Montreal nurse offers birth coaching services
Finding out you’re going to be a parent is often one the happiest days in a person’s life. But pregnancy can also be a stressful time for women and their spouses. Enter Tanya Hobbs, a registered nurse turned birthing coach who aims to make the pregnancy journey easier.
Providing support to expectant moms
Hobbs created her company called MTL Birth Co., in April 2023 after a six-year stint as a labour and delivery nurse in Montreal. She offers two main services: private, customized pre-natal classes at home and birth coaching services, which involve being available to answer questions or concerns, and being present at the birth of the child. While she is the only employee in her new company, she does have a back-up nurse available on the rare occasion she cannot attend the birth.
The goal of starting this company, Hobbs says, is to provide parents-to-be with more personal care than Quebec’s health care system can offer. She said usually a pregnant woman has a family doctor or an OBGYN who she sees for pre-natal appointments. Her services offer more extensive one-on-one time with her clients, and she tailors her classes to the specific need of the parent. For example, a first-time parent doesn’t necessarily need the same information as a second-time parent. Someone who is planning a C-section doesn’t need the same information as someone who is having a vaginal birth.
“There’s really just this gap in maternity care, especially in Quebec,” Hobbs says. “A lot of parents, particularly first-time parents, are left with all these questions and concerns, and end up going to Google and social media for information and support. This is not always the best thing to do because there is so much misinformation and fear online related to birth and pregnancy.”
She adds that women need reliable sources of information, someone to help them emotionally, answer questions and help them prepare for a happy and healthy birth. Some of the common questions Hobbs says she gets include: How painful is labour? What are my options for pain management? What can I do prenatally to prepare for my birth? Should I go see a pelvic physio? What exercise should I be doing? what should I be eating? Am I going to tear?
She added that there are studies that indicate having a birth coach or doula can improve health outcomes for a woman and her baby. According to a Cochrane Library study published in the New York Times in 2019, women who hired doulas where less likely to use pain medication, have C-sections, and had better rates of exclusive breast feeding.
Hobbs also provides support for the non-birthing spouse. “I always encourage the spouse to take the pre-natal course as a couple,” she said. “During the birth, I’m there to make the expecting parents work as a team.”
Private pre-natal services
The cost of each service varies. Hobbs offers five, two-hour private pre-natal session at the person’s home. Clients can book one session for $195 or five for $875.
Session one would cover topics that include preparing for your baby and getting to know your body during pregnancy: physical changes to your body, stress management and what to expect during your doctor’s appointments, etc. Session two covers getting ready for labour: when to go to the hospital, how to pack your hospital bag, labour hormones and knowing the stages of labour. Session three covers pain management: how to mentally prepare for labour pain, pharmacological pain management techniques like epidurals, and helping baby navigate the pelvis, etc. Session four covers birth options: home vs hospital births and commonly offered medical interventions and learning about c-sections, etc. Lastly, session five covers the postpartum period, mainly learning about your postpartum body, your new role as a mom and how to deal with your first weeks at home, etc.
Birth coaching services
Hobbs offers three sorts of packages for her birth coaching services.
Her Bronze Package ($1,900) includes one private prenatal session, unlimited email/text/phone support throughout the pregnancy, attendance at the birth, and one postpartum email check-in. The Silver Package ($2,400) includes three private prenatal sessions, unlimited email/text/phone support throughout the pregnancy, attendance at the birth and afterwards (for up to two hours) to help with the first feeding, as well as a 45-minute of postpartum support session, held virtually.
Lastly, the Gold Package ($2,900) offers all five private prenatal session, unlimited email/text/phone support throughout the pregnancy, attendance at the birth and afterwards (for up to two hours) to help with first feeding, as well as one hour of postpartum support session.
Hobbs explains the higher cost for her birth coaching compared to services a doula would offer is because her services are more extensive. Doulas, while important, she says, are not licensed nurses, while she is certified with the Canadian Nurses association in perinatal care.
For more information, visit www.mtlbirthco.com.