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September 14, 2019

A Doula is pretty much a midwife, right?

This is one of the most common questions I get when I talk about what a Doula does and is with someone. As cool as it would be to be in the same category as a midwife, a doula and a midwife are not the same. We value a lot of the same things, we both are emotionally involved in every client and their family and we offer physical and emotional support throughout the entire process. But a midwife is a medical professional who has gone to school and can take the place of an OB or medical doctor and can deliver your baby for you safely. A doula is a birth coach who only offers physical and emotional support and no medical support. 


So let me explain a what a Doula is:

Doulas are great and there are so many different types of doulas which can help during labor and delivery and a postpartum doula which helps when you are home with your baby-adjusting to life. No matter what your birth plan includes [if you have one] your doula will provide support even if your plans are constantly changing. We respect everyone regardless if you want pain medication, a cesarean section or to go pain med free! We do not care if you want a home birth, hospital birth or to give birth in the woods. What we do care about is that you are informed of your rights and know that you have a voice throughout your entire pregnancy, labor, delivery and AFTER delivery. That is your baby [babies] you are the mama/papa bear you have all of the say and a doula is a fantastic resource when it comes to making sure that you are aware of that. 


Doulas offer a vast variety of different services that are always non medical but can range from labor and birth support, childbirth education help, breastfeeding support and postpartum support. A doula is like a full meal deal without all of the medical support that is why a Midwife is a fantastic person to have alongside a doula. They go hand in hand and work together fantastically as a Midwife can provide vaginal exams, deliver the baby, resuscitate the baby if need, provides prenatal care and checks vitals. When a doula and midwife work together you get the supportive attentive midwife and the doula who also offers emotional support. 


Now that you know there is a pretty big difference in the two keep in mind that when you are looking for the right doula or midwife you may want to remember that it is more than just “Hiring someone”. It is a process. It is a FUN loving birthy process. 


When looking for a doula or midwife look for certain qualities! You want to make sure your birth person or birth team is a good fit for you and your family, you want to feel supported as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Why not make absolutely sure?  Here are some helpful things to keep in mind when looking for your birth peeps:


Get recommendations from friends, doctors and midwives. Word of mouth is everything but remember just because one friend didn’t have that connection doesn’t mean that you won’t have a connection. What I really like is how social media has it ALL. Websites, reviews you name it. So it’s great to have that option to search on your own to find someone who might click with you then you can reach out set up a  meet and find out for yourself!


ALWAYS interview your doula/midwife. I know it sounds a bit professional but turn it into a date at a coffee shop or your home, wherever you are most comfortable. Ask them about themselves, ask about certifications, ask where they stand with respecting changes and your hopes and wants. Make sure there is a connection. Even when I go interview with potential clients if I feel on my end we aren’t a good fit I am honest. Why work with someone who may be an amazing person but lacking that connection. Honesty is key!


Include your partner [or family member] [if present]. You want to make sure that everyone is on the same page because you will be spending a lot of time with this person/people you want to be ready and good when the big day comes.


Consider all of the things you want. Natural, vbac, medicated or unmedicated, skin to skin, breastfeeding, non breastfeeding, vaccinations or you may choose not to vaccinate. Know what you want so when you talk to your doula they know and respect your choice because in the end they are YOUR choices.


Think about your budget. When you meet with a doula and midwife make sure it works. Even if you have the connection and it just isn’t going to be affordable it is okay to keep interviewing. Talk to them maybe there is a sliding scale or a payment plan option. 


Ask for references FROM your doula or midwife. You want to know what others are saying.



In the end trust your gut. Have fun. Enjoy your doula or midwife or BOTH and happy birthing.


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