SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- When you hear "birthing expert" or "doula", you picture a woman. But what would you think if 'she' was a 'he?' Ivanhoe introduces you to a male doula ... who helps not just the mom-to-be, but the dad-to-be as well.
Welcome to the Rocking Dad's class. An introduction to the birthing experience, taught by ...
"I'm Brian Salmon, I'm the birth guy."
That's right. 46-year-old Brian Salmon is a birthing expert, known as a doula. He's a man in a woman's world, and it brings up a lot of questions.
"The biggest one is oh my god ... how would a woman want a male doula at their birth?" said Salmon.
But many do. Brian's classes are packed, and one main reason begins long before the delivery room. He helps dads get ready for their child's birth in the rocking dads class.
His sense of humor helps put these soon-to-be dads at ease, that and the fact that this birthing expert ... is a guy.
"I think he's a likable dude, and really brings a lot of comfort to the subject," Eval Avnon, an expectant dad, said.
His information is solid knowledge. Brian has studied biochemistry, physiology, and has a degree in radiology. One topic he teaches dads ... the benefits of breast feeding.
Salmon said, "The baby is getting antigens from mom, it prevents breast cancer, certain types of breast cancer in mom, certain types of uterine cancer in mom."
Clint Belew is a graduate of Brian's rocking dads class, he said, "I tell all my friends, you know, anybody that's having a baby coming up, I'm going hey you gotta go and see this guy cuz he's gonna change your whole experience."
You can find Brian's 'birth guy' videos on-line, along with a lot of other information at thebirthguy.com. And to become a birth doula yourself, go to dona.org.
Contributors to this news report include: Shari St Clair, Field Producer; Brogan Morris, Assistant Producer; Bruce Mansicalco, Videographer; and Brent Sucher, Editor.
BACKGROUND: Doula is Greek for women's servant. The American Pregnancy Association defines a doula as a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother who is expecting, is experiencing labor, or has recently given birth. There are labor doulas, antepartum doulas, and postpartum doulas. The most common is the birth doula. The doula-client relationship usually starts a few months before the baby is due so that a comfortable relationship is established. The mom-to-be should feel free to ask questions, talk about concerns, and help partake in her birth plan. Doulas don't provide medical care but are very knowledgeable in a variety of medical aspects regarding labor and delivery. During the delivery, the doula is close to the mother the entire time. They provide comfort with different pain-relief techniques. These techniques include breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, massages, and labor positions. Doulas are a strong advocate for the mother, but offer reassurance to the partner and encourage participation. After birth, the doula will often spend time on the breastfeeding process with mothers and help the bonding development between the new born baby and other family members. A recent Cochrane Review (Continuous Support for Women during Childbirth) showed a very high number of positive birth outcomes when a doula was present. Women are also less likely to have pain-relief medications and less likely to have a cesarean birth when a doula is present.
BRIAN SALMON: Brian Salmon has two daughters of his own, Eva who is nine and Daisy who is five. Both of his children were born by emergency caesarian delivery. Brian helped with his first birth at 19 years old and said he knew this was his calling. Most doulas are female, but Brian Salmon is a male doula, and he says it can bring up a lot of questions. But his classes are successful and his knowledge is solid. He studied biochemistry, physiology, has a degree in radiology, and is a certified lactation counselor. Salmon offers Rocking Dads classes, Couples childbirth classes, and breastfeeding classes. The Birth Guy's website describes the Rocking Dad's class as "a course that takes fathers to be or brushing up fathers through the journey of understanding pregnancy, stages of labor, birth plan, breastfeeding, and much more." The couples childbirth class, or Facilitating Fearless Birth, helps moms and dads learn everything about all aspects of birth. There are hands-on exercises to help with pain-coping, labor positioning and rebozo work. To learn more about The Birth Guy and the classes offered, go to thebirthguy.com.
BECOME A DOULA: To become a doula you must receive your certification. There are many websites that offer this training and each has different requirements. Here are a few:
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