Pregnancy Articles

How to Choose a Midwife or Doula

What You Need to Know

Many mothers desire to feel connected with their babies during childbirth with as few interventions as possible. Nurse midwives and doulas generally make births like this possible. They allow moms to feel more connected at the very start of their babies' lives by utilizing holistic practices within a comfortable environment, such as the home. Many midwives and doulas believe that with a lack of interventions, there is less chance that the baby will have problems and will therefore generally be able to breastfeed immediately. Though this is also often common for medicated moms, sometimes it is not.

First Appointment
Generally upon your first visit to a midwifery or doula practice you may expect the following:
  1. Introductory visit: During this time, the mother has a chance to meet the practitioner and decide whether or not she is comfortable with her skills, abilities and style. The doula or midwife will also assess what exactly you are looking for in the birth process. On your first appointment, traditional assessments will be made of your height, weight, general health, complications, and health and pregnancy history. A midwife may not use an ultrasound during your pregnancy, though you may request one. Most mothers utilizing a midwife generally prefer not to have routine ultrasounds done, on the theory that fewer interventions are better.
  2. Regularly scheduled pre-natal visits: Midwives generally will meet with an expectant mother once a month initially, then every two weeks closer to birth and finally every week the last month, much like any other practice.
If you are visiting a doula practice, you will generally visit with the doula for an introductory visit as well, to get a feel for the doula's personality and delivery style. In addition you will have at least one dry run visit about 2 weeks before the due date.

"At the dry run visit, we practice labor and delivery positions and relaxation techniques. We go over the birth plan, what to pack, and when to call me" - Lea, Doula/Student Midwife

Selecting the Practitioner That is Best Deciding to go with a doula or midwife is a personal choice. There are several questions you might consider prior to deciding on one type of practitioner versus another. Consider the following:
  • Are you comfortable with the idea of birthing in your home?
  • Do you want to use medication for pain relief during the labor process?
  • How important to you are interventions such as routine ultrasounds?
  • Are you willing to cover part of the costs incurred by delivery?
  • Do you prefer to deliver in privacy?
  • Are you interested in water births?
  • Do you prefer to have someone familiar at your side at all times during delivery?
Your answers may influence your decision to go with an accredited or non-accredited midwife or doula.
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About The Author

Antigone Arthur
Antigone is a freelance writer and proud mother. She has been researching and writing about pregnancy, breastfeeding, infertility and alternative health solutions for more than a decade.
Antigone Arthur

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