Kristin Revere is a doula, wife, mother, speaker, entrepreneur, and recent author of "Supported: Your Guide to Birth and Baby.”

As an award-winning doula and businesswoman, Kristin has been an advocate and champion of women her entire career—and founding Gold Coast Doulas has been a significant part of it.

Gold Coast Doulas is a full-service doula agency providing a robust menu of services to meet the needs of growing families on the Gold Coast of Michigan.

The agency has a renowned course called "Becoming a Mother," which was the foundation for Kristin’s new book that she co-authored with Certified Sleep Consultant Alyssa Veneklase.

Packed with practical advice and evidence-based information, “Supported” is an indispensable companion to equip both new and seasoned moms with the knowledge and confidence needed to navigate every stage of motherhood.

Kristin and Alyssa wrote the book they would have wanted when they were pregnant, and it really is an all-encompassing guide that will support moms from pregnancy through the toddler years and beyond.

Glean some of this knowledge from Kristin firsthand by diving into our Q&A.


Q: Being pregnant at ages 36 and 38, did you have easy, healthy pregnancies?

A: I did have a textbook pregnancy with my first up until I got preeclampsia at 37 weeks. I worked with a nurse midwife group and delivered in the hospital but, through the pregnancy, I had no issues up until I hit 37 weeks. Then, I was on modified bedrest and I was getting non-stress tests consistently, and then I was induced at 39 weeks. My blood pressure had risen and there were other concerns about preeclampsia, so I had an induction.

I had done all of this planning to have an unmedicated birth, intervention-free. I took Lamaze classes. I didn’t know about doulas with my first (I hired doulas with my second). I went through a lot of anxiety being on bedrest and knowing that things were going to potentially need to happen.

But, I was very fortunate. I had very few interventions. My body responded to the membrane sweep, and then I only had a cervical ripener and I didn’t need Pitocin or an epidural. It was, for a first baby, a quick enough induction. But, my daughter was not responding well, so there was always that talk and concern of a surgical birth. So, there was stress of trying different positions and if she didn’t respond, then a cesarean would have been needed. But I was fortunate in that we tried different positions and I had a nurse that helped me get a birthing ball up onto the bed.

My daughter was posterior. So, she flipped and then all of a sudden I was ready to push. My nurse midwife had told me that she had already called in for a cesarean, so I sort of defied the odds there. But, I found out that the cord was wrapped around my daughter’s arm, and that was some of the reason for her not responding well on the monitors.

Q: What was the opening or introduction when you decided to change career paths and become a doula?

A: It was a slow transition. I had full-time jobs the first three years of my agency. As I started out as a doula, I joined a collective teaching classes through them. Then, I went on my own and started an agency in 2015. I always had a business partner up until recently. So, my partner and I divided up tasks. I was taking birth clients and teaching as well as running the business.

I worked for a political communications firm that gave me a lot of flexibility for the first portion of owning the business. Then, I transitioned to a nonprofit and did some fundraising for them at a women’s business center. Then, my business was making enough where I felt instead of putting money into the business, I could pay myself.

Q: What was it that made you realize you could do it and really want to do it?

A: So, after having doulas myself, I didn’t necessarily want to be a doula. I really loved teaching the pregnancy and childbirth classes. I thought that would be a hobby for me and I could help people have more understanding of their options in birth and the postnatal phase by being an educator.

My students started to ask me to become their doula, so I decided to go and take a four-day training in Florida. I started teaching immediately after I was trained, so I had this long relationship. My classes were eight weeks, so my students trusted me a couple hours a day for eight weeks. You know, having a doula at birth is so intimate, so they wanted someone they trusted. So, I took the training and thought I might take one of my students occasionally.

I wasn’t certain that I would enjoy the work because I don’t love hospitals. I attended my first birth and anything that I had fears of—whether it was blood or fluids or just being in the hospital—anything that could have happened did, and I had no issues and it was all about being in the moment and supporting women where they’re at and working within the system to make change. I wanted to work within the system and get to know administrators and make subtle changes that way and work as partners with the healthcare team.

So in starting the agency, we started small. We had six doulas and my business partner at the time who later moved out of state was the first hypnobirthing educator in Michigan. She was a former labor and delivery nurse. So we had some understanding of the hospital system, and we both brought our own clients into the business because they wanted to hire us again. We had a lot of repeats. So it was a slow transition. Now my agency has 26 contractors between educators, lactation, sleep consultants, birth doulas, day and overnight postpartum doulas. So it’s much bigger now.

Before I worked in politics, I sold advertising—so I worked in Yellow Pages, magazine, and radio. So, I was used to working with men and being in male-dominated industries. I am a driver personality, so it is not the typical doula—but it suits me well for running the business.

I did find that I needed the appreciation that I got from working in that unique field and I loved the excitement of working on campaigns. I worked on many campaigns, so that adrenaline rush. But you also get that with birth—whether it’s your own or supporting a birth. There are so many unknowns.

So I found that I needed to get respect in the business community because I went from working with a lot of men and in the professional sectors to being a woman doing woman’s work. Doulas weren’t really known. They were thought of as being hippies who weren’t wearing suits. So I started joining chambers and getting back into the business world and getting my agency, in particular—but doulas, on a broader scale—being known as part of the business community. I am vice chair of my business association in the neighborhood that my office is located in. It’s called East Town in Grand Rapids. I’m co-chair of that and very involved in the chamber. So I’ve tried to get a different level of credibility for the doula space.

Q: Were the women asking you to be their doula first-time moms or second-time moms who had less-than-amazing first experiences? How are you reaching first-time moms now in your practice?

A: My classes were an equal mix of first- and second-time moms. I even had some third- and fourth-time moms where the birth didn’t go as planned and they wanted connection. The class wasn’t just a childbirth class. There was a lot of discussion about relationships and how those will change—bringing partners into that class called Sacred Pregnancy, which I no longer teach. I now teach a Comfort Measures for Labor class, so it’s very couple-involved and still involves communication of what their needs are, what their thoughts for their birth will be, and how they plan to make choices for medical and nonmedical pain relief. Then we have our comprehensive hypnobirthing class. So I’ve definitely gone more mainstream than the Sacred Pregnancy conversations because it was so intimate talking about everything from body image to nutrition, bringing in different expert speakers during that time, fitness, we brought in a prenatal belly dancing instructor and talked about movement and getting your baby in a good position. So it was quite lovely. It was a unique connection and I’m still friends with many of the students to this day. Some of them contributed to my book that comes out on Mother’s Day.

Q: What inspired you, on top of everything you are doing, to write the book? What was the moment that it was conceived?

A: It all began with my former business partner, Alyssa. She is my co-author, and she and I created an online Birth and Baby Prep course called “Becoming a Mother” in the early stages of the pandemic when everything turned virtual. All of our classes went from in-person to virtual, and our clients were feeling isolated because women couldn’t gather in-person at that time. So, we decided it was time to create the course, and it is broken up into two parts.

Alyssa happens to be a sleep consultant. Both of us are newborn care specialists as well as postpartum doulas, and then I’m the childbirth educator and birth doula. So I talked a lot in the first half of the course—which still exists—on pregnancy and birth prep, and then Alyssa facilitates the newborn care end of things, postnatal planning, and gets into feeding and sleep. 

So we have live monthly calls. We had all of this content, but not everyone can afford our course—or maybe they are very late in their pregnancy and don’t have time to go through all the six modules with the expert videos—car seat safety technicians, mental health therapists, physical therapists, pelvic floor therapists. Understanding all of the birth and baby options. So the book is the same way but, again, more accessible and affordable. We’ll have an audiobook version, an e-version, and hardcover and paperback so people can consume it however they’d like to read their books or listen to them. We recorded the book ourselves. It was a labor of love.

We just want people to know their options because, if you don’t understand everyone that you can bring on to your birth and baby team, then you don’t get a repeat of that birth or that maternity leave and postnatal recovery time.

Q: Were you both on the same page, or was one person kind of leading the charge of deciding to go for writing the book?

A: I certainly encouraged Alyssa. I have a Journalism background and she’s also an excellent writer and my husband happens to be a publisher and editor, so he did the first edit of the book before we sent it to the publisher to edit. So the process—we worked independently and gathered stories together from clients.

So every chapter has a birth, baby, feeding, and sleep story in it from clients that we’ve worked with. Since doulas are not medical, we brought in medical experts to speak on topics that we weren’t qualified to. So, we have a pediatrician that contributed to the newborn procedure chapter, a mental health therapist who specializes in perinatal mood disorder who contributed to that section, a yoga instructor who is trained in so many different fitness modalities that gets into fitness options and restrictions to use based on the different choices for exercise in pregnancy and the postnatal phase.

Q: What do you think is most overlooked on the perinatal journey?

A: So much planning is done in setting up the perfect registry. Setting the nursery up, having beautiful photos, planning for showers. But it’s really planning for your birth and, in my opinion, the postnatal planning and maternity leave planning. Figuring out childcare options, how you want to parent together. That is even more important than planning for your birth.

So, we get into budgeting and, even the concept of our course came out of a presentation that we gave at a bridal expo because we wanted to reach families earlier when they’re just talking about starting a family and showing them what doulas are all about and understanding your options. So we compare the process in the book and in the course to planning for other life events—like all of the experts you bring in when you build a home or plan your wedding, and what are your priorities? Food, flowers, or photography?

For birth and baby, is sleep your biggest focus and do you want to hire an overnight postpartum doula or newborn care specialist or, as your infant gets older, hire a sleep consultant. Or is your focus having that support in pregnancy? Or, I work with a lot of athletes as a birth doula and they want to be able to run a marathon again. So they’re going to see a pelvic floor physical therapist and do things to make sure that they can get back to performance once their provider approves them to exercise again. It definitely can vary from individual to individual. Is this baby number five? How will this new pregnancy impact the other kids?

Grandparents are involved with childcare because we’re in a childcare crisis right now. So we have a grandparents class to prepare grandparents for even if it’s the occasional care giving—because so much has changed with sleep, feeding, baby gear, car seats. So it can be uncomfortable for our clients and for parents to relay all of the changes and it puts you in a sticky conversation. So they will often gift their family members this grandparents class, and then we come in as experts and show them all the changes, tell them about babyproofing their homes and all of the things.

Q: If we are so structured and scheduled and busy and booked in our culture, why aren’t we applying that structure and strategy to our births and postnatal phase?

A: Exactly. People are all about meal trains. During pregnancy, it’s all about the mother and then, all of a sudden, it’s all about the baby. So, if you get visitors, they want to hold your baby, they’re bringing gifts for the baby. The mother feels left behind and friends and family don’t want to talk through any birth trauma with you. So, if you don’t have a postpartum doula or a birth doula who comes for a follow up visit to process, then you’re left waiting for that six week appointment with your provider when you only have ten minutes to talk because everything else is an exam.

Q: What percentage of your clients are hospital versus home birth, and how do you talk through that decision with your clients or through your course?

A: We mainly work in the hospital—and that’s honestly where I feel we’re needed most. We do certainly support our clients wherever they choose to give birth, as long as they have a midwife with them. We don’t attend unassisted births. We do have some clients who choose to birth at home, but it’s not in the budget for everyone to hire a doula and to pay out of pocket and hire a midwife. So, that’s part of the reason that we work so few home births. I would say it’s maybe fifteen percent of the work that we do is in the home and the rest is in the hospital. We do have a birth center in my community that will be opening soon, but we haven’t had one in quite some time. So that isn’t an option. Our hospital has some birthing rooms, one of the larger hospitals in our area. So that is an option for people who want an unmedicated birth and certified nurse midwives to attend those

Q: If people want fewer interventions, what are your tips?

A: Aside from having a home birth, which I love attending. They are beautiful—and water births are an option. But for me, when I teach comfort measures or I’m talking to my birth doula clients, I talk about understanding your options. Again, even if it’s your second baby, take a comprehensive childbirth class like hypnobirthing or Lamaze—something that’s out of hospital. Because the hospital classes, unless they have a longer element, those weekend ones tend to focus more on understanding interventions, how to be a patient, and doing the hospital tour. There’s not enough time to really understand everything your body is going through and to have that partner involvement the way you could with hypnobirthing or gentle birth or Lamaze class

Doing preparation—if my clients want to breastfeed, taking a breastfeeding class before. Or, if they struggled with breastfeeding the first time, taking a class as a refresher. Then understanding. Hiring an expert like a doula is a fantastic way because doulas understand all of your options in a hospital. If it’s not medically necessary, you could delay or decline. What tools do you have in your hospital room like peanut balls, birthing stools, birthing balls, getting in the tub as a way to relax or to distract from any discomfort in labor, walking the halls. All of those options. Where the heat packs are and how to slow down potential interventions and ask questions.

We do go over birth plans or preference sheets and the importance of making sure your provider is on the same page as you during pregnancy, and then communicating what your needs are to your nurse if you don’t have a doula. We support whatever our clients choose to do. So, if a client originally wanted an unmedicated birth, and then all of a sudden wants to look at different pain management options, we will support that and can give them risks, benefits, and alternative to any potential intervention that is not medically urgent at that moment.

So if labor stalls, breaking the bag of water. What might be done? Could we try some positions and wait an hour if the baby is doing really well, or are they wanting to have the baby sooner and are fine with the fact that, if they don’t have an epidural yet, it might feel more intense with having the water broken?

Q: How do you see the future of birthing in America going?

A: I do feel like there is more understanding of the benefits of doula support even under the insured aspect of things because continuous support from a doula is shown to not only reduce intervention—which interventions end up costing more—but also increase satisfaction. Nurses and hospitals are busy. They are in and out and they are responsible for the life of the mother and the baby, where doulas are responsible for the emotional and physical support and giving evidence-based information—so there’s just a different role.

But when I started as a doula, it was basically self-pay only. In recent years, the last four at least, health savings and flex spending have easily covered birth doulas as well as postpartum doulas in some instances. Now a lot of employer-based self-funded plans have doula coverage that covers both birth and postpartum. There are healthcare sharing programs, many Christian-based, that cover a certain amount of a birth doula. Some companies are creating their own plans. We worked with a construction firm in our area and helped them add doulas to their benefits. So that’s been a passion project of not only my own, but also Alyssa’s since we got into this work—making it more accessible. Then, of course, Medicaid coverage for birth doulas has expanded. It used to be a handful of states and now Michigan has had Medicaid for about a year and a half, so that is an option for individuals. I see general insurance down the road covering birth doulas. There are hospital-based doula programs as well. So there are definitely more options than when I got into the field.

Q: Does your work with your families or patients circle you back to fertility?

A: There are fertility doulas. I am not one but, during the pandemic, I helped facilitate a fertility support group for women across the US with a mental health therapist under a nonprofit group called Mothership. So I got to hear women’s stories. I also had clients that I either personally worked with or heard that were in our agency that had struggles with secondary infertility. They wanted to plan their family and have their kids close together, and then it wasn’t as easy. Maybe it was breastfeeding-related or getting back on birth control for a while and then wanting to expand the family.

So I often give referrals both locally and across the US for different practitioners—whether it’s a functional medicine doctor or a doctor of naturopathy in addition to seeing your physician or suggesting going to a fertility clinic. But looking at gut health and sleep and stress and all of the different options you have—whether it’s going through a fertility clinic and that process or looking at surrogacy or adoption or however our clients want to expand their families. So the book does touch on support for fertility and surrogacy and different groups both in person and, certainly, especially virtual support groups that can be accessed, many of which are free and fertility specialists.


This blog post was written based on kozēkozē Podcast Episode 364: How To Prepare for Birth & Postpartum with Kristin Revere.

If you’d like to listen to the conversation first-hand, tune in here.


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