The simplest way to explain would be to say that a midwife’s primary role is your medical well being. During your labour some of the things you may see your midwife do (depending on your birth wishes) would be; checking your cervix, listening to baby’s heartbeat, checking blood pressure, taking blood, administering an IV, releasing bag of waters, applying heat to the perineum etc. A midwife will come to your home or be with you at the hospital close to the onset of active labour which is roughly 4-5 cm dilated or contractions at 4 minutes apart for roughly an hour (obviously this is approximate and is different for every birth). The care that I provide as your birth doula is different in that it is completely non-medical. My role is to provide you with informational, physical, and emotional support. Informational support prenatally would include discussing birth preferences, learning about whats important to you during labour, understanding different procedures and interventions, building a birth plan. During labour this means being the neutral person in the room that gives you the pros and cons of different aspects or decisions needed during labour as they arise, and help you to advocate for yourself based on your preferences. Physical support means showing you and your partner different positions prenatally and practicing contractions to learn what coping mechanisms work well for you. During labour this can including anything from counter pressure, massage and acupressure to physically labouring with you as you lean into me. Emotional support is key during labour as much of the ability to cope during labour is mental. We will discuss fears or apprehensions around birth or labour, use visualization and relaxation techniques through contractions as coping mechanisms.
Most importantly, I am the person in the room who is there to ensure that both you and your partner have an enjoyable birth filled with love – that you can look back at and say, I felt like she was always there for me and only me.