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Pregnancy: What’s The Difference Between A Doula And Midwife? Do You Need Both?

In addition to providing support to mothers during childbirth, midwives and doulas assist with women's reproductive health as well. Doulas assist mothers prior to, during, and shortly after childbirth, but do not deliver the child themselves. Midwives provide gynaecological examinations, birth control counselling, prescriptions, and labour and delivery services [1].

We will examine the differences between a doula and a midwife in this article, as well as the question of whether you should use either a midwife or a doula, or neither.

What Is A Doula? What Does A Doula Do?

An expectant mother's doula provides physical, emotional, and informational support before, during, and after childbirth. The following are the responsibilities of a doula [2]:

  • Doulas offer support to expectant mothers, enabling her to have a memorable and empowering experience during giving birth.
  • A doula is not a medical professional and cannot deliver a child.
  • In most cases, the word "doula" refers to a professional who is present at the birth, but there are also doulas who specialize in antepartum (before birth) and postpartum care.
  • Doulas assist women in preparing birth plans.
  • Birth doulas remain with the mother during birth, providing relaxation and breathing technique support, as well as comforting services like massage, as well as assistance with labour positions; they do not replace the presence of the mother's partner during birth.
  • The doula encourages the partner to participate, and offers support and reassurance to the partner as well.

What Is A Midwife? What Does A Midwife Do?

A midwife is a medically trained and qualified individual who is responsible for delivering babies. The following are her responsibilities [3]:

  • Midwives may perform gynaecologist examinations, write prescriptions, monitor foetal development, and provide contraceptive information according to the laws of the country in which they practice.
  • Typically, midwives seek to minimize technological interventions and eliminate those that are not necessary, believing that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes.
  • During labour, a midwife can also identify and refer women who require the services of an obstetrician.
  • Midwives may also be trained nurses.

Doulas vs. Midwives: What's The Difference?

Despite the fact that doulas and midwives are both professionals who assist women during the birthing process, there are a few differences between the two. The differences are as follows [4][5]:

  • Even though both doulas and midwives provide support during childbirth, they offer different types of services.
  • A midwife has medical training and focuses on delivering a healthy baby during labour and delivery.
  • In contrast, a doula focuses on the mother, providing mental, emotional, and physical support to the new mother. Doulas do not possess medical training or experience, and cannot serve in the place of a midwife or doctor.

Doula Or Midwife: How To Choose?

It is possible to use both a midwife and a doula during labour since they both provide benefits to expectant mothers [6].

In the event that you are planning to give birth at home, you should at the very least have a midwife present, since the training and expertise gained by midwives will be invaluable in the event of complications [7].

As doulas cannot prescribe painkillers or order epidurals, having a midwife present will provide you with more flexibility if you wish to maintain these options. Doulas are not healthcare practitioners, they are trained individuals who can provide support to the mother and the family [8].

Is It Possible To Have A Doula And A Midwife During My Pregnancy?

In fact, having both a doula and a midwife during your labour ensures that both your physical and emotional needs will be met. In the event that you prefer to see a doctor, or if your pregnancy becomes extremely high risk and requires the care of a doctor, a doula is an excellent choice. Doulas are able to support you regardless of your choice of medical care provider.

Are Midwives More Effective Than Gynaecologists?

There is no right or wrong choice. Some people prefer midwives, while others prefer obstetricians and gynecs. Midwives are typically recommended only for low-risk pregnancies [9].

Is It Necessary To Have A Midwife?

Those who have a low-risk, routine pregnancy and prefer a more tailored relationship with their providers may benefit from a midwife. Your midwife and obstetrician should collaborate closely if you have a health condition that could complicate your pregnancy or delivery.

What Are The Risks Of Having A Midwife?

For your care to be more effective, midwives consult with obstetricians and specialists, and other healthcare providers. If you are concerned about delivery, it is generally recommended that you work with a midwife who attends hospital births [10]. This can provide you with the safety net you need if a complication arises.

On A Final Note...

You should speak with your doctor to determine whether a doula or a midwife is the best fit for your specific birthing needs.

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