A Doula will not take over your partner's role during the birth (unless you want them to of course)!
Birth can be a stressful time for Dads/Partners as they are expected to have an understanding of the labour process, medical procedures and hospital policies, be an advocate for mum AND attend to mum's emotional and physical needs... how overwhelming!!
By having a Doula present to take on many of these responsibilities it allows a dad/partner to have options and choices, they also feel safe and supported and are therefore a more effective support to the birthing mother, as well as having a much more enjoyable birth experience.
I know what a sacred experience birth is between a couple from my own experiences and it is something that I am extremely conscious of protecting for the couples that I support.
Every person that is part of your birth team has the power to impact your labour...so you need to think carefully who you give that power to.
There are a number of reasons that a Doula will be a greater benefit to you in labour than a family member or friend and I discuss these in depth in my blog but to sum it up:
A Doula does not have the same emotional attachment to you that a family member or friend does and is therefore able to remain objective and effective.
A Doula also respects that birth is such an incredibly special time for a woman and her partner and is less likely to unintentionally intrude or make your partner feel "replaced".
This will likely depend on the experience that the caregiver has had with Doulas in the past.
Let me preface this by saying that whilst there are some Doulas out there who are very anti-medical, I am not one of them.
I think that we, as birthing women, are extremely lucky to have access to such advanced medical resources when they are needed and I have tremendous respect for the highly skilled Doctors and Midwives who provide such a high level of care (and it was actually the care that I received from some of my midwives that set me on the path to becoming a Doula!).
On top of that I have completed my training with a mentor who has been a midwife and childbirth educator for over 30 years and I specifically chose this form of training because of her background.
Whilst there are times that it is necessary for me to advocate for a birthing mum or ask questions to ensure that adequate information is being provided, I would like to think that any caregiver who has been present at a birth I am supporting would tell you that I am respectful and an asset to the birthing team, with my priority always being the best possible outcome for mum and baby.
Many caregivers will also attest that I am able to provide the physical, emotional and informational support that they are not always able to as they are often constrained by staffing levels, policies, time frames and situations that do now allow for a continuity of care. And of course many are often aware of the numerous other benefits of having a Doulas support (as recommended by the World Health Organisation).