More on Doula and Midwifery Care
As a doula I provide emotional, physical & informational support from early on in labor. In most cases I am present at your home before the midwife arrives. As the primary care provider, your midwife tends to you & your baby's well being, ie. monitors baby's heart rate, your blood pressure, assesses labor progress and makes recommendations of a medical nature. They bring necessary medical equipment with them.
As a doula, my support is non-medical, focused on your well being also, yet my 'tools of the trade' include massage aids, hot/cold packs, TENS machine, rebozo & aromatherapy oils. My role is to comfort the birthing mother by providing continuous support. For example: relaxation techniques, hypnosis, breath awareness, visualizations & affirmations, suggestions for positions, hands on skills such as massage & acupressure and positive encouragement & calm reassurance. I support partners too, able to offer guidance and give them an opportunity for a break, to eat and sleep.
Numerous benefits of doula care are widely known. In the home birth setting a doula is particularly helpful as pharmacological pain medications are not available. To quote John Kennell, MD., "If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."
Both midwife and doula care for a laboring woman with their unique skill sets that complement each other. Both view birth as a normal healthy experience, have trust in women's bodies and believe in their ability. Midwives offer comfort, yet their support includes medical care, whereas that's outside the scope of a doula's practice.