Coach: yells the plays, runs up and down the sidelines, knows the rules and the game plan.
Partner: supports, offers encouragement, is present
Our society puts a lot of pressure on the significant other (S.O.). We expect them to attend expectant parent classes, learn how to help mom relax, know the breathing techniques for every stage of labor and watch their baby come into the world.
I am a believer that the S.O. should be in the birthing room if that is what the couple wants. But many S.O.s are not meant to be a coach.
So, who should be the coach? Maybe a female relative or close friend, or maybe the nurse. Someone who is available to practice relaxation and breathing techniques during the pregnancy and knows mom well enough to be there for her during labor and birth.
I have been a nurse for 40+ years, worked labor and delivery, taught childbirth classes for 25 years, was a doula/labor support and post partum support. I remember the many times I talked about the role of the coach and saw the look of relief on the S.O. faces. And many told me that giving up the role of coach and being a partner during their child’s birth allowed them to relax and be totally there to support their partner and marvel at their child.
so, if you are pregnant right now, think about who fits these roles for you.