Pro And Cons Of Having A Midwife Or A Doula
Having a baby is a very personal experience. The months of gestation, medical appointments and emotions all add up to a unique, life-changing adventure! How a mother chooses to handle her delivery will be an important part of this individual pregnancy experience. Some women opt for a midwife or doula to help with the last stage of pregnancy, and while the two work well together, their roles are quite different. The choice of having a midwife or a doula is a personal one. Here is a brief rundown of what can be expected of each.
- A midwife will be the primary prenatal health care provider during the pregnancy and for up to six weeks after delivery. She will likely make an at-home visit within 24 hours after the mom and baby are discharged from the hospital. After six weeks, a midwife will refer clients back to their regular doctor.
- A midwife offers personal attention. She may have less of a workload than a physician and as such will spend more time with the expectant mother during a prenatal visit and during the birthing process.
- A midwife can write up prescriptions and order any medical tests required to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
- Midwives are experts in natural childbirth but will support the parents' choice if a natural birth isn't an option.
- A midwife can deliver in a hospital, birthing centre or at the mother's home.
- Although well educated in most aspects of labour and delivery, a midwife is generally qualified to be the caregiver during a low-risk or normal pregnancy only and as such may need to refer the mother to a physician if necessary at any point during the pregnancy.
- A doula plays a supportive role during labour and delivery. She is there for any non-medical support the expectant parents would like and will likely become more hands-on as labour progresses. She can also help support the father or partner.
- A doula works for the expectant parents, not for the health care provider or hospital. She is able to facilitate communication between parents and the medical staff.
- A doula will generally meet with the expectant parents one or more times prior to delivery to establish a prenatal relationship.
- A doula has a wealth of knowledge regarding labour and birthing positions, but in the role of doula is not a medically qualified professional.
- A doula will be there for the entire labour and will make postpartum visits. She will help the new mother with breastfeeding if required.