I’m happy to report that I’ve never had a partner say after the birth that he felt left out. I think that’s because, like most doulas, I make an extra effort to include the primary partner in everything. For example, I gently suggest things he may want to do to help you. I also communicate to him what I’m doing and why. I pay attention to his body language to help make sure he is comfortable with what we’re doing, and if he seems not to be, I talk to him about it.
Sometimes I sense that I need to stand back and let him do whatever he needs to with you alone, and that’s the time I step out to use the restroom or get a drink or just stand in the hall for a few minutes.
It’s important that the three of you sit down before your birth and discuss everyone’s role expectations. A doula is certainly not there to replace your partner but to support him as he supports you.