The Labor Lady

A better birthing experience

Kenosha, WI


I am a DONA International certified birth doula – I provide both prenatal education before labor, and emotional and physical support to a mother and her birth partner during labor.

The Evidence-based Void

You're an expectant mother. You have a solid partner and a good hospital. What could you be missing in terms of support?

Let's examine: We're asking fathers, most of whom have never been in a birthing ward since they themselves were born, to become subject matter experts on all things birth canal-related, AND be the sole source of support for the vulnerable mother-to-be. In no other area of the hospital is a family member asked to take on such a significant caretaking role as in childbirth. 

It's a common perception of expectant parents that they don't need the support of a doula because in addition to the father/birth partner they will be able to utilize the hospital staff: their doctor and the nurses on duty. 

A study conducted focusing on women's expectations of their nurse during labor showed that women expected their nurse's time to be spent like this:

  • 29% giving emotional support and physical comfort;
  • 24% giving information and advocating for the mother's wishes;
  • 21% time monitoring the mother, baby, and labor progress;
  • 21% doing other clinical nursing tasks related to the mother's birth; and
  • 5% conducting indirect clinical tasks out of the room.* 

In reality, nurses are able to spend less than ten percent of their time giving supportive care.*

Nurses have so many responsibilities, and despite the fact that they care greatly about their patients, the system does not typically allow them to spend more time giving supportive care (emotional support, informational support, or physical support). 

Overwhelmed fathers. Overworked nurses. 

All of this information can feel discouraging if there was no solution. Thankfully there is: hire a doula. :)

*Source: Amy L. Gilliland, Ph.D., BDT (DONA). The Emotional Support Reality for Nurses: Research Review

Daddies + Doulas, A Dynamic Duo

It is common for daddies-to-be to have hesitations in hiring a doula. This feeling is totally understandable. In fact, my husband felt this way when I was pregnant.

If the birth partner is a hands-on type of person and wants to have an active role in birth, then the idea of a doula can feel threatening. The last thing the birth partner wants is to feel bossed around or overshadowed.

But do you want to know the really cool thing about doulas? We want daddies to be the heroes too!

My job is to support mothers, oftentimes by supporting the fathers, whether that means serving as a gopher fetching needed staples like water, food, or wash cloths, or giving daddies tips on how to rub the laboring mother's back just right to help relieve her contractions... or simply sitting on the sidelines in case a backup or extra ideas are needed. 

The following is a testimonial straight from the mouth of a daddy I had the pleasure of working with recently: 

"When my wife told me she first wanted to have a doula, I was mildly apprehensive. I didn't know what it would be like having a someone in the room during such an intimate moment. In fact, it was incredible having Mary there! Mary was involved when we needed her to be, and a fly on the wall when she was not needed. Mary was someone to bounce questions off of, and get advice from.  Her presence allowed me to take a break, while continuing a high level of support for my wife. Mary was someone who had been there, who had our best interest at heart. It was simply invaluable to have her there with us throughout the whole ordeal. Looking back on the whole experience, having Mary there, was like having my own personal assistant, another helping hand, and a teammate." 

The Labor Lady  – Mary Manthei CD(DONA) |  262.496.8822  | Kenosha, WI    

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