What is the Difference Between a Midwife and a Doula?

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Is a midwife the same thing as a doula?

It's a good thing I love that question, because I get asked all the time! It's a great opportunity to talk about what a fantastic team a midwife and doula can make as they help people become parents.

In a nutshell?

  • Midwives are medical care providers who catch the baby and ensure health and safety.
  • Doulas are trained support persons who ensure that the parents feel listened to, confident, and comfortable.
  • Midwives perform clinical tasks such as cervical exams, drawing blood, monitoring blood pressure, and urine testing.
  • Doulas do not provide medical advice, treatments, or diagnoses.
  • Midwives help mothers deliver babies.
  • Doulas stay up by the mother's head.

Many midwives are fantastic providers who focus on patient, gentle, woman-centered care. Does this mean that a doula is redundant at a midwife-attended birth??

Nope!

Even midwives who are gifted with providing great emotional and physical support to parents are still, at the end of the day, there to focus on the safety of the birth. While she is performing her midwifery duties, whether monitoring contractions and blood pressure, massaging the mother's perineum, preventing a postpartum hemorrhage, or suturing a tear, her attention must be focused on those tasks for which she has been trained. She loves that there is another trained and caring professional there to help the mother breathe and stay on top of the contractions, to hold her hand and stroke her hair, to reassure her partner!

A midwife and doula team ensures that, at all times during the birth, parents can have the full experience of both clinical expertise and gentle, reassuring support and coaching.

Source: New feed