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What is the difference between a Doula and a Midwife?

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

A Midwife and a Doula are very different roles, but can work harmoniously together. As your Doula it is my job to focus solely on YOU. I am not there to attend to any clinical care (I do not

perform vaginal examinations, abdominal palpations, assess your physical labour progress, take vital signs or make recommendations) that is the role of your Midwife

These are all of the jobs that mean that there is not a lot of time to attend to EVERYTHING ELSE. Your Midwife legally has a load of tasks to complete, time constraints, guidelines and policies to guide their work which often leaves them with a limited capacity to be able to

truly see you as a person, not just another load of vital statistics on the production line of labour ward - I know, I have been there and been stuck between the two worlds of the clinical and the holistic care that birthing deserves

I always found that I was torn between the two roles and often the clinical care had to take precedence over the emotional care, as legally my job was on the line EVERY SHIFT. The

emotional care of birth was always sacrificed to the raw data and documentation that meant my care could be proven to be 'safe' by thorough and real time documentation

'Safe' equates to documented and physical. There is no assessment of whether I met the emotional needs of the birth space, of how satisfied the birth was for the

family or if they would view their experience as positive or traumatic. Are both parent and baby alive? Check. Did I comply with protocol/policy/guidelines? Check. Did I get them out of birth suite quick enough? Check (actually probably not, I hated rushing people after they had just given birth)... KPI met. Most Midwives feel this pressure and so many stretch themselves to the point of total burn-out to accomplish both. It is a heavy burden that I deeply respect. It is this pressure that leads many to independent/private practice or to walk away from their careers - or in my case, come at birth work from an entirely new direction! I always strived to provide both a safe and empowering experience for all of the families I worked with during my time as a Midwife - now I have shed all of that bureaucratic crap and can fully focus on the wellbeing of my clients

As a Doula I have my own KPI's that are at the heart of everything I do - Does/did the family feel empowered, calm, confident, supported and central to their birth experience? This is my mission! Until this is a KPI for systematic maternity care, I will never be out of a job (and sadly I suspect that this will not be a measure of success for a long time to come). A live baby and parent should be the BARE MINIMUM. If you are wanting more from your birth experience (and you should!), having a Doula is an essential ingredient. Lets meet up and see if I am the right Doula for you xx

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