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Midwife Vs. Doula: What is the Difference?

Updated: Mar 19, 2023

Midwives and doulas are both highly recommended and essential in an unmedicated or natural birth. They are both welcomed in medicated or Cesarean births, but not used as often.

But, what is the difference between a Midwife and a doula, and do they ever work together? let’s talk about what they both do and why they’re the ideal team!?!

What is a Midwife?

A midwife is a trained health professional who typically has a Masters in Nursing with a focus in midwifery. Their job is to support women through labor and birth medically. A midwife will be with the mother through the prenatal process, monitoring the mother and baby’s health. They will deliver the baby and can be seen in a hospital, birthing center, or at a home birth. A midwife is similar to an OB (Obstetrician), both delivering babies, but they typically have a more natural approach to birth with less medical interventions. Midwifes are a doulas best friend!

Doula Vs. Midwife

A doula is often called “the mother’s helper”. They aid in the emotional and physical support of a mother through the birth and postpartum periods. Specifically in birth settings, they are there to support the mother and partner through the entire labor and delivery by assessing the mother’s pain management, coping techniques, and offer new solutions to continue on. Most doulas provide prenatal childbirth classes to teach about the labor and birth process, prepare the mother’s mind and body for labor, discuss pain management techniques, offer laboring positions, postpartum planning, and newborn education. Doulas focus on educating the parents so all feel informed to make the best decisions during labor. Most doulas also provide emotional support through the whole prenatal/birth process with unlimited texts, calls, and questions to settle birthing nerves.

Birth doula vs. midwife - do you need to choose one or the other? Actually, having both is ideal.

If fact, most midwives prefer having a doula in the birthing process because it allows them to focus on the mother and baby’s health without worrying about the emotional and physical needs. A doula, unlike many midwifes, is with the mother through the whole active labor and birth, whereas midwives in a hospital settings could have two or three mothers they’re supporting at one time.

At Suncoast Doula, we love midwifes! They are absolutely amazing and a wonderful aid in safe and unmedicated deliveries. If you need help finding a great midwife, please reach out! We have great contacts in the Bradenton, Sarasota, and the Lakewood Ranch area.


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