Difference Between Doula And A Midwife

An expecting mommy will need help from all corners no matter if it is her first baby or the 4th. Did you ever feel the need for a caretaker during your pregnancy period? Well, it is obvious because of the changing hormone levels and stress, ladies feel a little more exhausted while conceiving. Completing all the household chores and maintaining the pregnancy diet, becomes challenging at times, this is when women seek help. 

The experts working in this field help the expecting women in their childbirth stages to make the transition process smooth and relaxing. Working with new mothers is not only a gratifying career option but also is paid well. They provide knowledge, physical and emotional support and also make the pregnant mothers feel comfortable throughout the phase.  Basically, two types of experts can help a pregnant woman with her delivery and they are – a doula and a midwife. The new age mommies have all the medical support they want 24/7, this was a major drawback in the early periods where midwives and doulas were much in help.

Doulas And Midwives are experienced enough to provide proper guidance during pregnancy and you can call on anyone, depending on what kind of help you need. Doula and a midwife, both serve different purposes during the pregnancy and after delivery.

The discussion on who is a better help has been up for decades whereas the overall work of these experts has been intrinsically identical, to provide support and assistance to the expecting moms.

Who is a Doula?

Doulas are the people who provide physical and emotional support to an expecting mommy during her gestation and after delivery. They bring the delivery setup at home and help the mother in her labor. 

What Duties Do Doulas Have To Offer?

• Doulas collaborate with the pregnant mother and her family to plan the birthing process that also consists of any medical issues and preferences.

• Doulas help in managing a diet plan, exercises, and nutritional and medicinal supplements for the mommy-to-be.

• Doulas coach mothers the different types of breathing and relaxation exercises during labor to ease the delivery process.

• Doulas explain the importance of providing support at every stage to the mother’s partner and her people.

• Doulas provide valuable information to the pregnant couple regarding the prepartum and postpartum child-parent relationship.

If a mother calls for doulas in the hospital, they would be dealing with all the responsibilities related to the mother and have no work interrupting the hospital duties. Doulas are not the qualified health care professionals who can provide optimum medical advice to the patient or recommend medications.

Doulas do not look after the baby nor you, they do not do temperature checking, regular vaginal intervention, or any other medical procedures conducted at the hospital post-delivery. They are also not eligible for making decisions for you or the baby. 

Doulas are best appointed for providing physical support and assistance during labor and post-partum. You will come across two variants of doulas – the birth and postnatal doulas. 

What Is The Work Of Birth Doulas?

The birth doulas are known to provide effective exercises that are not medically adapted. Exercises like simple and relaxing massage techniques, breathing, etc, and making you rest in your most comfortable positions. They are efficient in offering emotional support to the mother and her family and when needed, they speak on your behalf, if asked. 

Doulas are experienced caregivers that also come forward in c-section deliveries to help provide a calming and relaxing environment. 

What Is The Work Of Postnatal Doulas?

The postnatal doulas are the people who offer physical and emotional support to a new mother and her family after the birthing process is completed. They provide information on topics like how the baby should be looked after, things that will enhance your breastfeeding skills, etc to the new mother. 

When it is not the first baby of the mother, the doulas play a vital role in managing the elder siblings at home. They keep them distracted and away from this situation so that it can be carried out without any stress. 

The doulas also provide domestic help at times so that you can give all the time to the baby and look after his needs and sit back relaxed about the household chores. Doulas are highly caring and useful in the postnatal phase mainly in hospital births.

Who Is A Midwife?

A midwife is also known as a nurse-midwife, is a trained and certified person that helps pregnant women with exclusive care and assistance during the last phase of pregnancy and after delivery.

You will come across various types of midwives depending on your location and city. Different regions have different types of midwives as they have changing practices. They can be called on hospital deliveries, birth centers, and also at-home deliveries. The midwives are trained to identify and treat handle any medical situation and complications.

Benefits Of Hiring A Midwife

• They can advise for required tests for the expecting mother.

• They give health counseling at the time of pregnancy, birth, and after delivery.

• They can also prescribe medications or health supplements for a smoother and healthy pregnancy.

• They can check your temperature, monitor the baby’s well-being.

• They can do the essential tests needed in pregnancy, labor, and post-delivery as well. Tests such as ultrasounds, vaginal examinations, baby’s movement in the womb, etc. can be conducted by a midwife.

• They provide coaching to the patients to stay focused and calm during intense labor and look for their comfort.

• They help a mommy-to-be with prepartum care routines such as nutritional supplements and exercises.

• They also provide family planning education, conception, preventing gestational diseases, and contraception, as well.

These are some of the most common duties of a midwife and the most important aspect of these professionals is how they interact with expectant mothers. 

What Expertise Is Needed For Doulas And Midwives?

Doulas and midwives are both highly skilled and experienced to give their 100% in the job. 

Both midwives and doulas need to have the following skills and techniques to excel in their job:

Interaction with patients: as a healthcare provider, a doula or a midwife needs her communication skills strong enough so that they can fluently communicate every detail regarding the pregnancy and childbirth with the patient and her family. They require alteration or modification in their tone to suit every patient’s physical and mental situation. 

They need both verbal and written communication skills to be strong so that they offer workout routines, diet follow-ups, nutritional supplements, and other activities for a safe, happy and healthy pregnancy. 

If one has a healthy pregnancy, the delivery process eventually becomes easier.

Being compassionate: both the experts need to be emotionally strong and intelligent to help women with utmost support. These professionals need to build an active relationship with the mommy-to-be to listen to her side of the story and always understand what pain she is going through and help her overcome that situation. 

Pregnancy also brings psychological ups and downs, listening to every bit of a mother’s tale and helping her with honest and positive feedback should be the goal of a doula or a midwife.

Being administrative: both the experts help address the exact problems and make sure to offer a suitable result for the mother and her newborn baby. They should be qualified and experienced enough to suggest the procedures and methods be used in comforting and relaxing the pain caused during childbirth. They should also know when to ask for medical help.

These experts need to be vocal and confident enough to motivate mommy and her partner during this phase. Staying positive and keeping the environment positive and safe is the thing the experts need to remember. 

Where Can Doulas And Midwives Work?

The doulas are experienced to work in various setups such as hospitals, private clinics, home births, etc. The interested candidates who want to serve their time to the pregnant ladies and their families can join the community centers in their area.

Midwives have also experienced personnel who can work in different settings. They can work in hospitals, birth centers where both prenatal and postnatal care is provided. They are also capable of dealing with home births. 

Do They Have National Recognition?

Every state and nation has a different legal practice and qualification for these health workers. 

Doulas do not have any legal specifications, due to this, they are not certified as professional medical providers. They can apply for certificates so that they can show their professional skills to work as a doula. 

Midwives are recognized as professional healthcare providers in Delaware, new jersey, and Missouri. The nurse-midwives are certified and gain recognition in the entire USA. 

Importance Of Hiring A Doula And A Midwife

Is it required to hire both these experts during labor? It depends on you! However, it is not mandatory to call both a doula and a midwife at the same time. Both of them offer almost the same services to the mothers and you can choose one.

A Midwife can be hired if you are planning for a home birth as they have the expertise in providing medical training in various aspects. They know how to manage both mother and the baby with medical assessments. 

A Doula is not certified to prescribe you medication, not even a painkiller! They can’t help you with epidurals or any other medical procedures. When you have to choose between two, the proximity should be with midwives. Doulas, as compared to midwives are not certified to practice but can provide maximum support to relax you during labor pains. 

Farha Naaz

Farha Naaz is a mother of a 10-month old baby.

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