Doula vs Midwife

Updated on November 07, 2010
E.H. asks from Grand Rapids, MI
5 answers

What is the difference between the two? What are some of your experiences? Do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

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answers from Columbus on

The midwife is actually able to assist with the birth and help deliver the baby, coach a woman through labor, etc. If they are certified, then they can give medical advice, etc.

The doula is a labor support partner. She cannot give medical advice, and often, while having training, do not have the ability to deliver the baby. The doula helps with comfort measures (knowing various techniques & positions to relieve pressure/pain) and with helping give the birthing mom space to make decisions she comfortable with. But they cannot give medical advice.

For a midwife, you can check out CNMs, which have hospital privileges are usually given rights to deliver in hospitals and also are associated with Ob/Gyn practices.

For a doula, go with a DONA certified doula, who has gone through training.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Doulas don't deliver babies but work with midwives and doctors, advocating for and helping the mother thru the process.



answers from Detroit on

A doula does not provide prenatal care. She is there to provide physical and emotional support to the birthing family. The midwife provides prenatal care and assists the mom in the delivery of the baby. They are two very different roles.



answers from Detroit on

Hi E. ~
AC has it pretty much down :)
What type of delivery are you looking for? A lay midwife will do a home birth, but they don't have medical training other than working with another midwife to learn how to deliver babies. They do not have the back up of a physician or hospital. They cannot give you medications. They cannot cut an episiotomy or sew a tear back together. They don't take insurance, only cash.
A nurse midwife is sometimes employed by a hospital. Or they work with a physician. They usually were a nurse first then went on to college to learn to be a midwife. You usually will deliver in a birthing center or hospital. That way if something goes wrong (every labor patient is a potential emergency), you are in a place where you can get emergency care with a physician who will be familiar with you.
A midwife will usually be less invasive than a doctor....maybe no iv, labor in the birthing tub, intermittent fetal monitoring as opposed to continuous fetal monitoring, more one on one care. With some you can still get an epidural if that's what you want. They're less likely to cut an episiotomy than a doctor is.
A doula is a labor coach, and quite often they are midwives. They will go with you to the hospital and can act as your spokesperson for the type of labor you would like to have. They will stay right at your bedside and offer hands-on care. They do not have hospital prviliges to handle your care.

Do you know what your insurance covers? or what hospital you need to go to? Not all hospitals have midwives that practice there.

Good luck!



answers from Detroit on

A dula is just a birthing coach, not someone who would deliver your baby.

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