What Is The Difference Between A Doula And A Midwife?
Childbirth Is No Easy Feat!
As you prepare yourself and your home for the arrival of your little one, you are probably also contemplating all of the different birth options. Not only is there the basic choice of home birth, hospital birth, and birth center birth, there are many more specific choices to make as well. No matter where you have your baby, one thing will always be true, the more support you have, the better!
More Than Just Back Rubs For Mom!
The roll that a doula plays during labor is not limited to easing labor pains in the delivery room. Doulas provide support for everyone involved throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and even after baby is born. If you are unable to take a newborn care class, a doula can teach you about caring for your baby and help you prepare your home. Doulas are also able to coach you and your partner in preparation for delivery. There are things that doulas are trained to do to help pregnant women feel more comfortable in the late stages of pregnancy and during labor, and they can teach them to your partner so that your partner is able to be a part of the experience and provide comfort to you. During your baby’s birth, your doula will act as an advocate for you and make sure that your birth plan is followed. Your doula will stay with you or your baby if a family member cannot and will also be there to support your partner and make sure they are also doing great.
Do I Need A Doula If I Already Have A Doctor Or Midwife?
Doctors and midwives are involved for the most important parts of childbirth. They will be there as the baby is delivered and intermittently as your contractions get stronger and you wait for the approach of the transition phase. Your doctor or midwife will be involved in all the decisions made concerning labor and delivery and will be the one who discusses any changes with you. Your doula will be the person who is with you (in addition to your family member) supporting you the rest of the time. Nurses will be monitoring you throughout delivery but are not labor coaches and are not able to provide the same amount of support that a doula or family member can. If you are birthing at home or at a birth center, your doula can stay with you or accompany you when you return home for additional support. If you birth in a hospital, you will likely stay for a few days and will have access to lactation support and newborn care resources while you are there. If, in any case, you feel that you need additional support at home, it is well worth it to ask for it! Most doulas are available for ongoing scheduled postpartum care.
How Is A Midwife Different From A Doctor?
While a midwife has specialized training in childbirth and usually carries certifications, being a midwife is different than being a doctor because a midwife does not have a degree in medicine. Obstetricians are also trained in childbirth but have medical degrees with a special focus on surgery. A midwife will perform home births and birth center births in addition to hospital births while a doctor will not. Midwives take a more holistic and hands-off approach to childbirth and pregnancy and will allow labor and delivery to happen more naturally. Midwives take more time with their patients and are generally more involved in prenatal care. Obstetricians tend to intervene more in the delivery process and will often take action to control or speed up the birth process. A midwife will refer you to an obstetrician if you experience any complications or if yours is considered a high-risk pregnancy. Having a hospital birth under the care of a doctor is necessary if you wish to have an epidural. Having a hospital or birth center birth under the care of a midwife is the choice mothers generally make if they wish to have a natural birth.
Wishing you the BEST delivery, no matter what option you choose!