Midwife and Doula, What's the Difference?

Maybe many of you have heard of the term midwife and doula. However, many also think that midwives and doulas have similar roles. Even though they both accompany pregnant women, the duties of midwives and doulas are very different. you know!

A midwife is a professional health worker who can provide medical assistance to pregnant women from the time of pregnancy, childbirth, until the baby is born. To become a midwife, one must first graduate from midwifery education.

Meanwhile, doulas are not medical personnel, but professionals who have been trained and certified to assist pregnant women. Doulas are tasked with providing emotional and physical support, as well as information needed by pregnant women during pregnancy and postpartum.

This is the Difference Between the Role of a Midwife and a Doula

Broadly speaking, the difference between midwives and doulas lies in the type of service. Midwives provide medical assistance to pregnant women, while doulas are more focused on psychological services.

When described in detail, the tasks that midwives can perform are as follows:

  • Perform examinations during pregnancy to monitor the health condition of the fetus.
  • Provide recommendations related to food, types of exercise, medicines, and general health information to pregnant women.
  • Provide knowledge to pregnant women regarding the period of pregnancy, childbirth, and baby care.
  • Assist pregnant women in planning the birth process.
  • Guiding pregnant women during the delivery process.
  • Helping pregnant women during and after normal delivery.

Unlike midwives, doulas are not allowed to be involved in any medical procedures. However, often a doula is needed to bridge the communication between pregnant women and medical personnel. Usually pregnant women have started to be accompanied by a doula since the second or third trimester.

The doula's job is to help pregnant women create a safe and emotionally comfortable environment during their pregnancy. Doulas also provide support to pregnant women in going through each phase that must be passed.

Some of the services a doula can provide include:

  • Teach pregnant women relaxation and breathing techniques.
  • Help pregnant women to understand delivery procedures and possible complications.
  • Assist in realizing the birth plan.
  • Teach birthing techniques in order to give birth comfortably.
  • Accompany and encourage pregnant women during childbirth.
  • Make pregnant women who are in the process of giving birth feel calm and comfortable, for example by massaging and giving them drinks or snacks.
  • Provide praise and support when a new mother begins the breastfeeding process.
  • Helping new mothers understand how to properly care for their babies.
  • Helping mothers and other family members to bond with their newborns.
  • Make sure she gets enough rest, eats regularly, is hydrated, and feels comfortable.

Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding are long processes and can be challenging for some people. Now, at this time the midwife is the “big brother” who will make sure you and your baby are healthy. Meanwhile, the doula is a "friend" who will understand your concerns and always help and accompany you.

So, if you need someone who can always accompany, encourage, comfort, and help you throughout your pregnancy and postpartum, a doula is the answer. However, if you experience physical complaints related to your pregnancy, a more appropriate person for you to meet is a midwife.

To find the right midwife or doula, you can seek information from relatives who have used the services of these two professions or read reviews on the internet. However, keep in mind that not all pregnancies go by the same process.

Sometimes, there are pregnant women whose pregnancy or mental conditions cannot be handled by a midwife or doula and must be taken to a gynecologist. Therefore, it would be better if you consult with your doctor first to make sure the condition of your pregnancy can be handled by the midwife and doula.