top of page

Midwife vs Doula? What IS the difference?!

Midwife vs Doula, differences explained by top Orange County doulas, Labor of Love

The difference between a midwife and a doula AND where they overlap.

We get A LOT of inquires at Labor of Love about whether or not we are a birth center and if we deliver babies. In short, the answer is no, as doulas, our care differs from that of a midwife.

My desire in this blog is to help clarify the role of a midwife and doula in the simplest way.

I hope that it is useful for you.

A Midwife
Midwife vs Doula, differences explained by top Orange County doulas, Labor of Love

Skilled Medical Professional

Offering Gynecological Care

Medically Trained Health Care Professional

  • Wellness Exams

  • Reproductive Health

  • Pap Smears

  • Write Prescriptions

  • Contraception Care

  • Breast Exams

  • Pelvic Exams

  • Maternity Exams

  • Medical Labor Support

  • Take Insurance (Private Midwives may differ)

Support Health & Wellness During Birth | Takes the place of traditional OBGYN care

  • Fetal monitoring

  • Cervical Exams

  • Check Vitals

  • Help Deliver Newborn

  • Access Health of Newborn

  • Access Health of Laborer

  • Medically Assist with Vaginal Repair

  • Support any Necessary Interventions

There are private midwives for those that want a completely unmedicated home birth.

There are Birth Centers for those that want an unmedicated birth but do not want to birth at home.

There are midwives that work in the hospital for those that feel safer delivering in a hospital setting unmedicated or not. Hospital midwifery is the best of both worlds for those that aren't fix on a home birth. We work really closely with Orange Coast Women's Medical Group, Orange County's first practice to offer traditional midwifery care.

A Doula
Midwife vs Doula, differences explained by top Orange County doulas, Labor of Love

Certified Birth Professional

Skilled in physical, mental and emotional support during birth and postpartum.

Trained Birth Professional

  • Emotional and Educational Support During Pregnancy

  • Childbirth Education (Some Qualified Doulas)

  • Continuous One-on-One Phone Support before, during and after birth

  • Continuous Physical Support During Labor

  • pain management

  • massage

  • encouragement

  • guidance; relaxation, breathing, positions

  • reminders in the moment

  • anticipating the laborer’s needs

  • Partner Support

  • Postpartum In-home Check-ins

  • Breastfeeding Support (Some Qualified Doulas)

Where Midwives & Doulas Overlap:


  • Believe that pregnancy and birth are a natural physiological event

  • Believe that birth is best when undisturbed

  • Understand how important the feeling of safety is in this moment

  • Understand the mental and emotional importance of having MORE support at this time

  • Want to cultivate an intimate connect to this moment for you

  • Work well together as they offer different services

Where Midwives and Doulas Differ:
  • Doulas do not offer any medical support

  • Doulas do not help catch babies

  • Doula do not offer exams

  • Doula do not take insurance (FSA & HSA accounts may be reimbursed)

  • Midwives do not offer childbirth and breastfeeding education

  • Midwives do not offer continuous one-on-one phone support before, during and after birth

  • Midwives do not offer continuous side by side care during labor (Their expertise is in delivery)

  • Midwives may participate in guidance but it is not their main job or focus during labor.

Midwife vs Doula, differences explained by top Orange County doulas, Labor of Love

Midwife vs Doula: Which is a better fit for you?

Ask any midwife if you need a doula and they will say YES! Adding a doula to your midwifery care is the complete package. Midwives understand the complete care a doula can bring to your experience. They understand that there are limitations to their care and a doula is the prefect way to fill that gap.

Ask any doula and they will encourage you to seek out midwifery care as they understand (for low risk women) that a midwife will offer gentle and encouraging medical care during birth. A care provider is ALWAYS needed and if you are low risk a midwife may just be a good fit.

Ultimate Team:

A midwife and a doula are the prefect pair. They work hand-in-hand together to offer you the experience that you desire. Labor of Love works with many of the midwives in Orange County and believe that midwifery is the future when it comes to Labor & Delivery.

As for Labor of Love we offer:

We would love to support you along you journey!


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page