  Taking a prenatal education class together means that Dad will have a chance to practice some new skills (usually called comfort measures) with you so he will know where to rub, press and squeeze for maximum pain relief while you labour that baby down! Being able to offer this kind of hands on pain relief really helps Dad step into role as your birth partner. 

Being on the same page means Dad can help you make choices along the way.

 A big part of being a birth partner is understanding birth and the different options and choices you will come upon as labour unfolds. When you take a class together, you are going into birth on the same page. It is not uncommon to hear from a Dad that he felt out of the loop or uncertain about what was going on at different times during birth. A prenatal education class will give Dad the language and tools to be an active part of birth and to feel included.  

Prenatal education is for Dads, too!

If you think you want to take a prenatal ed class but your partner is sitting on the fence, let him know all of the amazing information and skills he could learn by coming to class with you! 

Why would DAD want a doula?
Those beautiful first moments after birth. Photo by Steph Hayes

Those beautiful first moments after birth. Photo by Steph Hayes

Doulas support the whole team

When we talk about doulas and dads we, of course, mean doulas and any/every birth partner on the team!  Doulas & Dads just sounds catchy but this discussion applies to every possible birthing couple out there.  Doulas are there to support the person giving birth but a big part of that role includes supporting the birth team as a unit!  Chances are birth partners, family members, and friends invited to attend the birth will all need some TLC along the way and that can be anything from an encouraging look to a full-out hands-on demonstration on how to help the person in labour.  Making sure everyone is cool, calm, and confident is just one way a doula keeps the room a positive and supportive birth space.

Photo by Steph Hayes

Photo by Steph Hayes

Doulas do NOT replace dads.

We will go on record and say that even if we wanted to, we could never replace you as the birth partner and the unique role you have to play during labour and birth.  Doulas don't replace dads, we are there to back you up!  We are both there in the birth room with the same goal - to support the person giving birth in whatever way we can, as well as we can, for as long as we can.  We come to birth with different skills and can make an amazing team.

At first I was hesitant of having additional people at our birth for fear of it being crowded , but it wasn’t the case....Having someone that has been to multiple births and only goal is to support your partner is a must.
— Jeff Newhouse

We know birth.  You know the person giving birth.

A doula's job is to know A LOT about birth.  We have studied and trained to make sure that we know as much as we can about the different scenarios, choices, options, and "what ifs" as possible so that you can be present knowing you have someone to help you make informed decisions if/when you need to. We have attended many births whereas, chances are, you may be attending your first!  We are able to draw from that experience and help you support your partner in ways you may not think of.  Your doula will be there to guide and prompt you through your partner's labour so that you feel confident in your role and ability to help her while she gives birth.  

Not really knowing what a doula is or what they do makes it hard to understand and justify a cost. I think most people assume the doctor or midwife fills not just the role of delivering the baby but also a pastoral role, that they take care of the person giving birth, that they’re the authority giving comfort and instruction. But having now been at three births, I realize this is not the case at all.”
— Matt Hayes
Photo by Steph Hayes - A doula can guide partners into positions that feel comfortable and secure

Photo by Steph Hayes - A doula can guide partners into positions that feel comfortable and secure

You, on the other hand, may not know as much about birth but you are the expert when it comes to your partner.  You know what they like, what they hate, their fears, hopes, and birth goals.  You have been with them through pregnancy and you will be there with them when baby is born and every day after!  You can help communicate for your partner in the thick of contractions.  You can offer your partner a level of emotional support that no one else can.

Preparing for a home birth, this Dad was able to keep things moving knowing his partner was comfortably labouring with her doula. Photo by Steph Hayes 

Preparing for a home birth, this Dad was able to keep things moving knowing his partner was comfortably labouring with her doula. Photo by Steph Hayes 

Tag! You're it.

Giving birth is hard work.  Your partner is going to need physical and emotional support from the first contraction to the last push and that can be very demanding on you as the birth partner.  Having a doula with you during birth means that we can flow back and forth with different types of support. At times, your partner may need to hear your voice and see your face to push through a difficult series of contractions.  While you are busy providing that reassurance and love, your doula can be providing massage, counter pressure, or applying hot or cool cloths.  At other times, your partner may need to switch it up.  You can take over the physical comfort measures while your doula talks you both through breathing or position changes.

Birth is hard work for everyone! Photo by Steph Hayes

Birth is hard work for everyone! Photo by Steph Hayes

Eventually, you are going to need to rest, eat, or go to the washroom!  Having a doula around is perfect for these times, too.  You can refresh and tend to your own needs knowing that your partner is never left alone to cope.

Photo of Steph Hayes supporting a Hello, Baby! birth doula client as she nears transition.

Photo of Steph Hayes supporting a Hello, Baby! birth doula client as she nears transition.

Options, suggestions, questions.

Often, birth partners can feel left out because there is a lot going on and no one is communicating to them.  A doula can fill that gap.  We have worked with your health care providers before and are familiar with different policies, terms, and timelines.  We can interpret and make sure that you feel able to ask questions and voice opinions as needed. Your doula can help you work through decisions and ease communication between you and your doctors or midwives if you need some help.  

My experience was judgement free and all of my questions were heard. That support in the room during birth is so helpful. It worked for us a reminder that we were seeing our birth plan through as closely as possible. It can be hectic and having more experience in the room (that’s not family) is grounding.
— Jeff Bray

The "Dream Team"

Photo by Steph Hayes - My hand one one should and her partner's hand on the other

Photo by Steph Hayes - My hand one one should and her partner's hand on the other

Having a doula on your team doesn't make your role less important; your doula allows you to focus on your partner and the birth of your child by holding space and offering support to you both.  When you and your doula work together, your partner is getting the best of both worlds and you can head into birth knowing that you are not alone.

If you want to know more about how a Hello, Baby! doula can help you and your partner during pregnancy, birth, and once baby is born CONTACT US!  We would love to work with you.

Spotlight on Sarah Susnar and Play Cafe

Community. Creativity. Coffee.

Hello, Baby! is lucky to have Sarah Susnar, owner and creative force behind Play Cafe Peterborough, as a community partner. Aside from being an entrepreneur and the hands and heart behind Play Cafe, Sarah Susnar is a wife, mother of 3 children, Early Childhood Educator (ECE) and a recently trained Birth and Postpartum Doula. 

Sarah Susnar and her three beautiful children.

Sarah Susnar and her three beautiful children.

It makes me feel good to be able to help families get through (especially during harder times) the week by coming in for a coffee and play date with friends. Parents often tell me they “don’t know what they would do without Play Cafe”. Now THAT makes me feel amazing!
— Sarah Susnar, Owner of Play Cafe

What makes Play Cafe so special?

Play Cafe has it all!  Free and guided play, yoga with Sonja Martin of Rooted Lavender, workshops with amazing community partners like Stephanie Reynolds and Hello, Baby!, support groups, and - of course - COFFEE!  Sarah opened Play Cafe to give caregivers and families a place to meet and connect while their children play in a safe and warm environment. Her passion for helping women and families with young children is wonderful to see and evident in the care and detail that goes into Play Cafe's programs and resources.

Peterborough doula Play Cafe

Go and get your play on!

Whether you are looking for a way to pass the time with your little ones, some "me" time, or to connect with some of the amazing educators and wellness professionals working in Peterborough, Play Cafe is somewhere you should explore!  Grab a friend and head over for a warm drink and some inspiration.  Sarah will be there to greet you with a smile and we bet it won't be long until you make Play Cafe one of your regular spots.

To connect with Play Cafe check out the website or the Facebook page!

Spotlight on Sonja Martin of Rooted Lavender
rooted lavender

A big part of preparing yourself for birth involves getting your mind and your body working together.  In this respect, the growing families of Peterborough are lucky to have Sonja Martin of Rooted Lavender as a part of our community.  Sonja is passionate and skilled in her work supporting women and children as they move through pregnancy into the life-long adventure of parenting.  

rooted lavender logo
Sonja Martin 2.jpg
I have been drawn to connecting and supporting others from a young age. My passion has been babies, mothering, breastfeeding and wellness. As I have completed yoga training and continue to learn and grow, so do my passions. I feel honoured to support families’ physical and mental health in a several capacities.
— Sonja Martin, Rooted Lavender

Sonja teaches several of her classes; including Infant Massage, yoga for children, Mindful Parenting classes, and so much more, at another Peterborough community hub, Play Cafe.  Her gentle nature and quiet confidence makes her an easy favourite with everyone she meets and her seemingly limitless energy and enthusiasm are amazing.

Sonja Martin Rooted Lavender
Competency, purity of intention, humility and authenticity to self and the moment...I work each day to stay connected to these pillars.
— Sonja Martin, Rooted Lavender

Sonja is a person who lives her teachings and Hello, Baby! is so lucky to have her as a community partner!  If you get a chance to take one of her beautifully crafted classes, we highly recommend it.  Visit her on Facebook or on her website for more information on her philosophy and her events.

Take Good Care ... Mind AND Body

Jenn & Steph