A member asked:
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how is a midwife different than a doula? i’m researching whether i’d like to have a midwife or doula at the birth of my baby, but i’m not clear on the difference.

1 doctor answer
Dr. Melissa Rankin
30 years experience Obstetrics and Gynecology
There : There are two types of midwives- certified nurse midwives and uncertified midwives. Certified nurse midwives require an advanced nursing degree and have undergone the rigorous certification process that licenses them to deliver babies with physician back-up. Uncertified midwives do not require a nursing degree and usually have less formal education, which leaves them unable to qualify for certification. While many uncertified midwives are very good, they are less regulated, which makes it more challenging to assess their qualifications and choose the best midwife. Both certified and uncertified midwives deliver babies, but only certified nurse midwives deliver in hospitals. If you’d prefer to experience labor and delivery with as little intervention as possible, reserving the participation of an ob/gyn only for emergencies, choosing a certified nurse midwife might be your best option. The services of a doula may overlap with those offered by a midwife, but doulas do not deliver babies. A doula serves more as a labor coach, offering guidance, assisting with the labor process, and making recommendations, often for those who seek to deliver naturally and want labor support, as well as the care of an ob/gyn. If you’re under the care of a doula, your doula and someone else- usually an ob/gyn- will deliver the baby. Many ob/gyn’s (myself included) love collaborating with midwives and doulas because the midwife or doula often has more time to be at the patient’s bedside, answer questions, make natural childbirth suggestions, and offer emotional support. If you want a doctor to perform your delivery but you want a labor experience that more closely mimics what you might experience with a midwife, a doula might be just the ticket.
Answered on Nov 10, 2018
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