Whether you keep up with Hollywood news or not, you’ve probably heard mention of reality star Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy. Understandably, she’s trying to maintain some privacy during this special time. We did learn, however, that she’s planning on attending Lamaze childbirth classes (!) based on recommendations from her pregnancy coach. We talk a lot about labor and birth doulas on the Giving Birth with Confidence blog, but we haven’t discussed the role of the pregnancy coach. Not everything that the stars do is accessible to the average person, but a pregnancy coach is, and may be helpful for families during their pregnancy.
A pregnancy coach – also referred to as a pregnancy mentor, a pregnancy doula, a pregnancy wellness coach, or a pregnancy health coach – is a trained and/or certified professional who has experience and education in a variety of subjects pertaining to pregnancy and childbirth. A pregnancy coach may be trained in nutrition, wellness, prenatal fitness, childbirth preparation, emotional support, general pregnancy wellness, prenatal health, breastfeeding, parenting, postpartum health, infant and child gear, and more. The types and costs of services offered by a pregnancy coach vary. Some offer support throughout pregnancy, while some offer consultation services as needed.
What Does a Pregnancy Coach Do?
While specific services may vary between pregnancy coaches, in general, families will likely receive the following:
- Guidance early in pregnancy (or in pre-pregnancy) on choosing a care provider (doctor, OB, midwife)
- Tips on or an individualized plan for pregnancy nutrition
- Counseling on and options for prenatal exercise
- Access to a carefully curated list of both local and online pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum resources
- Help and support with processing fears, trauma, or other emotional distress surrounding pregnancy, birth, and parenting
- Addressing common pregnancy discomforts, like nausea, sleep issues, and body soreness
- Finding a quality childbirth class
- Information to navigate the plethora of decision making points during prenatal visits and in childbirth
Why Hire a Pregnancy Coach?
Many families and women report feeling “overwhelmed” by pregnancy. The newness of it all and the multitude of decisions and information being thrown their way can quickly engulf even the most organized and level headed people. Similar to hiring other support services in life – from therapists and life coaches to lawyers and realtors – a pregnancy coach serves as a guide, resource, sounding board, and expert to help you not only “get through” and endure pregnancy, but enjoy it! Childbirth classes are an essential part of part of birth and parenting preparation, too, but because they are usually reserved for later in pregnancy, there is a gap in the resources and support need for the many things people encounter early on in pregnancy. This is where someone would benefit from a pregnancy coach. Individuals and couples hiring a pregnancy coach could benefit from:
- Having a healthier pregnancy
- Finding more comfort in pregnancy
- Being better prepared for birth
- Being better prepared for early parenthood
- Saving money on unnecessary pregnancy and baby gear purchases
- Closer bond with their child during pregnancy
- Reduced stress
- Receiving evidence-based resources to make the best decisions in pregnancy and childbirth
How to Choose a Pregnancy Coach
There isn’t a specific pregnancy coach certification, but there are many certifications that a pregnancy coach may hold that will serve families well. Look for experience and certifications in childbirth education; labor, birth, or postpartum doula; breastfeeding consultation; counseling; and prenatal nutrition and/or fitness. Spend time talking with and interviewing a potential pregnancy coach before hiring to determine how they will match with your personality and if their experience will be able to meet your needs.