Doula, Midwife Or Obstetrician: The Choice Is Yours

Posted on: 3 September 2015


Pregnant women have many options when it comes to designing their perfect birth plan. They are no longer restricted to stringent hospital rules or outdated beliefs about the birthing process. While some moms-to-be forego the hospital setting altogether when the big day arrives, others simply opt to integrate modern birthing techniques into labor. One of the most important decisions is who will assist with the delivery of your new bundle of joy? Whether it is a midwife, a doula, a traditional obstetrician or a combination, the result should be an environment in which mom is relaxed and feels safe.


Midwives receive some medical training, although they do not necessarily have a medical degree. However, they are required to become certified through the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council. State laws differ widely, but in general, midwives can provide prenatal care as well as deliver infants. In some cases, they can even care for infants in the first few months of life. A midwife is a good option for those who want to give birth outside of a traditional hospital setting, such as at home or at a birthing center.


Doulas differ from midwives in that their primary role throughout pregnancy and labor is to be a strong advocate and supporter for the mother. Like midwives, they are certified and their level of care is regulated by state law. While they do not provide specific medical care to mother or child, they do provide various homeopathic treatments to ease pain and enhance comfort. Most doulas specialize in either birth or postpartum care. Doulas are a good option for mothers who want non-conventional approaches to birth combined with traditional medical care. Doulas can be present in a hospital birth and work alongside your obstetrician or at home births along with a midwife.    


An obstetrician is a trained medical professional who cares for pregnant women throughout their pregnancy and delivers their baby. Unlike doulas and midwives, obstetricians are also surgeons who have the ability to perform a cesarean section in case of distress or perform other surgical procedures to save the life of the mother. While obstetricians do receive training on the most advanced birthing care and procedures, they often limit patients in the flexibility, positioning and control that they have over the birth process.

No matter which of these practitioners you choose, make sure to introduce them to others who will be involved in the birth process. For example, doulas and obstetricians should meet long before labor begins. Contact a company like All Women's Healthcare to get started.