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Midwife or Doula – what’s the difference?

Most people are aware of doula’s and midwives, but a common mistake is to assume the roles are the same. They both have a shared goal of supporting and empoweri

ng women during pregnancy and birth but both their roles have a different purpose.


A doula is a trained, non-medical professional who provides physical and emotional support to women and their babies. They have no legal or clinical responsibility. Their role is to act as an advocate if you need it and provide care and support throughout your journey into parenthood. Their support can range from providing you with a wealth of information to helping with feeding techniques and relaxation. Doulas are often trained in alternative therapies which are very useful during pregnancy and birth.


Midwives are specialists in normal pregnancy, birth, and the immediate postnatal period. They provide medical care to monitor you and your baby to keep you safe and healthy. They are skilled in recognizing abnormalities and referring to relevant healthcare professionals. Midwives also have an advocacy role and can have a variety of special interests and skills including tongue tie, mental health, and hypnobirthing. They give evidence-based information to enable you to make informed choices about your care and have a legal responsibility and clinical duty of care. Midwives are registered and regulated by a professional body, The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and are accountable for their practice.


Families can have the support of a doula, in addition to midwifery care. The two can work well together and their specific skills can complement each other.

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