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The Difference Between a Midwife and a Doula

We break down how each can help you through childbirth in unique ways.
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Updated April 24, 2017

Midwives and doulas seem similar, since they’re both people (who aren’t OBs) who help women through labor. And they are both most commonly chosen by moms-to-be who go drug-free during their delivery. But their roles in the childbirth process are actually quite different.

A midwife is a health care provider, while a doula is more of a childbirth coach. You might choose to have a midwife instead of an OB for prenatal care and to deliver your baby—midwives can deliver babies in hospitals, birthing centers or even in your home. A doula, on the other hand, doesn’t replace your healthcare practitioner but rather can add extra services, such as helping you with techniques to manage pain during labor and even providing support and help during baby’s early days. Isn’t it great there are so many people who can help you though?

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