As a doula in Edmonton and even during my childbirth classes in Edmonton, I hear more times than I can count that midwives and doulas are the “same thing”. This is problematic for so many reasons! First, as amazing as it would be to deliver babies for a living, I can not take that kind of credit. I haven’t gone through years of school, vigorous training and practiced delivering babies under guidance of a registered midwife for years in order to earn this amazing title. Also, if many of us think that doulas and midwives are the same, then it really wouldn’t make sense on hiring one if you have the other would it? Ah, but we are in fact not the same, and equally important in a birth setting. In fact, we work together like the PB&J of your birth team! So to better clarify, I’ve listed out some differences between Edmonton doulas and Edmonton midwives below for your reading pleasure.
The difference between our care
Midwives and doulas are cut from the same fabric of respect, dignity and informed consent in childbirth, so we both base our philosophy around this. However, as mentioned before midwives are baby-catchers! They provide the comprehensive care you need during your pregnancy, birth and postpartum period – including ordering blood work, prescribing medications, checking your blood pressure, performing cervical exams, etc. On the other hand, us doulas in Edmonton are not trained for any of this. Instead, we focus all of our time on staying up-to-date on the latest and greatest evidence-based information and support techniques to provide for you during the whole process. Never will an Edmonton doula check your baby’s heart rate with a doppler or check to see how dilated you are (unless they have some sort of additional schooling that would allow them within this scope of practice). If a doula offers you this, be sure to investigate them further!
The difference between our role at your birth
For starters, midwives in Edmonton are extremely popular… so much that they often have MANY clients due in the same month! Therefore, a midwife must divide her time between her clients wisely, so having them around right when you go into labour at your home just is not feasible for their overall health (that could, after all, be days!). Once your midwife joins you during the “thick” of your labour, she is there to ensure you and your baby leave this experience healthy and safe. This means frequent heart rate checks, administering any medication you choose and charting the whole process for your medical records. Makes it pretty hard for them to also rub your back and offer encouraging words during contractions right? Well, thats where us Edmonton doulas come in! We will join you at whatever point you need us during labour – for some this means after the first contraction, for others this may be once active labour has begun. We will never say no to an opportunity to help you through this! Once we join you during your birth journey, we focus entirely on you and your partner, and on your well-being. We love babies, but during the birth of one we don’t focus on them as our entire world revolves around how to help you bring them earth side in a pleasant way!
The difference we both make on your health
During my experience receiving care from my midwife and my doula in Edmonton, I recall both helping me in very different ways. My midwife was “the boss lady” – she told me what I should/shouldn’t do in order for me and my baby to stay safe. My doula was more like my counsellor/best friend/biggest supporter. She was there when I needed to vent about “still being pregnant”, she said things to me that made me feel like I was doing a good job, she reminded me that I was a warrior and that I CAN birth the way I wanted. So looking at both, my midwife was amazing for my overall physical health (and a pretty cool lady to talk to too, but without as much time to do so), while my doula contributed to my overall mental health (aka. my sanity). Both kept me healthy in equally important ways!
Did you have a midwife, a doula, or both at your birth? Did you feel they worked well together during the process? For more information about the role of a doula in Edmonton, check out our amazing advocacy organization the Doula Association of Edmonton