What Are the Differences Between Doulas and Midwives?

What Are the Differences Between Doulas and Midwives?

Oct 3rd 2022

When it comes to labor and delivery, an immeasurable number of questions will surface for an expecting mother. Hiring the proper assistance is pivotal in the successful outcomes you wish for. Many women look to a doula and a midwife for prenatal and postnatal care. While they have a few similarities, it’s essential to understand their differences to ensure you know what to expect.

Duties of a Doula

A doula is a trained and educated birth coach. This individual cannot practice medicine in any form as it falls outside the scope of their training. But the support and guidance they offer to a mother during her preparations and labor play a significant role in the mother’s birthing journey.

Times can get tough for a mother in labor as she enters the most vulnerable phase of her life. Having a doula at her side can help support, encourage, and comfort her. Additionally, doulas can help the birthing person’s partner with their feelings as things grow intense. Birth relies on a calm space to progress, and a doula can help mediate this process.

What Is a Midwife?

Compared to a doula, a midwife is educated and trained to provide medical examinations and advice. A midwife holds the capacity to not only make informed medical decisions suitable for their patients but also assist in delivering a baby.

During labor and delivery, you can expect the midwife to maintain close monitoring of the baby’s heart with a variety of tools, track the progress and health of the mother, and assist in any cervical checks. Where a doula cannot carry out any clinical work, a midwife can.

The Core Differences

The differences between doulas and midwives rest heavily on the training and education they receive and their ability to practice medicine. A doula cannot medically intervene in a mother’s labor process, but a midwife can intervene or advise as a doctor would. Understanding these core differences is vital to your understanding of what to expect before hiring a labor professional.

Can I Hire Both for My Birth?

With one individual offering emotional support and the other offering physical and medical guidance, it can be advantageous to hire a midwife and a doula to help you along your labor journey. You are welcome to hire them at any point in your journey, but most often, the midwife will oversee your antenatal care, and the doula will assist in pregnancy preparations. Early bonding with both professionals makes labor easier and offers a safe space to take away your fears.

Additionally, many doulas offer postpartum services that mothers can benefit from, including lactation support, light housework, meal prep, and more.

Here at Cascade Health Care, we know how vital it is to hire the proper support for labor and delivery. We carry a wide selection of midwife and doula supplies to ensure each individual you hire is equipped to offer the highest quality of care and guidance. No matter your birth preferences, we know that with a doula and midwife on your side, you’ll be ready to navigate any circumstance.