|What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
A midwife is a trained nurse who has specialized in pregnancy
and birth and is an expert in these areas. If you have hospital
birth then you will be assisted most of the time by a midwife
in the labour ward. Your doctor will probably visit periodically
and keep in touch with the midwife with regard to your progress.
The doctor will then attend the actual birth.
In some hospitals and where the labour is straight forward
with no complications, the delivery can be done by the midwife.
This may also be the case if you choose a home birth.
In contrast the doula may or may not be a trained midwife.
A doula is a companion to help you through the labour. This
is task that any caring and sensible person can carry out-
to be there for you, to listen and help you and just generally
be supportive. This means that the busy midwife can be relaxed
knowing that someone is with you all the time and that you
are supported and do not feel isolated and afraid. It also
takes the pressure off your partner, as this can also be
a stressful time for them, and it means that they are not
having to live up to some expectation of coping well during
the birth. As with many situations regarding human nature,
once the pressure to perform is off, most people rise to
the occasion wonderfully well. In other words, having a
doula present helps to achieve the kind of birth that you
are hoping for.
One aspect to keep in mind is that both the doula and the
midwife have a role to play after the birth. There is evidence
to show that women who were visited by midwife or doula
after the birth, coped better. The knowledge that you have
that support can be very helpful.