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Difference Between Doula and Midwife

pregnantDoula vs Midwife

Doulas are personnel in medical establishments who provide different types of non medical assistance and care, both physical and emotional in the process of child birth. Depending on experience and training, a doula may provide support during the prenatal time, in child birth and even during post natal period. One who supports mothers through labor is called birth doula and the one who provides support right after birth is called the postpartum doula. Whereas both a midwife and a doula may provide support during child birth, a midwife will have more extensive training and she will provide medical care during prenatal, delivery of baby, mother care in post partum as well as baby care. Some midwives provide gynecological services, family planning care and periodic medical exams.

Doulas, even though certified, do not provide any kind of medical care, even medical checks like checking baby’s heart beat, baby delivery or even a vaginal exam. In providing the much needed physical and emotional support doulas’ care has been shown to improve results for both the mother and the baby. Intending mothers, particularly those who consider having a natural birth would consider the services of a doula, with a midwife needed mainly at birth although it is always better to let a midwife deliver the baby if you are to deliver at your home. This is true for mothers who have had more than two deliveries.

The point is that it all depends on the mother and her background. Some mothers may even only use the services of doulas without the need for a midwife. However because doulas are only labor assistants you may run a big risk should complications develop during home delivery without a midwife. Doulas are especially handy because they provide a number of different support functions including giving comforting techniques, massaging and aromatherapy, advice on labor positions and proper breathing, light exercises and labor coaching. Most doulas will work with mothers to create a birth plan and right through and after birth give comfort and baby care.

Although doulas are very handy especially for home births, they cannot replace the services of a mid wife because these are certified and have the option of delivering in a home or a medical facility and usually mid wives will handle complications better.
1. Mid wives are trained and certified to perform deliveries whereas doulas aren’t.
2. Doulas provide non medical labor assistance whereas midwives perform the actual deliveries.
3. Doulas do not perform medical checks but midwives are qualified to do so.
4. Whereas doulas provide supportive physical and emotional support, midwives do not necessarily perform those functions.

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