Midwife vs. a Doula... What's the Difference?
The terms “midwife” and “doula” are often used interchangeably when talking about childbirth support. While midwives and doulas have a complementary approach to care, they each play a different role during the birthing process.
What is a midwife?
Certified-Nurse Midwives are medical professionals who offer many of the same services as OBGYN physicians, such as routine gynecologic care, pregnancy care, and childbirth.
Many patients choose a midwife when they want a tailored, personal experience during childbirth. Midwives tend to favor an approach to labor and birth that is based on normal physiologic processes, although medical interventions are honored if the patient prefers or the need arises. Having a midwife has been shown to decrease the need for a cesarean (c-section), decrease the need for Pitocin or an epidural, decrease the overall length of labor, and increase patient satisfaction.
What is a doula?
Doulas do not provide medical care, but instead provide emotional and educational support to the pregnant person and family. During the labor process, a doula will stay with the person and offer comfort measures to help with pain management. Like having a midwife, doulas also improve outcomes and increase patient satisfaction during labor and delivery.
Working together to provide you with a custom birth experience
You don’t have to choose a midwife vs. a doula to support you during your pregnancy and birth. At University of Iowa Health Care, you can work with both! Our team of Certified-Nurse Midwives has experience working closely with many doulas in our community. We welcome all birthing patients to bring a doula to support you and your family during the birth of your baby.