What's the difference between an independent midwife and a doula?

(14 Posts)
fuckwittery Mon 24-Jun-13 22:36:33

Yes, I have booked for an IM after Oct.
The insurance problem only covers the birth itself, they still have insurance for antenatal and post natal care. If I transfer into hospital, my IM will not be able to actually deliver my baby, as the hospital insurance won't allow it, but I am happy with this situation.

I am probably having both an IM and a doula at my birth as I know from my first 2 births that my DH doesn't cope very well with emotional support (he is a practical man). The IM will be providing my medical care, I see the doula as someone who can come over in early labour (won't get IM over until I am in established labour as she's an hour away - shortage of IMs in my area), and help with childcare, tea, and back massage if needed.

I am getting 10 or so meetings with my IM before my birth, and 6 weeks of post natal care. If I get a birth doula it will just be before and after birth 2 meetings either side, to get to know each other.

I have had two fairly complicated births, and when I went through the notes with my IM, her knowledge and assistance in understanding what went on was and will be invaluable and to me really showed the benefit of the medical knowledge by an experienced MW.

wessexindependentmidwifeErika Sun 23-Jun-13 23:26:57

Just to clarity - IMUK is in talks with the government re insurance and Dan Poulter Health Minister has told us to carry on booking clients who need us while we work towards a solution.

A doula is not qualified to deliver a baby. She will not do anything except call the emergency services and then try and keep you calm.

But tbh, I don't really get all this 'delivering a baby' stuff. Babies aren't delivered, post is delivered. Babies are born and they will be born regardless of whether there is anyone there to oversee it, which imo, is all a mw should be doing anyway unless there are some complicating factors.

Yay to catching your own baby!!!!!!

scaevola Tue 22-Jan-13 12:05:39

Gracefulbirth: I'm sure many already know that, but I wasn't clear whether OP did, given that she is at a very early stage of thinking about this.

scaevola, just to clarify, a doula would never put herself in the place of a midwife or other health professional. Women don't hire them "instead" of having a midwife (private or NHS), they are just part of the larger support system which includes a medical professional.
If a Doula ever arrived before a medical professional, in the situation of a quick labour, and a baby was suddenly born, they would keep their hands entirely off the baby.

scaevola Tue 22-Jan-13 08:48:55

A doula will not have the necessary registration and may not have the required qualifications. They offer support at birth (like an expert friend really), but are not permitted by law to superintend births independently. You need a midwife (or doctor) for that.

Obviously in emergency situations (back of ambulance, hospital car park etc) then whoever is there just has to do it irrespective of qualifications, but that's no basis on which to plan.

tomatoplantproject Tue 22-Jan-13 08:41:24

You might also want to investigate things like antenatal yoga in your area - I joined a preg yoga class when I was about 15 weeks and there was a big focus in mentally preparing for the birth aswell as gentle exercise. I'm sure the classes helped me deal with the twists and turns of giving birth calmly which in turn gave us a very positive experience. Our teacher was a doula herself and if I'd felt the need would have asked her to be there, and she's also v knowledgable about other services in the area for new mums.

There is also a massive difference in the cost.
An experienced Doula can cost anywhere between £650-£1,000 plus expenses,(depending on where you live) where a mentored Doula (who can still be very good) can be hired for around £250 plus expenses. Where an independent midwife is usually £2,500 + Although many of them will work out payment plans (as will many doulas)

An Independent Midwife is a Health Professional and Doula all rolled into one as she looks after you throughout your whole pregnancy, on a medical level as well as on an emotional level. It's an amazing service and it's terrible that it will be coming to an end. However the presence of a Doula at your birth can still make a big difference. She does not do anything medical, but she does meet with you usually 2-3 times before the birth and is available on the phone or over email from the time you book her. Her role is to give you information and support, so you're empowered. Doulas usually keep up with the latest research and information and if they don't know something, they can find out as they are connected to a large network of support. Some Doulas also have other skills that they bring to the birth as well, but the main "effect" as a Doula comes from her simply Being with you.

Good luck on your imminent pregnancy!!! and happy researching your options!

HolidayArmadillo Netherlands Tue 22-Jan-13 00:09:12

Related??? Typing half asleep. That should read 'the latest'.

HolidayArmadillo Netherlands Tue 22-Jan-13 00:08:40

http://www.independentmidwives.org.uk/files/pii_update.pdf

This is probably related but the IM colleagues I know are not hopeful.

GreenGateGeorge Tue 22-Jan-13 00:03:52

p.s. I didn't know they were definitely going, I had read something about them not being able to get insurance but I thought it wasn't definite.

GreenGateGeorge Tue 22-Jan-13 00:00:29

Well I'd better get cracking then- I've only got about a week left ;)

HolidayArmadillo Netherlands Mon 21-Jan-13 23:53:29

It depends what you want. You'd be wasting your money to hire an IM I all you wanted was someone to stroke your back and support you during labour. A doula can not and should not give medical advice or attempt to influence your decisions. An IM would provide all your midwifery care, so if knowing your midwife was important to you and you wanted that then it would be worth it. An IM would not be able veto provide care in hospital so would be reduced to a doula type role, however at a home birth would provide all care unless obstetric ally indicated.

However having typed all that I see you aren't pregnant so it's a bit of a moot point as from October, independent midwives will cease to exist.

GreenGateGeorge Mon 21-Jan-13 23:43:53

OK, disclaimers:
1) I get that a midwife is a restricted term for a registered healthcare professional and a doula is a nice lady who is a professional birthing partner but who may or may not have any medical qualifications but definitely will be trained/experienced in childbirth.
2) I'm not pregnant yet- husband and I have had the chat that we will start trying, but I've never really been around anyone who's had a baby and the whole thing scares me rigid so I'm doing my research prior to seeing any lines in windows.

I would like to know what the difference is in their experience of a private midwife or doula. Did anyone have one and wish they had the other? Is either one better for preparing you for the birth or throughout the pregnancy? Also, all the talk I've read about doulas seems to talk about them quite late on in the pregnancy- can you get them involved earlier?

Because I'm basically a big scaredy cat and the whole childbirth thing terrifies me, I'm thinking that as part of the saving up that I'm doing it might be worth putting money aside to hire a professional to allay my fears. The few friends/colleagues who have had babies recently haven't really had many positive things to say about NHS maternity care (including one whose father in law is chief exec of the hospital she gave birth in!), so I want to make sure that I've got someone who can explain things to me and advocate on my behalf, and give me support if I need it. Unfortunately DH is forces so could feasibly be away for any potential birth, and I know a lot of people ask their mother, but I know what mine is like, and she wouldn't be helpful.

I know it's early to be thinking about this when I'm not even pregnant, but being prepared will help me to be less nervous about conceiving if I know what my options are and I've planned ahead.

Thanks for any advice or comments smile X

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