Wondering about the difference between a midwife and a doula? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Midwives provide medical care to pregnant, birthing, and newly postpartum families. In addition to many other services, doulas provide access to up-to-date evidence-based information, but we don’t diagnose or treat. In fact, we are not involved in the medical care of birthing people and their babies. Our wheelhouse is relaxation and non-invasive pain management techniques, birth position changes, emotional support, partner support, and so much more. We can help with every kind of birth: drug-free births, epidurals, cesareans, water birth, and the list goes on. A doula provides a wonderful complement to the care of a midwife (or a doctor).
The Difference Between a Midwife and a Doula
Doulas provide non-judgemental support, based on the needs of the birthing family. As a doula, my own opinions and beliefs are completely irrelevant. Families know they can rely on me to support them no matter what their wishes are in birth and labour. It all depends on what a family’s mindset is regarding birth, and I’m there to help them walk through the decisions they’re facing in pregnancy and birth in a way that aligns with their values.
We have longer meetings than many care providers do and we usually offer some kind of prenatal education. Knowledge is power! It’s amazing to hear all the questions families have for me, and to be able to share my knowledge and passion with them. I think one of the most rewarding exercises I do with clients is walking them through a video of birth, coaching them on what coping techniques to look for, how the birthing person is behaving, and then watching the light go on as my clients realize they too can do that!
Aside from the birther’s partner, we’re usually the only person who is present throughout the entire birth. Studies show that continuity of care is one of the single most important factors when it comes to improving birth outcomes. Between doctors, nurses, and other care providers, a birthing family comes under the care of 6.5 people on average throughout their labour and birth. Having the support of a doula means having a cornerstone figure to rely on no matter what.
Midwives provide an unparalleled standard of care in a maternity care system that has a lot of gaps. And how do we fill those gaps? With doulas!