Doulas & Midwives. What's the Difference?
A midwife is a primary health care professional who provides prenatal care, care during labour, birth and postpartum. A midwife can do all the care and tests that an obstetrician can do for low risky, healthy pregnant people. A midwife cannot, however, provide a cesarean birth. An obstetrician can do everything a midwife can do with the exception of postpartum care of the birthing parent and the newborn. Midwives care for both mother and baby up to 6 weeks postpartum. Midwives help pregnant women and their families make decisions by offering informed choices during the pregnancy and supporting clients to make decisions that are appropriate for them. During a woman’s labour a midwife will stay with the labouring woman once she is in active labour. Midwifery in Ontario is regulated by the College of Midwives of Ontario. For more information about midwives please go to the College of Midwives website. A doula provides physical and emotional support to women before, during and after the birth. A doula may: assist the woman in preparing a birth plan, stay with the woman throughout her labour (this may include early labour and active labour), provide emotional support and physical comfort measures during the labour, be certified by DONA International. A Doula is key to the partner taking part in the birth and feeling confident and prepared. Your doula will also remain with you as emotional support when all others focus on clinical care. This is the most important, and integral, component that will keep you focused on a positive birth experience to share with your child. For more information about doulas please visit DONA International.