Midwife, Doula, OB, Which Should You Add to Your Healthcare Team?
This post is a bit of a roster for your medical and support staff during your labor and delivery. Here we break down the difference between doulas, midwives, and OBs. Which one you will choose for your team when it comes time to push is a very personal decision. This decision looks differently for every mom, and there is no one right or wrong option.
Doula’s provide support for moms during their pregnancy, through their labor, and during their postpartum period. Doulas do not actually assist in the delivery of your baby. Doula’s focus on the needs of the mother, and as such can be a powerful source of support for pregnant moms. These individuals help moms find and retain their voice during pregnancy and childbirth, and can help to translate the process when emotions and fears can be elevated.
During delivery, doulas can offer hands on support like massages, coach mothers in breathing techniques, and can provide information on various labor positions and more. Doulas make a great addition to your healthcare team.
Pro Tip: Regardless of whether you are planning a home or hospital birth, having a doula on your team is a great source of knowledge, comfort, and empowerment for moms. The BeauGen team highly recommends these professionals.
While doulas do continue to see mothers during the beginning of their postpartum period, a postpartum doula is someone who is specifically trained to help moms navigate this sometimes isolating and confusing time.
Check out our podcast with postpartum doula, Sandy J. Green of Empowered Pumping, here.
Midwives have been around for a very long time, and offer a low tech, personalized approach to birth. Many midwives, but not all, specialize in water births. They tend to be able to offer less pain medication but more holistic pain management techniques. Midwives tend to practice either in the home or freestanding birthing centers, rather than hospitals. All midwives are trained to recognize potential emergencies as they develop so that you can seek medical care from a licensed doctor.
Certified Nurse Midwives are able to practice within a hospital setting, as a member of your healthcare team. Unlike traditional midwives, a nurse midwife may be able to offer pain medication during your labor.
Board certified doctors, Obstetricians often called OB-Gyn, are highly trained and highly specialized. Practicing in a hospital, these healthcare providers are able to handle high-risk births, offer pain management medication and procedures, perform C-sections, and more. OBs can also induce labor.
Maternal-Fetal Medicine Doctor
If you have a high-risk pregnancy or are preparing for a high-risk delivery, your OB-Gyn may consult with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Doctor. These physicians specialize in moms with chronic health problems, birth defects, and moms who have had un-routine pregnancies in the past. Maternal-Fetal Medicine Doctors are OB-Gyns who train for an additional two to three years.
So How Do You Make the Right Choice for Your Delivery?
After reading this blog post, take some time to think about your preferences. Would you like being in a hospital? Do you prefer less interventions? Questions like these will help you to determine what your ideal birth experience is and enable you to make an informed decision about whom to choose as your healthcare provider.
Talk your family and friends to learn who they chose for their healthcare team, if they wished they had chosen differently and why, or if there is anything they've recently learned that can help inform your decision making process. Then, talk with your partner. Together, you are the main components of your healthcare team. Your partner might have some really good questions of their own. They might also have fears or wishes which they haven't yet voiced.
Then, make your decision based on the information you've gathered and your personal preferences. Write it down, and then research some options in your area.