Written by Rowan TwoSisters
A wise person once said that preparing for the birth of a baby requires as much research and enthusiasm as planning a large wedding. In addition, preparing for what happens after the baby is born is just as important. The postpartum phase takes careful planning and preparation as this is when bonding occurs, and breastfeeding is established (or not!). It’s an overwhelming time for new parents as they navigate through emotions while learning how to integrate a newborn into their family.
Midwives and Doulas, what’s the difference?
Midwives deliver the baby, offering the midwifery model of prenatal and postpartum care. They are providers who are either certified-nurse midwives (CNM) or certified professional midwives (CPMs) and have taken an exam by the regulating body of the National Association of Registered Midwives (NARM). Midwives act as the provider, monitoring lab results, and follow similar prenatal schedules as obstetricians. Nurse midwives who work in a hospital setting are supervised by a physician and are subject to hospital policy. Midwives working in birth centers or assisting a home birth usually have a physician they consult, should a patient fall out of the low-risk scope of practice.
Midwives typically have a more personal relationship with their patients. They tend to spend more time in prenatal and postpartum appointments. In addition to focusing on nutrition and fitness, midwives closely monitor the emotional health of a pregnant woman to support a low-risk pregnancy. In the midwifery model of care, the patient is the ultimate decision maker on the birth plan. So, within the guidelines of a low-risk pregnancy, the decisions are left to the person it impacts the most. An example would be choosing to birth in water, or at home, or squatting, or maybe all three!
Depending on the birth plan, midwives come to your home or take you to the birth center once active labor has started. This typically happens at around six centimeters dilation of the cervix, or the legendary “5-1-1,” five minutes between contractions, lasting one minute, for more than one hour.
Why do people choose Doulas?
Doulas primarily provide nonmedical support. Labor Doulas may or may not have a certification, and their job is to monitor the emotional health of the laboring person (and family members) with the goal to follow the birth plan, but also be able to adjust the plan if necessary. Labor doulas work in or out of a hospital setting and focus on the patient during early labor encouraging rest, hydration, and calming techniques.
Post-Partum doulas focus on rest, recovery, and recalibration. The goal is to set the parents up for success during the newborn period by helping them transition and establish a new normal. This is especially important in helping with recovery from a surgical birth.
How and where a pregnant person chooses to have their baby is an individual choice, and there is not a one best fit for everyone. Don’t wait! Do the research, book interviews, hire your birth team sooner rather than later to find the perfect partner for your birth plan.
For more information, visit PreggersCanbeChoosers.com.
Local Resources: Midwives & Doulas
Marley & Moo Maternity
Areas Served: All of the Houston Metropolitan Area including but not limited to Sugar Land, Katy, Humble, Jersey Village, Woodlands, Spring, Pearland
Areas Served: River Oaks, Memorial, West University, Bellaire, Katy, Cinco Ranch, Sugar Land, Richmond, The Heights, Spring, Kingwood, The Woodlands