The roles of doula and midwife are very different, although both work with pregnant and birthing women and their families. Here is a quick guide to describe what it is a doula does ... and doesn't .... do.
What a doula does
- Supports your decision-making by providing information and options, referring you to sources that can give additional information, and assisting you to formulate questions for your care providers to get the information you need.
- Supports you in labour, offering verbal guidance, emotional reassurance and comfort, position changes, water, ice, heat packs and space as needed.
- Helps you prepare for birth, suggesting birth education classes, birth preparation methods and providing books and DVDs
- Helps you to create and refine your birth plan.
- A doula understands the medical system and the best ways to navigate it.
What a doula does not do
- Judge you for the decisions and choices you make
- Speak for you when you are with your care provider
- Perform any clinical care such as checking your blood pressure, position of baby, monitoring, internal exams
- Offer any clinical / health care advice (but does give you options, pros and cons)
- Make decisions for you