Many families are hesitant to hire a doula because they are afraid that the doula is going to take the dad's place. A good doula wouldn't dream of it outshining a dad. A doula's job in supporting a mother is to help the Dad know what to do and when. And how. Then to give him the tools and opportunity to do it.
Things you might hear a doula saying to a dad:
"Try pushing on her hips just a little higher..."
"What do you think about taking her outside to walk? I think she might like some fresh air."
"I will hang with her while you get something to eat."
Which brings me to the topic of dads needing to eat and go pee. I have often seen a good dad stick by his woman, contraction after contraction, hour after hour, until he is pale in the face, shaking and sweating. Not weak from the work of supporting his woman but because he has't eaten or gone to the bathroom in 8 hours. He doesn't want to leave her alone. With a doula he doesn't have to. I often have to shoo these dads away, insisting they go take care of themselves. They go home, eat, change clothes, let the dog out and come back to the birth room a new man, recharged and ready to give their woman the best they've got.
This man may have been tense and uncomfortable for hours, worrying that the dog is going to make a mess on the carpet, trying to ignore a caved-in stomach and fighting the urge to pee. They later tell me they felt guilty taking care of themselves while their wife was so uncomfortable and clinging to their shoulders with a death grip. They thank me and claim that one act was worth the whole doula fee.
The most important thing to remember is that a tense, worried, hungry, uncomfortable person is not good labor support. Moms in labor pick up on tension and fear like a sponge. Doulas support dads and reassure them in every moment. We say, "This is totally normal, it will pass in a few seconds." Or conversely in a situation that is difficult, "Look her in the eyes, talk to her, this might get intense."
With doulas, there is no baggage, no chatter, no judgement. Just neutral, professional, experienced support to support your man, and help you two, as a team, have the best birth possible.