Difference Between Doulas and Midwives

Bringing a baby into the world can sometimes feel like it requires learning a whole new language. Birth plan, epidural, placenta — these are just a few of the many new terms in your lexicon once you become pregnant or start trying to conceive.

“Midwife” and “doula” are two more terms you’re likely to hear, and they can be confusing because they seem so similar. However, these two types of birth professionals are actually very different. Here’s what to know about midwives, doulas and how each can be a part of your pregnancy journey. 

Doulas and midwives are both professionals who provide support to pregnant women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. However, their roles and responsibilities are different. Broadly speaking, a midwife is a medical professional who provides health care during pregnancy and birth.

A doula is a non-medical professional who provides emotional and physical support to the mother and her partner during labor and delivery. They offer continuous support and can help with relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and massage. Doulas do not provide medical care or advice, but rather focus on providing comfort and support to the mother during childbirth.

On the other hand, midwives are trained medical professionals who provide prenatal care, assist with childbirth, and offer postpartum care to both the mother and the newborn. They are responsible for monitoring the health of the mother and the baby throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Midwives may also offer breastfeeding support, family planning advice, and other postpartum services.

Midwives can provide medical care, such as administering medication and performing medical interventions if necessary. In contrast, doulas do not provide any medical care and do not perform any medical interventions.

In summary, doulas provide emotional and physical support to the mother during labor and delivery, while midwives provide medical care and support throughout the entire pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum period. Both doulas and midwives can play important roles in supporting the health and well-being of the mother and her newborn.

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