Five Key Differences Between Informative and Transformative Birth Support

Have you considered leading a prenatal or postpartum support process through questioning instead of providing information?
Are you ready to consider making a difference in your clients’ lives by facilitating a transformation rather than delivering information? The post-pandemic era gave way to a profound transformation, reshaping every feature of our lives and society. Shouldn’t new practices for birth support be ushered in? Let me show you five key differences between informative and Transformative birth support.

How Birth Support Evolved as Informative Practice

Since the seventies, birth support professionals such as educators and doulas have all sought to educate and inform expectant persons about childbirth. We all followed Grantly Dick-Read, the founder of childbirth education, who coined the term “natural birth “, believing our role is to inform pregnant persons about the natural birth experience as the ideal one, leading them to aspire and achieve it.  

The post-pandemic transformation gives way to transformative practices for birth support 

Taking that our field has developed in the 70s, it’s not surprising that birth support practices have evolved to rely heavily on delivering information, as this decade is often called the “informational era.” But what about the times we live and practice in? 

Transformative times call for transformational practices

The post-pandemic era gave way to a profound transformation, reshaping every feature of our lives and society. Our work environment, education, and social interaction modes have undergone radical shifts, accelerated by technological innovation and a reevaluation of priorities. This transformative phase is marked by a collective determination to build a future that is not only more scientific or technologic but is also more compassionate and forward-looking, with an increased focus on self-actualization. Shouldn’t new practices for birth support be ushered in?

Transformational times like these call for transformational strategies, especially for supporting those who go through the utmost transformation of becoming parents. Leading a transformational support process means partnering with someone to support them through a significant change that helps them grow, develop, and ultimately “rewrite their reality.” Transformational coaches engage clients in powerful conversations to examine everything that could serve that transformation, including one’s life circumstances, past experiences, cultural beliefs, influencers, and values that may be catalysts or hinder the significant change.

Pregnant individuals are transforming into designated adults in their kids’ lives; the support process should facilitate this transformation

I can’t teach you these new strategies with a blog post. If interested, you can join my membership program to become a Transformational Birth and Postpartum coach. But I can show you five ways to distinguish between informative and transformative birth support.

Critical differences between informative and transformative birth support

  1. Increasing performance level vs. increasing knowledge
    Transformational coaching increases clients’ performance or the way they conduct themselves. It can increase confidence or accountability, improve self-care, and so on. In contrast,  informational conversation increases clients’ knowledge and understanding. Informing allows an increase in knowledge instead of a change in one’s mindset or personal growth. As a result, expectant individuals may comprehensively understand the process of childbirth and yet not be ready to go through labor or conduct themselves through challenging moments of the experience.
  2. Asking questions vs. fact-sharing
    Coaches lead with powerful questions rather than facts-sharing, a practice known to birth support pros as sharing evidence-based information. It’s not wrong to share information in a transformational process, but it is proceeded by questions we ask the clients, inviting them to find the answers from within. The facts we share are related to our client’s beliefs, values, and resistance. The process is being reversed as the transformative professional relies mainly on result-oriented questions to allow the client’s transformation.
  3. Competency vs. Shortage
    Transformational coaches assume clients’ competency and expertise. The basic assumption is that people are experts in their lives, and the coach’s role is to help them overcome internal resistance. On the contrary, educators are experts who assume a shortage of knowledge and understanding that needs to be filled with factual information.

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  4. Partnership vs. authoritative role
    Transformational birth support coaches establish partnerships with their clients, while educators position themselves as experts in birth support and therefore are authoritative. An authoritative position of an expert reduces the other person’s confidence in themselves and what they know, while a partnership manifests equality and trust. Because pregnant individuals are transforming into designated adults in their kids’ lives, the support process should facilitate this transformation by displaying faith and trust in those individuals.
  5. Accountability vs. Theory
    Coaching conversations result in clients’ higher accountability levels for their desired birth and postpartum experiences. We’ve known for many years that knowledge doesn’t lead to behavior change. For example, we all know daily exercise and abiding sugar to be essential for our health. Do we change our behavior accordingly? An informative conversation is theoretical and doesn’t promote behavioral change or action-taking. In contrast, the transformational discussion always ends with a call to action, which fosters commitment and increases one’s accountability level to what one wants.

If you’re inspired to learn how to lead those undergoing their childbearing process with transformational strategies that genuinely help you make a difference in people’s lives? I invite you to take action:


Neri Life-Choma

childbirth education, coaching, doula profession, natural birth

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