Whenever I tell someone that I am a doula, 90% of the time they automatically say
"Oh you are a doula? That is like a midwife right?"
Short answer is No.
It is easy to understand why people think this though. Midwifery care is certainly (typically) more personal and more hands on then prenatal care under a General Practitioner or an Obstetrician. Your appointments are longer and not rushed and this leads to a closer and more intimate relationship with your midwife. Hopefully you like her and are excited to have her support you at your birth. Many people think that the midwife, with this special relationship you have formed over the past 9 months, will be there to support you continuously throughout your entire birth. They picture her being the one to rub your back, to remind you of your strength and to keep you calm. While it is true that midwives can play this part to some extent (and many of them love that side of patient care), the truth is, they just don't have the time. Midwives have to chart everything that happens in your labour. Everything. That is A LOT of charting. Their main goal is a healthy mama and a healthy baby.
The doula and midwife roles are not interchangeable. Each person brings their own tools and has their own jobs to accomplish in your birth.
- are licensed medical practitioners. If they were educated in BC, the midwifery course is a 4 year program
- are covered under MSP
- provide prenatal care throughout the whole pregnancy for low risk pregnancies
- are able to request tests and write prescriptions
- consult OBs if there are complications outside of their scope
- main goal during the birth is healthy baby and healthy mama and completing their clinical tasks
- joins mother after active labour has been well established. She may come and go, depending on what else is happening at the time
- offer 6 weeks of postpartum continued care
Doulas, though very informed on the medical side of pregnancy and birth, are NOT medical professionals. Doulas provide physical and emotional support for your pregnancy, birth and postpartum times.
- are trained through a certifying body. There are a number of different groups internationally. Both Olena and I (Samantha) are trained with DONA (previously known as Doulas of North America) and are currently working on our Hypnodoula certification through Hynobabies
- are not covered by MSP. That also means we do not work for anyone but YOU.
- build a relationship with you prenatally
- intimately knows your birth preferences, hopes and wishes
- provides you with evidence based information to help you decide what are the right choices for you
- do not give medical advice. They will refer you back to your health care provider to answer any specific medical questions you may have
- brings a sense of calm and normalcy to the birth process. Not many non-medical people have ever seen a woman birth. Doulas see this on the regular and know what normal is. This helps both the mother and her partner, if there is one, feel calm and relaxed
- joins the mother when the mother needs her to come and offers continuous labour support.
- thinks of the little things that make a big difference - a cool towel on your forehead and a sip of water always right as you need it
- offers physical comfort techniques to assist you in managing the birthing sensations
- suggests alternate positions to help your birth continue to progress
- sets up a platform for you to feel comfortable and confident to ask questions to your care provider if needed
- help to initiate breastfeeding
- offers postpartum care, both emotionally and physically
Does having a doula really make a difference? Do you really need one if you already have a midwife?
Yes, it really does make a difference in having a positive birth experience (research proves it) and having a midwife does not equal having a doula. As mentioned above, the jobs are not interchangeable. Both doulas and midwives have their own very important roles - and best of all - doulas and midwives LOVE working together. There is a wonderful team atmosphere with doulas and midwives and that is so beneficial during your birthing time!
The Maya's Nest is here to help you have the birth and postpartum experience that you want. As your doula, Samantha provides information, support and nurturing to birthing families across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.
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The Maya's Nest Doulas and Birth Photographers provide information, support and nurturing while capturing life's
most precious moments to families in Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody,
New Westminster, Burnaby, Vancouver, Langley and Surrey.