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Doula VS Coach; Either, Neither or Both?

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

While midwives, doulas and medical practitioners are a traditional part of many cultures through the planning, birthing and postpartum phases, fertility coaches, as well as health and wellness coaches, are also starting to grow in popularity.

While planning a pregnancy there will be many folks bursting with "helpful" information about things we "should" do (and things to avoid at all costs) if a healthy delivery is the goal.

We might hear a list of things we "should" buy, people you "should" allow in the delivery room, and the people you "should" have on a birthing team.

Cue confusing terms such as birth doula, birth coach, postpartum doula, fertility coach and health and wellness coach.

What Is A Doula

Having a doula in the delivery room is increasingly common — and for good reason. But is it for everyone?

The word “doula” comes from a Greek word meaning “one who serves”.

Doulas are trained, non-medical professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to birthing individuals before, during and after childbirth, to facilitate the best possible birth experience.

Doulas typically meet with a birthing person (and sometimes a partner or family) during pregnancy to help prepare for childbirth, build rapport, manage expectations, and provide evidence-based resources.

In most cases in the US, a doula is there for support during and in the moments directly after labour but it's possible to choose one to accompany different moments not only along the pregnancy journey but your path to parenthood.

Types Of Doula’s

Fertility Doula

A fertility doula is a trained professional who provides preconception support to folks and partners as they follow their path to parenthood, however that may look.

A fertility doula may bring non-medical, non-judgmental informational, emotional, and physical support around the preconception phase of a journey.

Just as birth brings options for choices, so does the path to conception. For folks just beginning their conception journey, a fertility doula may provide evidence-based information on tracking and charting fertility as well as holistic resources that may provide support along the way.

Birthing Doula

The presence of a doula can be beneficial no matter the type of birth. Many pregnant people report needing fewer interventions when they have one.

The main role of a doula is to help birthing individuals have a safe and pleasant birth–not to help choose the type of birth.

For folks who have decided to have a medicated birth, a doula may provide emotional, informational, and physical support through labour.

Doulas work alongside birthing folks to help deal with potential side effects.

For folks facing a cesarean, a doula may be helpful by providing constant support and encouragement.

Often a cesarean results from an unexpected situation leaving folks feeling unprepared, disappointed, and lonely.

A doula can be attentive to the birthing individual at all times throughout the cesarean.

Postpartum Doula

Postpartum doulas may provide support in the first weeks after birth. They provide

informational support about feeding and caring for the baby.

They may provide physical support by assisting with cleaning, cooking meals, and filling in when a new parent needs a break.

They may provide emotional support by encouraging the birthing parent when they feel overwhelmed.

Some doulas have training in more than one area and are able to serve as more than one type of doula.

Benefits of a doula

The benefits of having a doula will depend on the reasoning behind considering a doula.

Some folk may want someone who makes them feel comfortable and who they know and trust during labour.

A doula may be part of a birthing team, alongside ar birth partner, or if as the birthing parent there may not be a suitable support system.

While some folks may want someone who will get to know them well during pregnancy, as well as support them through labour.

Having this continuity of care and support may be especially important to folks if they don’t see the same midwife during their antenatal appointments.

Why Morgan Clary Opted For a Doula

We had our 1st meeting with our Doula at 31 weeks!

I was really looking forward to it because, to much of your surprise, I’m not much of a researcher.

If I start researching, I’ll go down a rabbit hole & never make a final decision on anything. So I rely a lot on our friends’ & family's suggestions. Just like we did with the Doula we chose.

We are so excited to be working with Amanda at Southern Charm Doula Services.

We did our initial Zoom with her in February & immediately knew it was a perfect fit. It was important to me to find someone who I felt comfortable with & trusted because we will be heavily relying on her throughout our first pregnancy & labour experience.

But we spent 1.5-2 hours going over so many exciting topics. We are also doing our hospital’s virtual childbirth class, but it’s not the same being on a Zoom with 20 other people as it is sitting 1 on 1, face to face with our Doula.

She started off by asking how I & Steve are feeling currently & how we are feeling about my upcoming labour.

It was so much information but I actually feel like I comprehended so much of it. Both Stephen & I felt much more educated & confident when she left.

Now we are counting down the days till our next meeting with her at 36 weeks & 5 days!

What Is A Coach?

What Is The Difference Between a Coach And a Doula?

The main difference between childbirth doula is often the physical support that often accompanies their work.

Coaches may not have formal childbirth training unless the coach has sought this training out separately.

A doula is often far more hands-on and intimate than the work a coach does. A doula helps a birthing person to inform them about their options and develop a birth plan with their values and wishes—then when it comes time for the event, they are there alongside them and perhaps their family as the transition of childbirth happens.

Sometimes if a person is single or doesn't have any good emotional support, a doula can make all the difference for them to feel safe.

They help to increase positive, safe outcomes by advocating for the birthing person to medical staff and just providing overall physical, emotional, and even spiritual support.

Many doulas may meet with the family once or twice more after childbirth, but oftentimes after the event, they are no longer involved.

There are also designated postpartum doulas who will cook, clean, act as night nurses, taking care of the baby, etc.

This is opposed to coaching, as most coaches are never at the main event, and their work is much more removed and not only focused around a specific event, such as birth.

Should I have a Coach And a Doula?

A remote Elanza Coach is very different from the service and support a doula may offer as doulas are often more hands-on.

A coach and a doula are often not covered by most insurances (some doulas are volunteers or are paid by government or non-profit funding) so this may play a factor in having either or both, ultimately the choice is up to the individuals involved.

An ELANZA coach may prove to be helpful when navigating the choice leading up to childbirth and may even assist in deciding whether a doula is right for you.

Types Of Coaches

What Is A Fertility Coach

A fertility coach, also sometimes referred to as a wellness coach is someone who offers holistic advice and emotional guidance to support folks on their fertility journey from both a physical and mental standpoint.

They may offer one-on-one support or online groups to help folks experiencing similar challenges.

Fertility coaches may fill the role of support and can offer help with ways to de-stress and help navigate through other choices and aspects of health relating to the goal of getting pregnant.

For those folks who have been trying to conceive for 6 or more months, a fertility coach may be a lifeline as they navigate options for medication and reproductive technology.

A fertility coach is often nonjudgmental and always in your corner - meaning folks can feel free to express their concerns and wishes without the pressures that can come from others.

Navigating options for infertility treatment can be overwhelming, as can finding supportive practitioners that are trustworthy.

A coach may be there every step of the way, helping evaluate options and tune into intuition as decisions are made, a coach may even be the ideal support structure to help work through, if and which type of doula may be helpful along your journey.

What Is A Birthing Coach

According to the Mayo Clinic's website, your birth coach is there to provide physical and emotional support to folks and their partner during the labour and delivery process.

The role of a birthing coach, as the Mayo Clinic explains, might include helping with breathing exercises, reassuring folks and encouraging, explaining what's happening during labour and postpartum, providing support, and even helping you with breastfeeding.

The very nature of a birthing coach lends itself to having a coach in the room during labour, although at ELANZA this is not something that offers, an ELANZA coach can help prepare for the emotional changes and challenges one might experience during the labour and birth.

What Are Some Questions That Come Up In Fertility Coaching?

The moment an appointment with a fertility doctor gets booked on a calendar is the moment our mind seems to run off in a billion directions—all leading back to a state of total confusion.

We are not to blame at all; it’s not our fault. After all, no one is truly prepared for this moment. It’s not something taught in school nor something we have been talking about our entire lives, like going to the dentist or getting our vision checked.

Here are a few questions that might be worth discussing with a fertility coach in a discovery session with an ELANZA Coach;

  1. What exactly is coaching?

  2. Who benefits most from coaching?

  3. Will I feel ‘different’ straight away?

  4. Is coaching suitable throughout my entire journey?

What Is An Elanza Coach

Some fertility coaches offer health advice such as nutritional intake, etc. but companies like ELANZA focus specifically on the emotional journey as it is can offer support, help with decision-making and the tools to reach those nutritional or health goals.

ELANZA coaches are board-certified health and wellness coaches allowing them to provide a more holistic service.

ELANZA coaching helps all folks understand and grow from where they are now and build towards where they want to be in the future.

While a fertility coach is designed to assist during a specific point in a journey, ELANZA Coaches are there for any and every stage of the journey.


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