Doulas and Midwives

What is a midwife?

A midwife takes the place of your doctor, and besides attending the birth, they also provide EXCELLENT prenatal and postpartum care for mom and baby.  It is personalized care and the midwife and the mother are a team.  The mother is listened to, has a voice and is given choices.  Midwives trust birth; yet at the same time they remain alert to notice any complications and deal with them as needed.  Midwifery care is safer for moms and babies in the low risk category than is the medical model of care.  Statistics show this to be true with countries having the highest perinatal and maternal mortality rates when midwifery care is the lowest.

Are you under midwifery care?

Count your lucky stars!!!  There are many women who want to have a midwife, but unfortunately can’t access one due to the increasing demand and limited government funding.  I encourage all women to speak to their elected officials regarding this issue.  The more women that speak out, the better it will be.  We can make a change, but we need to speak up in order to make it happen!

How is a midwife different than a doula and do I need both?  

This picture demonstrates how we all work together as a team. This beautiful mother-to-be is in the middle of her second stage of labour resting between pushes. Hubby and I are close to her face to provide that emotional support and comfort and the midwife is in the background where she has a better view to see what is happening as mom pushes and will eventually get ready to catch baby. Photo by Carmell with Elegant Photo. www.elegantphoto.ca

This picture demonstrates how we all work together as a team. This beautiful mother-to-be is in the middle of her second stage of labour resting between pushes. Hubby and I are close to her face to provide that emotional support and comfort and the midwife is in the background where she has a better view to see what is happening as mom pushes and will eventually get ready to catch baby. Photo by Carmell with Elegant Photo. www.elegantphoto.ca

That is a birthing mother’s choice.  If she wants a doula then she should have one no matter if she is planning a home birth with a midwife or a hospital birth with a doctor.  Women definitely receive way more support under midwifery care than they do in the medical system, but will it be enough for them in the moment? A midwife’s focus is on the health and safety of mom and baby.  That always takes priority.  A lot of their tasks during the birth are more clinical in nature.  A doula’s focus is continuous emotional support and physical comfort for the mother.  Yes, we are both working to protect the mother’s birth experience and make it a positive one and of course midwives also provide emotional support and physical comfort, but it isn’t always possible when they are focused on their clinical tasks or if there is a complication that they need to deal with.  The doula may also spend more time during labour with the mother, as her support is generally continuous depending on the mother’s requests.  For instance, if it is a long early labour and the midwife comes for a while to check in with the mother and see how things are going, she may leave if the mother is still in the early stages of her birthing.  This is actually a good thing.  The midwife needs to remain sharp and clear to make medical decisions if necessary in the later stages of labour and when the baby is being born.  The doula, however, doesn’t need to be a sharp and alert to provide her care and comfort so she is able to stay with the mom if that’s what the mother wants and if she still needs support during that time.  Every situation is unique and I imagine different midwives provide slightly different care so there probably are times when the midwife and doula would be doing very similar things to help the mother and her birth partner during the birth.  We all work together as a team and it is wonderful for the mother to have all of that amazing support around her during this very transformative time in her life.