Doula or Midwife: I'm confused!!!

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by SugarStash, May 7, 2007.

  1. SugarStash

    SugarStash Member

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    I just have a quick question. I hear some women who assist w/ homebirths refer to themselves as doulas, and some as midwives. Is there a difference? Please forgive my ignorance, I just can't seem to find an answer. Thank You!!!
  2. HippyFreek

    HippyFreek Vintage Member

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    A midwife is a woman skilled in the physiology of a birth, knowing basic problem-solving skills and such. She takes the place of an obstetrician. Her focus is the end-result: the baby.

    A doula is a woman skilled in being a part of the labour. She helps momma through contractions. She helps bring daddy into the process without making him uncomfortable. She does the monotonous stuff, like bring ice chips, heat towels, rub the back, start the shower, dry the momma, comfort and croon and keep momma focused. She's there from the very start of labour (if you want her to be) until after the baby is born. Some doulas even specialise in helping in the post-partum period by house-cleaning, meal-making, taking care of older kiddos, and helping momma figure out nursing. Her focus is the woman.
  3. colorfulhippie

    colorfulhippie Member

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  4. shaina

    shaina No War Know Peace

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    Recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life...
    Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor... Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth...
    Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor...
    Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions...
    Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and clinical careproviders...
    Perceives her role as one who nutures and protects the woman's memory of her birth experience.
    The acceptance of doulas in maternity care is growing rapidly with the recognition of their important contribution to the improved physical outcomes and emotional well-being of mothers and infants.


    Since the beginning of human history, women have helped other women in the transition to motherhood. Midwives are the primary health care providers in most countries where birth is an integral part of family life. Countries with the highest rate of midwifery care today – emphasizing competent prenatal care, education, and empowerment for the woman giving birth – also have the best outcomes for mothers and babies. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared in 1990 that birth was actually safer for mothers and babies when utilizing midwifery for pregnancy and childbirth

    Midwifery is based on a strong belief in partnership with childbearing women and respect for birth as a normal life event. Midwives strive to empower parents with knowledge and support their right to create the birth experience which is best for them.
    Midwives respect intimacy, privacy, and family integrity, and draw on their own patience and understanding to provide care during pregnancy and birth.

    Midwives Today

    The modern midwife is a health professional who provides holistic heath care to the childbearing woman and newborn. She respects a wide range of women's need including personal and cultural values. Focusing on the natural processes of pregnancy, labor, and birth, she combines traditional skills and modern medical techiques to safeguard normal childbirth. The midwife maintains associations with physicians and other health care providers to ensure that mother and child have the best knowledge and technology available.

    types of Midwives in the United States

    Certified Professional Midwives
    Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) may gain their midwifery education through a variety of routes. They must have their midwifery skills and experience evaluated through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) certification process and pass the NARM Written Examination and Skills Assessment. Legal status varies from state to state. In some states, midwives' services are reimbursable through Medicaid and private insurance carrriers.

    Certified Nurse-Midwives
    Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are educated in both nursing and midwifery. After attending an educational program accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives Certification Council (ACC), they must pass the ACC examination and can be licensed in the individual states in which they practice. CNMs practice most often in hospitals and birth centers.

    Direct-Entry Midwives
    "Direct-entry" midwives, who are licensed in some states, are not required to become nurses before training to be midwives. The Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council (MEAC) is currently accrediting direct-entry midwifery educational programs and apprenticeships in the U.S. Direct-entry midwives' legal status varies according to state and they practice most often in birth centers and in homes.
  5. homeschoolmama

    homeschoolmama Senior Member

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    I have a friend who's a trained doula. She tells people that she's a "professional birthing coach!"

    Midwives are trained in all areas of childbirth - and take the place of a doctor. :)
  6. barefoot_kirstyn

    barefoot_kirstyn belly flop

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    they all basically answered the question.
    i was juts gunna say that the midwives are the more "medical" ones who are looking after that area of the birth, whereas the doula is there for support.
  7. Doulamoon

    Doulamoon Guest

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    Its funny as my grannie had a neighbour with no medical training be her midwife, that was in 1944 though when the local midwife was a experienced woman in birth, although there were nurse qualified midwifes in those days too.

    to me the old translation of midwife as in "with woman" is what doulas do as we support the woman, but we are also highly educated in birth and attend where possible workshops etc, and at some universities they have open lectures where you can go and sit in on the lectures to find out about new things.

    For me I would hope that every Doula would be trained in first aid and have basic skills in first aid for mum and baby.

    its fun to support birth in all its formats

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