The Difference between Midwives and Doulas

Midwives and doulas both attend births, so they are the same, right? Well, actually, no, they are not. The roles of each profession are quite different. Some women wonder if they need one or the other; often, they choose to have a midwife or sometimes both.

Midwifes are skilled healthcare professionals who are experts in normal birth. Midwives use the Midwives Model of Care which supports that fact that pregnancy and birth are normal biological and physiological life processes. Midwives offer specific individualized care based on the needs of woman and babies. They provide medical advice and encourage informed consent. Midwives conduct prenatal appointments, obtain prenatal labs, administer hemorrhagic medications and suture tears if needed. Midwives statistically have significantly lower rates of interventions.

Midwives can either be a certified nurse midwife (CNM) or a certified professional midwife (CPM). Nurse midwives often work in hospitals, while certified professional midwives offer care and support in birth centers or provide homebirth services in the comfort of people’s homes. If the care required is outside the scope of midwifery, the women (and/or baby) is referred to another healthcare provider.

There are two types of doulas: birth and postpartum. Birth doulas offer advice, information, plus continuous emotional support and physical comfort, mainly to a mother, but also the father before, during and after childbirth. Birth doulas often facilitate communication between laboring moms, partners, and health care providers. A postpartum doula provides support and education on breastfeeding, recovery from birth, mother/baby bonding, infant soothing and newborn care. A postpartum doula supports families in those first days and weeks after their baby is born. Neither type of  doula  provides medical treatments.

Doulas are trained at a weekend course. They can be certified through DONA International or uncertified. Doulas attend births in homes, birth centers and hospitals. Postpartum doulas support families in the comfort of their homes.

Midwives and doulas support pregnant, laboring and postpartum woman in different ways. Basically, a midwife is a healthcare provider, while a doula is more like a childbirth coach.   For more information, contact Raquel at



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s