A few weeks ago I was getting my hair done at a new hairdresser. She asked what I do for work and I said I was a birth doula. After I said this, I expected the question that is usually asked next. "Whats that?" Instead, I was pleasantly surprised when she said "Oh I know what that is!"
However as we continued talking I realized she was mistaking a doula for a midwife. This is a very common misunderstanding. Doulas and midwives have vastly different roles, but because most women use an OB for medical care, these roles can sometimes become confusing.
Before we define what a doula does, lets go over another myth.
Sometimes women believe that if they have a midwife, they don't need a doula. When choosing a medical provider in Norman, there are a variety of OBGYN's and Midwives to choose from. A doula is a complement to the care provided by your OB or Midwife. Each member of the birth term brings their own unique experience, education, and role to the team. As we dig deeper into these roles, you will clearly understand the way they work together.
A midwife is a medical member of your birth team. Midwives are professionally trained to offer clinical care for pregnant mothers and babies. Midwives attend home births, birth center births, and sometimes attend hospital births.
Your midwife will...
A doula is a professionally trained non-medical member of your birth team who offers emotional, informational, and physical support. The word 'doula' is a greek word that means "woman who serves", and that is exactly what a doula does! I know that definition is vague, it is vague because our role can look very different from woman to woman depending on the type of support they need.
Your doula will...
Do I need a midwife AND a doula?
Doula support is an amazing complement to the medical care you will receive from a midwife. There are so many amazing midwives in Norman, and they certainly provide great support during a birth. However, their top responsibility is the health and safety of mother and baby. If you are looking for birth professionals who understand physiological, natural birth, hiring a doula and a midwife will provide you with the full spectrum of support and medical care that you need.
Midwives and doulas work well together and respect each others roles. However they are very different professions and are hired separately.
To find the right doula or midwife for your birth in central Oklahoma contact Sooner State Doula for a list of local resources!
Miranda is a birth and postpartum doula serving the central Oklahoma area.