Doula v. Midwife…What’s the difference?

A doula is like a midwife, right?

The short answer? No. But I can completely understand the misinterpretation!

Here are the definitions of a doula and a midwife.

dou·la
/ˈdo͞olə/
noun
a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.

mid·wife
/ˈmidˌwīf/
noun
A midwife is a trained health professional who helps healthy women during labor, delivery, and after the birth of their babies.

Both roles support the birthing person through pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Both roles advocate for you to have a safe birth with a healthy baby. Both roles want to ensure you know your options and encourage you to use self-advocacy.

However, there are some large differences between a doula and a midwife. A midwife is a medical professional who is responsible for you and your baby’s physical wellbeing. She is monitoring your vitals, watching for signs of complications, and has a plan for any scenario that can happen. A midwife will support you during your pregnancy, birth, and shortly after birth.

As a doula, I am your #1 supporter. Your personal advocate, your educator, your physical support when you feel like you just can’t go on, your hype girl when you need it, the one whispering in your ear that you are strong and capable, and the one celebrating with you and your family as you welcome your baby earthside.

After birth, a doula can help you ensure you’re educated on establishing breastfeeding, visit you at home, help around the house, and ensure you have some time to take care of yourself. I will listen when you want to talk, hold you when you need to cry, offer support, and provide referrals when needed (your midwife may help with this, during your postpartum visit).

Both a midwife and a doula’s scope of practice encompasses so much more, but I wanted to shed some light on the basic differences between the two vital roles in birth. Even though there are important differences between a doula and a midwife, when brought together, it’s a great team to have on your side – same can be said for some OBGYNs, too!

Wishing you all the best this week!

With love,

Your doula

Signed Nicole

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