Doula, Midwife or Both? — The Bump
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Doula, Midwife or Both?

Has anyone had experience with both? I am in between opinions right now. I would love to have a Doula, but am leary about insurance not paying for the bill. My midwife said she will commit to being avaiable during my birth, but I wanted to know if she will be doing the same thing as a midwife or if she'll be different. She knows I am shooting for a natural birth. I do know that Doulas bring gadgets and things with them for labor.
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Re: Doula, Midwife or Both?

  • A doula is different than a midwife and is more of an experienced support person.  A midwife will see you throughout your pregnancy and do all the prenatal checkups, etc.  I was seen by midwives and had a doula at my birth as well.  Doulas will bring comfort aides with them, but they will not be assisting with stitching you up afterwards if needed or providing oxygen, stuff like that. 
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  • They are very different.  A doula is mostly a labor support person whereas a midwife is an actual medical care provider.  If you want a doula you still need to have an OB or midwife.
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  • Oooh, this helps a lot. Thanks for the information. So would my midwife be the one to deliver the baby or will she wait on the doctor to get there? What is the difference between having a midwife and a doctor? I asked my doctor this question and she said there isn't much of a difference, but I don't quite believe her. The practice I go to has a MW and like 10 doctors.
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  • imagesoupahstr:
    Oooh, this helps a lot. Thanks for the information. So would my midwife be the one to deliver the baby or will she wait on the doctor to get there? What is the difference between having a midwife and a doctor? I asked my doctor this question and she said there isn't much of a difference, but I don't quite believe her. The practice I go to has a MW and like 10 doctors.

    If you have a MW, a doctor won't be there unless there are some sort of complications.  DS was having severe decels so an OB was present and she used a vacuum to help get him out.  My MW was still a part of the delivery though.  I prefer a MW because in general, they are less likely to push unnecessary labor interventions and early induction.  I thought a MW gave me the best chances of a med-free delivery.  She also spent way more time with me at appointments.

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  • I had both for the birth of  my son.  My midwife couldn't guarantee she'd be available for the birth (she'd only be able to come if it was one of her on-call days anyway, or if it was during her own, personal spare time and she didn't have another, pressing event- like she had a family reunion the day my son was born so if labor had progressed more quickly, she wouldn't have been able to deliver him and part of the day, she was out of reach, so the on-call midwife couldn't get ahold of her).  

    I LOVED that midwife.  She was amazing.  She was the only one in the practice with much experience in natural births and she was very PRO natural birth.  She said it would be a GREAT idea for me to have a doula.  They don't have the same job.  Not at all.  The doula is there JUST for mom.  Midwife is there for the medical needs of mom and baby and can't be in the room for all of the labor.  She'll have other obligations to attend to during those hours.  A doula would also be able to join you at home (if you're not having a home birth) before you decide to head to the hospital.  

    My doula was also awesome.  She helped DH and I both through the struggles we suffered through the labor (the hospital I delivered at was very ANTI- natural birth).  I strongly believe that without either one of them, I'd have ended up with an unecessary c-sec.  Which also means that I thank my lucky stars that my water broke on a day when my midwife was able to attend the birth, because the witch that was on call was not supportive at all.  

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  • My MW brings two nurse-midwives and one support person who is a MW-in-training to a birth, all of whom I have met and will have met several times. We are doing Bradley classes, so my husband will be my labor coach. We intend to birth at home. So, I don't feel like I also need a doula, and if I did get one, my home would be very crowded! My MW also does lactation support stuff post-partum.

    If you think your midwife will not have enough support staff, you need a labor coach or lactation support, your MW will be too busy to help advocate for you in a hospital setting, or there is some other need that will not be met, spring for the doula. If money is a concern, though, I would look for another way to meet those needs for your natural birth.

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  • Thanks everyone! I am giong to meet with a doula this weekend hopefully and keep the MW.
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  • I had both at both births.  My doulas were invaluable.  I always say I will never birth a baby without a doula there.  Good luck with your interviews!
    imageLilypie - (d9io)
    imageLilypie - (3w4O)
  • I vote both. The more help the better. I only had doula for my first delivery. Probably didn't "need" her for the midwife birth, because once things really got going she pretty much parked herself in my room, but there's no guarantee that she can do that. The doula is yours for the duration. Use her. 
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