doula vs. midwife - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 10-05-2006, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I plan on having a nonmedicated birth with a midwife (my first baby). I am considering hiring a doula as well. Husband thinks they basically do the same thing, so the doula isn't really necessary. Is he right or should I get the doula anyway?
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#2 of 14 Old 10-06-2006, 12:54 AM
 
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It depends on the doula and the midwife. My midwives joined me late in labor where as a doula would be there from the very beginning. Also, my midwives were birth focused and as a doula, I am mom focused. I see doula care as a compliment to midwifery care.
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#3 of 14 Old 10-06-2006, 12:58 AM
 
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Agree with above person! I would interview both the doulas and the midwives you are considering.

Also depends what type of midwife you are using and if the midwife has a birthing assistant who may act like a doula.

Also is your husband comfortable and ready for the birth? Sometimes a doula can help remind your partner how to be supportive while a midwife tends more to the birthing process.

Do you want someone to get you things like water, food, massage and someone to hold your hand and be there at all times? Then go for a doula, but if you feel you have good support from your partner, then maybe just the midwife is fine.
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#4 of 14 Old 10-06-2006, 01:27 AM
 
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yeah, I agree with everyone above.

A doula is there from the beginning of labor. She will take care of all your needs (massage, water, food, encouragement, etc). She doesn't do anything medical, but just is there for you and your dh during the entire labor.

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#5 of 14 Old 10-06-2006, 02:32 AM
 
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I'm a doula too, and I agree with second poster. When you have a midwife in attendance to a home birth, often the midwife brings a doula, or you can hire one.

Midwives normally stay close by until baby is ready, but they do offer great support too. But a doula is going to be 100% focused on you and your partner.

Good luck deciding!

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#6 of 14 Old 10-06-2006, 03:16 AM
 
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I had a midwife and TWO doulas. While I'm sure most midwives provide wonderful support, there are a few things to consider. What if your midwife is at another birth and only can come for the very last part of your labor? This leaves you unsupported throughout labor. Your midwife must concern herself with the physical wellbeing and health of you and your baby. A doula does not have this "distraction" so can focus totally on your and your husband. I would say my doulas were the best money ever spent.
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#7 of 14 Old 10-06-2006, 03:44 AM
 
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The most important time for a midwife to be at her "freshest" and most alert is during pushing and immediate postpartum. IF you have a long labor AND need a lot of support, if your midwife were alone with you and your partner she could be so wiped by the time for the birth, she might not be at 100% at the most critical time. It is important for her to have enough help so she could get some rest if needed. I have always had 2 doulas, one more experienced and a newbie who doesn't charge who needs the experience. And I have had 6 hour labors each time, and I'm still really glad I had all the help I did. That's what I'd recommend. But also talk to the midwife, she may have an assistant/apprentice who also serves as a doula.

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#8 of 14 Old 10-06-2006, 08:23 AM
 
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I agree with above, it really depends upon your midwife if you will need a doula. But the length of your labor does make a difference too. Some of the women who help me are doulas so that works well for my ladies. I would ask your midwife who her helpers are.

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#9 of 14 Old 10-06-2006, 01:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babes in arms View Post
It depends on the doula and the midwife. My midwives joined me late in labor where as a doula would be there from the very beginning. Also, my midwives were birth focused and as a doula, I am mom focused. I see doula care as a compliment to midwifery care.
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#10 of 14 Old 10-06-2006, 08:31 PM
 
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I am training with DONA and their position is that doulas don't do anything medical. They support the mom as a birth partner. They are trained to help get through the (sometimes) long and intense labor. A husband/life partner are not trained this way (usually).

Doulas don't take blood pressure, heartrates, cervical exams, etc. They are not trained to deliver babies, only to help the mom to be as comfortable as possible while laboring and birthing. Which is a very big job for a husband/life-partner to do alone, and can be more than a midwife can do while she's focusing on the baby being birthed.

A doula is there from the very beginning, through the birth, and into early post-partum. The midwife might just be there for the end of labor, on.

Some midwives are able to be there for a longer period of time and usually do provide emotional support, etc. But usually, I think they come in later on.

This is why doulas and midwives (or OBs) make good teams. They do compliment each other providing lots of love and support.
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#11 of 14 Old 10-06-2006, 08:40 PM
 
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My view is different. I would not get a doula because I don't want more people there, and my midwives are there the entire time doing everything a doula would do.

It all depends on the midwife and how many people you want there.

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#12 of 14 Old 10-09-2006, 04:54 AM
 
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I had two midwives and a doula and needed them all at my homebirth. I have also been a doula at many homebirths, in which I did hours and hours of labor support, plus postpartum support while the midwife slept during the labor to be awake and alert for delivery.

I found my doulas and midwives to work together as a great team, and I have worked well with many homebirth midwives.

I do not believe it is a matter of "vs." - it is up to your preference, do you want support or seclusion? Some people choose homebirth because they want to be alone with just their partner and the midwife in the other room for emergency. In that case a doula may not be necessary because you want to almost imagine you are having an unassisted birth.

If you want support, someone to make meals for you, to rub your back, to do the double hip squeeze, and sit with you throughout the entire labor and beyond, then a doula is a good option.
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#13 of 14 Old 10-09-2006, 10:23 AM
 
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I think it depends on the midwife and how things are set up. I know my MW brings a second along with as an assistant (This person is also a MW or soemtimes a doula) That person functions in a doula role until the baby comes and then assists the MW. I asked MW's while interviewing and got a variety of answers. I had a homebirth and my MW said either way but most of her home clients did not - but she encoruages it at the hospital b/c someitmes she HAS to spend more time dealing with staff, paperwork, troubleshooting ect, whereas at a homebirth these thngs are not an issue as much.
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#14 of 14 Old 10-09-2006, 01:10 PM
 
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A very experienced doula explained to me why a doula is still important at a midwife attended birth. During the birth, the midwife is focused on the birth and cannot do to much in the way of physical support and the doula can stay up by the moms top half and help her by holding her hand, whispering encourgement in her ear, serving her drinks and placing cold compresses on her forehead. Its true that a partner can do that part too but often 2 pairs of hands are helpful!
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