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What are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Midwife?

Home births are becoming a more common way for women to give birth, which typically involves a midwife delivering the baby. It is a midwife’s job to aid women through their pregnancy. You may be wondering who exactly a midwife is, and what they do. Midwives focus on aiding women who are opting for a low-tech birth that doesn't involve surgery or medications. Being able to deliver your baby comfortably from your own home is changing the birthing narrative for women.

Who Should Have a Midwife?

A midwife provides prenatal and postnatal support to pregnant women, as well as helping along with births. While a midwife is not technically a doctor, they are highly skilled and trained in medical practice. Midwives have to at least possess a nursing diploma and must pass a certification in order to practice. Many of them can administer an epidural if needed, but any surgical performances have to be done by an on call physician. That being said, a midwife is a great option for moms that are carrying a low risk pregnancy. They are also a good choice for women who want a homebirth, waterbirth, or drug free birth, and if there are no anticipated complications in the birthing process.

What do Midwives do During Pregnancy?

During a woman’s pregnancy, a midwife will be there for physical and mental support. They will check the baby’s health and position, help and advise with routine checkups, and help you prepare for birth. During labor, the midwife helps with encouragement, emotional support, and monitors your progress. After the baby is delivered, they will continue to offer help, such as with lactation, giving your baby a bath, and carrying out basic health screenings. They are there for emotional support, like aiding with postpartum depression and any other questions that relate to your health and baby.

What’s the Difference Between a Midwife and a Doula?

A doula is another form of support for pregnant women. While they do not have medical training like midwives do, they offer very similar services to moms. A doula is more of a labor coach rather than an “at home doctor” like a midwife. They must attend a childbirth education course and training. They’ll also offer emotional support, labor techniques, training on labor positions, breathing techniques, and even a translator to help you understand medical jargon. Better yet, they're great for the nervous partner too. Having your partner present for delivery can cause even more nerves. A doula will help relax your partner which in turn will help you to relax too.

Where to Find a Midwife or Doula

Your choice between a midwife or doula is entirely up to you. Both offer amazing services for pregnant women. It all really comes down to if you are delivering in a hospital or at home, and which services may be needed. Finding a great midwife or doula may seem like a challenge, but the best way to do so is by doing your research and talking to other women who have gone through both processes. There are also websites you can look on to find local midwives and doulas to help you through your pregnancy!

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