Pro And Cons Of Having A Midwife Or A Doula

To have a midwife or doula help deliver their baby is one of several decisions expectant parents will need to make over the the course of the pregnancy. What are the pros and cons of each? Read on to find out.

Midwife

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.

Midwife

  • 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.

Doula

  • 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.

MORE ON LABOUR AND DELIVERY

What does "natural birth" mean?
Birthing options in Canada
Understanding your prenatal care options

Tags: labor and delivery

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