If you have any questions that have not been addressed on this page or the rest of my site, feel free to ask them in the comments below or by email.
Q: What is the difference between a Doula and a Midwife?
A: Though Midwives and Doulas are both birth professionals, they are quite different. Midwives are professionals who specialize in physically delivering babies. If registered with the government, they are part of the medical system even though they perform births in mother’s homes. It is their job to keep track of the baby’s and mother’s health during delivery. The Doula focuses her attention on the emotional and comfortable state of the mother and partner. The doula does not perform any medical/physical exams or offer diagnostic or any medical advice. Like the midwife, the doula will offer prenatal meetings to discuss the birth process and what to expect. Often doulas will also offer articles and books for the parents’ research.
Q: Why should I hire a doula if I have a midwife?
A: A doula is not around for only the parents’ sake. Though midwives would love to emotionally and physically support their clients, they have paper work, need to keep checking in with the baby and mother’s progression, and other regulated obligations to take care of. It is hard to do both the midwife’s role and doula’s role at the same time. The doula will focus all of her energy into supporting the parents’ wishes.
Q: Is a doula useful if I am taking prenatal classes and doing lots of research?
A: There are plenty of resources for parents who are having a baby. Plenty of classes, lots of books and videos, and your care providers will also offer lots of advice and resources. However, care is very much based off of the provider’s beliefs. And not all research is good research. There are many misleading or conflicting studies and articles done. Quite often prenatal classes have a lot of information to provide in a short amount of time, so they mostly focus on positions for birth and skim through topics like interventions and how the labour process works. Care providers commonly offer the information that they think the client needs to know but will skip on some general knowledge which is good for anyone to know. The doula will answer any questions the mother and partner have while giving guidance for where to find good research as well. From my experience, there have been many times where I have expanded on what my client’s midwife/doctor has said. I have also provided the time to go over what was learned in classes and helped the parents to relearn any positions they think will be helpful.
Q: How will a Doula benefit my partner?
A: Bringing a baby into the world is not only an event that affects the mother, but also her partner. Your partner is there to support you during your time of expectancy, but it is just as much their day of becoming a parent as it is yours. A Doula can provide guidance to both parents in this time of excitement and perhaps anxiety. It is not the Doula’s job to take over the partner’s birth role, but instead to offer them suggestions to help comfort the mother. Likewise, she acts as a calming figure to re-ensure that the birth is moving along safely and normally. She may also provide a break for the partner when they require rest. Ways that the Doula can assist without interfering with your connection with your partner may include warming a blanket, preparing light snacks, or getting both partners water.
Q: Can I have a Doula for a planned hospital birth?
A: Absolutely! It is encouraged to hire a Doula for any form/style of birth, especially for hospital births. She can be your voice in moments of confusion with hospital staff. Of course this does not mean that you are not allowed to speak for yourself. But if this is your first planned natural birth in a hospital, you may not know the details of how easy it is to lose sight of your original plan. This is where the Doula can step in and clarify whether you REALLY want an epidural or NEED to have a Cesarean.