Difference Between Doula and Midwife

Giving birth to a baby is a deep emotional experience besides being a painful physical experience. For centuries women gave birth to babies without the assistance and presence of doctors. The concept of natural childbirth is gaining prominence in the country these days with Midwife and Doula being childbirth helpers. Natural childbirth is a concept that believes that it is the woman giving birth to a baby that controls the entire event, and midwife and doula are persons trained to facilitate the process of childbirth. Many people cannot differentiate between the two jobs because of their similarities and overlapping. This article attempts to highlight the differences in roles and responsibilities of a midwife and a doula.


A doula is a female childbirth assistant who is there all the time to provide emotional support to the pregnant woman. A doula is not required to give any medical care; she is there like your older friend or relative to comfort you and to answer your queries. The presence of a doula makes it easier for a woman to give birth to a baby as she provides constant support through her talks and tips and advices. If anything, a doula is there with the pregnant woman from her waist up and has nothing to do with actual childbirth. However, doula still plays a crucial role in childbirth as she allays the fears in the mind of the pregnant woman and teaches her to relax when labor pains do begin.

There have been many studies regarding the usefulness of doulas, and nearly all of them have found that doulas make it easier and smoother for a woman to give birth to a child. Yes, she will not take care of the baby and will not make a vaginal examination, but she will prove to be invaluable just like your mother or sister when you need them most during childbirth. Though doulas require no medical training, they do take part in seminars to learn more about techniques that make childbirth easier. They learn ways to provide comfort to the pregnant woman such as relaxation techniques and breathing exercises.


A midwife is a trained professional who provides medical care and assistance to a pregnant woman all through her pregnancy. She is there during the delivery as well as after the birth of the baby to provide care to the mother and baby. She is responsible for the safety of the mother and her baby. In cases of natural birth, a midwife is as important as a doctor in case of childbirth in hospitals. Midwife, therefore, becomes pregnant woman’s primary health care provider. A midwife has to look after several pregnant women and her round the clock presence is not possible. She has to ensure clinical management of the delivery right from the time labor pains begin. She looks after the health of the mother and baby, conducts vaginal exams, makes assessments of contractions, fetal heart beats, notes temperature and blood pressure of the pregnant woman, and so on.

What is the difference between Doula and Midwife?

• Doula is there for emotional support whereas midwife is the primary health care provider.

• Doula comforts pregnant woman teaching her how to relax and lessen the pain just like the mother or elder sister of a pregnant woman would do.

• A midwife is a trained professional who looks after the health and safety of the woman and her baby throughout pregnancy and even after birth.

• Doula does not provide any medical care to the pregnant woman.

• Doulas compliment the medical care of midwives in an ideal manner.