Doula Or Midwife? What To Consider When Choosing Between Them

Looking for some help during pregnancy?  Here is what to consider when deciding on whether you want to use a Doula or Midwife when you are pregnant:

First, lets talk about the differences between a Doula and a Midwife. A Doula provides emotional and physical support during pregnancy and childbirth. They are not medical professionals and do not deliver babies.

So, what do they do?
Doula’s have different roles and can provide certain services depending on what you need.
1. Support women who are on bed rest to help prevent early births
2. Provide support during the birth process
3. After birth they help the mom during the first few weeks to help with feeding the baby and household tasks.
How does this work?

Before the actual birth a Doula usually:
– Meets with you to go over how they can help you and get acquainted. (normally during the 2nd and 3rd trimester).
– Instruct moms on relaxation and breathing techniques.
– Answer any questions about the birth process and what to expect.
– Go over labor and delivery and talk to moms about any possible complications and how they are handled.
– Develop a birth plan.

When labor occurs a Doula will:
– Administer Constant support
– Massage to help mother relax
– Guide you to comfortable positions
– Make sure fluids and nutrition is kept up during birth process
– Be an advocate to communicate preferences to medical staff
– Support soon to be dad

– After delivery:
– Support to parents when bringing baby home
– Teach care methods to parents
– Breast feeding education
– Keep mom hydrated, fed and rested

Studies have shown that moms to be that use a Doula have shorter labor, need less medication and are less likely to have a C-section.

Now lets go over what a Midwife does:

A midwife is a trained health professional. They assist with labor, delivery, and after after birth. Midwives can deliver babies at birthing centers, home or at a hospital.
Most families who choose a Midwife want little medical intervention and have no complications during their pregnancy.

There are different types of Midwives:
1. Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are registered nurses who have graduated from an accredited nurse-midwifery education program and have passed a national exam. They can practice in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

2. Certified midwives (CMs) are non-nurse midwives who have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a health field, have completed an accredited midwifery education program, and have passed a national exam. Only a few states permit CMs to practice.

3. Certified professional midwives (CPMs) are non-nurse midwives who have training and clinical experience in childbirth, including childbirth outside of the hospital, and have passed a national exam. Not all states permit CPMs to practice.

What do Midwives do?

As stated above they can provide care before, during and after birth. They also can help with family planning, prenatal exams, order tests, monitor physical and psychological health, provide birthing plans, advise about diet, exercise, medicine and keeping healthy during pregnancy.

Here are some other tasks a Midwife can help with:
– Educating parents about childbirth and newborn care
– Support parents during labor
– Admit or discharge from the hospital
– Deliver babies
– Refer to doctors as needed

Reasons for a Midwife:

1. You want your childbirth to be as natural as possible with little medical intervention, such as an episiotomy, fetal monitoring, labor induction, etc.
2. You want the emotional, practical, and social support that midwives provide.

Hopefully this answers some of your questions about choosing a Doula or a Midwife. Good luck and Congratulations!