Is a Doula a Birth Coach?
As an Oklahoma City doula, I get a lot of questions from those unfamiliar with birth work about what exactly I do to help families.
A pretty common questions is, “Is a doula like a birth coach?”.
What is a Coach?
If you look up the definition of a coach in the Merriam Webster dictionary, It would tell you that a coach is “one who instructs or trains”. Interestingly enough, when I looked on the Merriam-Webster website, it mentions the term birth coach!
What does a Doula do?
As a doula, I provide informational, emotional, and physical support during the pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum journeys. I help expecting parents prep for their birth journey by providing empowering resources that compliment their birth goals. During 35-37 weeks of pregnancy, I go over an entire list of birth preference options. During this meeting, as well as all throughout pregnancy, expectant parents can ask me about all their different options. For example, “Should I get an epidural or not?”. I provide them with unbiased, evidence-based information so that they can make informed choices and then support them fully in those choices.
Is a doula a birth coach?
If a Coach instructs and trains, a doula could possibly be considered a birth coach. Doulas prepare you for birth by teaching you about the physiological process of birth. We enhance your knowledge by recommending and referring you to classes, books, and videos about birth, breastfeeding, newborn care, and postpartum.
Another resource stated that coaches “improve a team’s performance and an athletes skill by developing practice drills and conditioning sessions”. This is entirely possible with a doula. If you consider a couple as a team, a doula can assist in enhancing the couples ‘performance’ or birth experience by supporting the birthing person’s partner with prenatal education and emotional support during the birth. It is a top priority to me as a birth doula to empower the partner of my doula client. When they feel supported, they feel empowered, and when they feel empowered they can support the birthing person with all of their love and understanding.
Furthermore, when it comes to “practice drills and conditioning sessions”, doulas can assist with these as well! I encourage clients practice mindful breathing prior to their labor experience so that when the big day comes, they find comfort and routine in their mindful, powerful breathing. I also teach my doula families about helpful positioning and movements that can encourage a baby into the proper position to potentially avoid back labor & make birth shorter!