Historically, childbirth involved a support system of women assisting a woman through her pregnancy and in the immediate postpartum period. Over centuries, this has proven to have a positive impact on the labor and birthing process.
Women use the vital support of a doula or the expertise of a midwife as both services have proven beneficial with positive outcomes. Here is a better understanding of what both these trained professionals have to offer.
Who Is a Doula?
A trained professional in childbirth who provides emotional, educational and physical support to an expecting mother, a woman in labor, or someone who has recently given birth. The doula’s only priority to help the woman have a safe, memorable and empowering childbirth experience.
What Does A Doula Do?
- After developing a relationship with the client, a doula helps the mother create her birth plan.
- A doula will address the mother’s concerns and fear, answer her question and provide her and the partner with valuable medical aspects and information.
- They are skilled in providing comfort and pain-relief techniques including breathing techniques, massages and labouring positions.
- They encourage participation from partners and offer reassurance.
- A doula acts as an advocate for the mother, helping and encouraging her to fulfil specific desires she might have for her birth.
- They are obligated to ensure the mother has a safe and positive birth, whether it is an un-medicated birth or a caesarean section.
- Labor doulas spend time helping mothers begin the breastfeeding process and encourage bonding with the baby and other family members.
Numerous studies have documented the benefits of having a doula present during labor and have showed a very high number of positive birth outcomes.
Benefits Of Using A Doula:
- When a doula is present, women are less likely to request pain-relief medication.
- Using a doula has shown reduced caesarean and preterm birth and could save Medicaid. 1
- Doulas provide continuous support from start to finish without leaving the side of
- Doulas and partners can work together to make an effective labor support team and be there for the mother at all times.
- Having a doula gives the partner the opportunity to focus on emotionally supporting the mother rather than trying to remember what they learnt in prenatal classes.
Who Is A Midwife?
A healthcare professional who provides an array of healthcare services for women including gynaecologist examinations, contraceptive counselling, prescriptions and labor and delivery care. A midwife specializes in providing expert care during labor, delivery and after birth.
What Does A Midwife Do?
- Midwives (based on licensing and certification) provide annual gynaecological exams, preconception care, family planning, prenatal care, labor and delivery support, newborn care and menopausal management.
- They generally provide reproductive education in fertility, nutrition, exercise, contraception, pregnancy health, breastfeeding and quality infant care.
- Midwives strive to facilitate natural childbirth as much as possible and this is one of the main reasons women opt use a midwife.
- Because of their professionalism and expertise, midwives are often part of a labor and delivery team associated with a local hospital.
Midwifery care is gaining popularity as it
Benefits Of Using a Midwife:
- Reduced rates of labor induction, augmentation and cesarean sections.
- Decreased risk of infant mortality and preterm births
- Reduced use of regional anesthesia along with decreased risk of third and fourth degree perineal tears
- Lowered costs for both clients and insurers
If a woman has a high-risk pregnancy and/or if complications are anticipated, it is recommended to choose a hospital setting with more convenient access to obstetricians, perinatlogists, and other trained professionals to address complications affecting either mother or baby.
If you and your child are healthy and developing well, you can choose to include the support of a doula, a midwife or both. It would prove more beneficial to make this decision during the crucial early stages of a pregnancy, to ensure things progress smoothly.