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Hey, maybe I DO want to be midwife!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I was a "friend" doula for one of my friends last week and her birth was beautiful and fast--I was supposed to give her a ride to the hospital and it went so fast she gave birth at HOME!

What would be the difference between choosing to be a doula vs. choosing to be a midwife, including education and job "description"? Which is easier to do with small children? How would I know what is the better option for my temperament?

Is there a website where I can check this out? I'm on a real high here right now, and this was last Thursday!
post #2 of 5
Check out MidwiferyToday.com which has lots of info. They also have free weekly email newsletters. Also DONA (Doulas of North America) their website can give lots of info on a doula's scope of practice.

I don't know if one would necessarily be easier than another. Both have totally unpredictable schedules and you could potentially be gone for days without very many breaks to call home.

Doula education is definitely shorter than going to school or studying to be a midwife simply because the whole clinical aspect isn't needed (cervical exams, etc.).

I would just say to search your heart about what you find attractive about birth and then find which field includes that. They're both similar in many ways but different in many ways also.

Hope that helps.
post #3 of 5
Hi! The schooling for midwifery is more indepth, it really depends on what state you are from as to what requirements there are to train and work there as a midwife, and then you have to select a route (nurse midwife, or direct entry midwife) the schooling options are different for both.

I doula some, and am a student midwife also. I am in the ATM program. I have to say that a couple differences strike me in the contrast between doula and midwife responsibilities. As a doula, I can provide information on things which come up, say nutrition or high blood pressure, but ultimately it is up to mom to read and decide if she wants to pursue those options. If she elects to continue her nutrition as it is, or elects not to try vitamins or foods for high blood pressure, I just step back and let her deal with what comes next or take the pills the doctor prescribes. As a midwife, I have a vested interest in knowing that she is taking her nutrition seriously, or if I make a recommendation for certain vitamins for anemia, blood pressure, etc. that mom will be motivated to do those things- if she does not, and her health declines or the condition worsens then I have to refer her to medical care... I hope I'm making sense... it's late... The other thing which is noticeably different to me is the level of awareness at the birth. As a doula my main focus is mom and the progress of the labor, also dad's participation and the hospital's level of birth friendliness. As the homebirth midwife I must be alert to mom and baby, and stay on my guard making certain that both are doing well and handling the labor well. If anything comes up, I have to be able to make an educated assessment of the best action to take, and decide when transport needs to happen. After the birth, my responsibilities go up a level, assessing the baby and watching that the postpartum goes well. It is critical that I be certain that mom and baby are very well in health, and resting when I leave the birth. Then afterwards there are papers to complete, etc.

Some ladies start out training as doulas or CBE's and then they continue on to study midwifery- that way they have experience, and are familiar with many of the resources, before they invest time and money into further schooling. There are too many routes to list them all...

Hope that helps some...

The Lord bless you!

Aspiring midwives study group
post #4 of 5
Hey! Congrats on your surprise homebirth! Nothing like those little, wet, slippery sweeties!!! Awesome!!!

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
What was interesting to me is that the EMT said, "so, are you the MW"? And I said no, she's at the hospital . . .

I had rattled off where we were at, and exactly what happened (why I called EMTs, etc.): cxns abt. so many apart, etc. and I don't know if I sounded more knowledgeable than I felt . . .

I love babies totally, but I'm wondering if being a doula would be more what feels right because I really enjoy the supporting another woman thing. Although I just read a book about midwives in N. America and that sounded great too . . . Where I live now I would have to get my RN first, then . . . I don't want to do that, but we're moving SOMEWHERE next year. NO clue where.

What I really posted to say was that last year I was totally into the idea of being a Bradley instructor, but to tell you the truth, I'm really into getting right in the thick of things. My friend went so fast it was hard to tell that I was any help at all (she swears I was), but it would be really cool to help a mom w/ a long labor avoid drugs, etc. The thing about the Bradley teacher though is that I COULD do that with little kids/nursing babies, etc. One eve a week or so. You know--work out of my home. Maybe I'll do it all--just take it a few years at a time!

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