Midwife VS Doula

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September 27, 2020

Midwife VS Doula: Which is Best For Your Pregnancy Journey?

Every expecting mom will have a different birthing experience. But, one of the most important factors to consider is who you want there supporting you as you bring your new baby into the world. Midwives are not your only option. A doula can provide emotional support and reassurance in the lead up to the birth, during and afterwards. On the other hand, a midwife offers medical care to you and the baby as well as putting you at ease throughout.

 

Need help deciding? Here’s all you need to know about midwives and doulas.

What is a midwife?

A doula is an individual who supports you during pregnancy but they do not have medical training. They cannot give medical treatment during pregnancy, birth or the postnatal stage, however, families and expecting moms benefit from the trusting relationship that they have with their doula. The main role of a birth doula is to provide non-medical support such as breathing exercises, massages and emotional help.

 

With a doula by your side, you can feel safe and empowered to deliver your baby. In some cases, mothers have needed less medical care when they have a doula, however, it’s important to note that a doula is not a substitute for a doctor or midwife since they do not have the same in-depth medical training.

"And what could be more beautiful, than bringing a new life into the world"
- Unknown

What is a doula?

A doula is an individual who supports you during pregnancy but they do not have medical training. They cannot give medical treatment during pregnancy, birth or the postnatal stage, however, families and expecting moms benefit from the trusting relationship that they have with their doula. The main role of a birth doula is to provide non-medical support such as breathing exercises, massages and emotional help.

With a doula by your side, you can feel safe and empowered to deliver your baby. In some cases, mothers have needed less medical care when they have a doula, however, it’s important to note that a doula is not a substitute for a doctor or midwife since they do not have the same in-depth medical training.

 

How can you find a doula?

 

You will be paired with an appropriate midwife through the hospital system, but if you require a doula you will need to find one yourself. It’s always a good idea to use a certified doula organization. Doula International, for example, is the world’s largest, longest standing and most respected doula organization. Take your time and find a doula that matches your needs.

What are the main differences to consider?

  • Doulas focus on the mother’s own needs to ensure they have a memorable and empowering birth whereas a midwife looks after the physical well-being of the mother and baby.

 

  • Unlike doctors and certified nurse midwives, who have several years of advanced medical training, there’s no legal training requirement for doulas. However, while doulas cannot offer clinical care, most will be certified in some kind of mother and baby training.

 

  • Midwives can examine the mother and provide medical care such as prescriptions but a doula is not trained to do this. Instead, their main focus is the emotional and physical needs of the expectant mother.

 

  • Because midwives are medically trained, you will need one at your birth but you can also have a doula for additional support. However, a doula is not a substitute for a midwife and it is not advised to avoid having medical professionals at your birth.

 

  • Doulas have also been known to benefit vulnerable women or women who need more culturally sensitive support. On the other hand, you may not have as much choice finding a specific midwife for your needs or preferences.

 

  • In terms of price, the average cost of a midwife is $2000 but this may be covered by some insurance policies. On the other hand, doulas will vary in price depending on the number of visits you have and where you’re located.

 

  • Doulas also offer postpartum care. Although you may be visited by your midwife after your birth, you can hire a doula specifically to help with postnatal care.

Considering all of your options will ensure that your pregnancy and labour experience is the best it can be. If you feel like you need extra support, hiring a doula can reduce stress and make you feel more settled - or have both. Don’t rush your decision. Research, ask questions and consider your situation carefully to make a well informed decision about your pregnancy journey.

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