How is a doula different from a midwife? The biggest distinction is that a midwife is responsible for the physical wellbeing of the mother and baby, and a doula doesn’t do anything medical. A doula won’t take your pulse, blood pressure or temperature or check your cervix. A doula will stay with you continuously from the time you need her until after your baby is born. Heart to Heart doulas don’t change shift or go off duty. A homebirth midwife will often stay with you as well, but may need to take some time to sleep. A doula can do a great job even half-asleep, but your midwife needs to be alert when the baby’s coming out!
We love midwives and love working with them. A midwife-doula team offers fantastic support to a laboring mom. Most midwives are familiar with the things doulas are trained in (many were doulas first!), and they are very supportive of the techniques and suggestions doulas will help you with.
Doulas are never a replacement to a trained, experienced midwife or doctor. We want to ensure you are physically, emotionally, and mentally well. A doula will get you tea and rub your feet. She’ll keep track of the little details you can’t pay attention to. A doula notices if you looks warm or are shivering, if your lips looks dry, or if you haven’t been to the toilet in more than an hour.
Doulas and midwives aren’t the same, though there is plenty of overlap. If you are planning to have your baby with a midwife, having a doula is the perfect complement to midwifery care.