Approaching the birth of a child is one of the most significant moments in any one's life and it's natural for anyone to have a ton of questions. It often doesn't help that everyone from distant second cousins to co-workers you've never spoken to have opinions and recommendations on pretty much every one of those questions! One of those questions for many is whether or not they want to engage a Doula or a Midwife to assist with the child birth process. This article will provide you with an explanation of the differences between the two and help you in making the decision between a Doula or a Midwife.


A midwife is a trained medical profession who's gained competency in the child birth process through training, education, and supervised work experience. At the end of their pre-work experience, Midwife's are certified by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC). After being certified, Midwife's can work in many capacities, assisting homebirths, working in birthing centers, and also supporting hospital deliveries.

As a health practitioner, a midwife can be used instead of a doctor to support the birthing process and aid with everything from pre-natal health, to the actual birth, to post-natal health. Midwives are also trained to detect complications during the process and identify when a doctor or emergency care is actually required.


A Doula is more of a birthing assistant as they are not a trained medical professional in the nature that a Midwife is. Professional Doula's often fit into two categories, a birth Doula and a postpartum Doula. The registration and certification requirements vary from state to state so when considering a Doula it's important to look at the state guidance and even more importantly what their actual work experience has been. Many states do have a requirement that education, training, and work experience are required for someone to qualify as a Doula.

The biggest difference that is important to be aware of is that a Doula is not a replacement for a health practitioner and for the actual birth of your child should still have a Midwife or a Doctor present. Doula's are more birthing assistants for a mother, assisting her with the process, but not the actual person responsible for child birth. A Doula often uses a variety of homeopathic techniques to make the process go more smoothly and ease the mother through the process.

Doula vs. Midwife?

While choosing between a Doula and a Midwife it's important to ensure you're aware of the distinctions noted above. A Midwife can be your sole health practitioner if you choose, whereas a Doula means you still need to have a doctor or a Midwife to be present at the birth. Many Midwifes can also perform similar services to that of a Doula, in terms of providing assistance and homeopathic techniques to assist you with your pregnancy. As the individual you engage is going to be with you through such a major life moment you really want to take the time to understand their experience and ensure you're comfortable with them taking you through the process.