(Closed) Has anyone used a doula or a midwife before?

posted 5 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 3
1203 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I’m commenting to follow.  I am very newly pregnant (Baby #1) and I have my first appointment with midwife in 3 weeks. I’m looking forward to hearing what people have to say.  I will be birthing in a hospital though because my Darling Husband is not excited about the homebirth option.

Post # 5
1471 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@PinkPandaBear:  I haven’t had a child, but my mother was a registered midwife (in NZ  – basically has a degree/ licensing / certification in midwifery), and I did part of a midwifery degree before changin majors. So, feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt, but if it helps…

Midwives tend to provide a more holistic, less medical model of care. Your appointments will typically be longer than with a doctor. They tend to be qualified in the “normal”, and if they find soomething outside of their scope of practice will refer you on, but if you are having a normal, healthy pregnancy, they can be an awesome option.

Personally, as well as looking at certifications and experience, I would be asking about their pregnancy and birth philpsophy, how they structure their care, their process for if something goes wrong, what their attitudes are to pain relief and what happens if they are not available for the birth (e.g. if they have 2 births in one night, who will care for you).

I would also just make sure that you click with the midwife. Different midwives have different styles. Find one that makes you feel welcome and comfortable.

Good luck and congratulations.


Post # 6
5475 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@PinkPandaBear:  I had Dirty Delete about 7 months ago, and she is my only one so I can’t compare experiences.

To clarify for any Bees following, a midwife is a credentialed medical professional, often a nurse or nurse practitioner.  A doula is a birth assistant/attendant, but not necessarily a medical professional.  They assist the couple during labor and some do prenatal and postnatal visits (to help with breastfeeding, etc) and varies from doula to doula.

I saw the midwife group who practices at the hospital I work for.  There are five midwives, and they rotate being on-call much like an OB would.  For that reason, I asked to be scheduled with each individual midwife at least one time during my pregnancy so when I went into labor I would have a familiar face and not a stranger.

The midwives I saw (and most if not all, as far as I know) will only take low risk patients.  As a general rule of thumb, they are typically supportive of a natural approach to childbirth, and often encourage each individual mother to have a great deal of say in her birth plan and birth.

The midwives I saw were wonderfully supportive, always available if I had concerns or questions, were patient with me and my 100 questions during appointments, and I felt very connected and comfortable with each and every one of them.

I also had doulas while in labor.  I had met them once prior to birth, and had talked with them on the phone a few times as well.  They helped guide my husband to better support me and my needs.  They used aroma therapy, massage, warm and cool compresses, counter pressure, and general good vibes/positive energy.

I had a fantastic birth experience and shared my birth story on here if anyone is interested in clicking through my old threads to find it.


I should also say that my cousin gave birth just five weeks before me, with an OB at the same hospital, and while she didn’t have a completely intervention-free birth, she had a lovely birth and a positive experience as well.  I do think it varies from provider to provider, and it’s possible to have very caring and compassionate OBs as well as distant midwives.

Post # 7
1203 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

@PinkPandaBear:  new mama!  AHHHH…. that feels so crazy to hear. I don’t think I’ve fully accepted the “I am pregnant” thing yet.  The only time it feels real I when I start worrying about daycare and “real life” stuff.


The hardest part of having a midwife (around me) is that they are all about an hour from my house.  The one I’m seeing in 3 weeks is in the ‘worst’ location, but they have evening appointments so Darling Husband and I don’t have to miss work and they are affiliated with the medical group I see, so I don’t have to worry about transferring any of my medical history.  I am hoping that I like the group.  If not, there are two other groups that are closer to DH’s job, but farther from mine and they don’t have evening appointments.

Post # 8
2323 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@PinkPandaBear:  I’m currently 25 weeks and my story is very very similar to DaneLady. I am currently a patient of a midwife service that operates out of a hospital. There are 4 midwives at the practice, so I rotate appointments through them so I know all 4 of them and they know me, as any of the 4 could be the one on-call when I go into labor.

The appointments are never rushed – they always spend as much time with me as I need and often gab on about things for longer than they need (sometimes the appointments are too long!).

The midwives are supervised by two OBs. I’ve had an easy pregnancy so I’ve had to reason for them to become involved, but if anything complicated the pregnancy, they would likely take over care at least somewhat.

The midwives only take low-risk pregnancies and ask that their patients opt for low-intervention births. They don’t push you to do no drugs, etc, but they definitely encourage it. I’ve been told I’ll run the show when I go into labor, and they’ll let me pretty much do anything that I feel is right for me (within reason of course).

As for finding a midwife, try this website: http://ourmomentoftruth.midwife.org/OMOT-FIND-A-MIDWIFE and then set up an appointment and see if you click, and/or google their names for reviews from other women.

Wishing you all the best! I’ve loved my midwife experience so far!

Post # 9
979 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2008 - A tiny town just outside of Glacier National Park

I have a midwife and we are hoping for a home birth. FYI, a doula is basically birthing support and will assist you and the midwife. (I.E. they’re not an alternative to a midwife, but secondary support.)

If you want a midwife who will attend you in a hospital, you’ll need a nurse-midwife, and I believe they are usually affiliated with a specific practice. Other midwives will attend in homes or birth centers. 🙂

Post # 10
335 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I’m signed up with a duo of midwives that operate out of a birth center about 5 min from a hospital.  I haven’t had my first appointment yet but Im hoping everything is normal and low risk so I don’t get transfered!  I dealt with an obgyn for my iud and all three times I had an appointment I had to wait almost 9 hours to see him! I didn’t want to do that once a month 🙂  

Post # 11
1492 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

I’m about 20w pregnant and in a similar situation to bananasareyellow. My OB practice also includes midwives (who have their own practice but rotate into my practice a few days a week )and all work out of the same hospital. So far I’ve liked having both options because I had a few issues at first and had to be under the high risk dr but was then released to my midwife. My apps with her have definetly been longer and she’s in less of a rush. If anything comes up throughout my pregnancy I also like knowing my doctors are right there and won’t be strangers. I wouldn’t choose to see a solo practice midwife though. Just a personal decision.

Post # 12
561 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I used a doula. She taught my prenatal class, helped me draw up a birth preferences document, and was with us during the birth. She also did post-natal visits to help out with breastfeeding issues.

I can’t recommend it enough.

Now, a doula is a birthing coach/labor attendant, NOT a substitute for an OB or midwife.

Post # 13
2775 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

I saw a Certified Nurse Midwife who practices with a group of OBs.  I went that route because I wanted an unmedicated birth, but I also wanted to deliver in a hospital where I’d have every medical advance available should complications arise.

As far as I know, CNMs in the United States don’t attend home births.  Lay midwives do, but their training varies widely.

Post # 15
3697 posts
Sugar bee

@PinkPandaBear:  Echoing what a lot of PPs have already said, but … there is a lot of difference from one hospital to the next on policies such as how much freedom you have to move around in labor, eat/drink at will, labor in water, give birth in water, etc., so do some research into the options in your area. I think, though, that your intuition about your OB/GYN is probably pretty good if you have the feeling that you wouldn’t get much time, attention, or involvement with decisions based on how previous encounters have gone.

Having a doula can go a long way toward making your labor and birth go more smoothly no matter what the setting; even if you end up with risk factors and the midwife you hoped for has to transfer you to an OB and a hospital, a doula can help make that whole process easier on you and your partner (in fact, I’d say it’s even more important to have a doula when the unexpected happens and you end up in a hospital with a different provider, interventions, etc. than when you have an uneventful, normal, intervention-free birth!)

Where CNMs practice varies a lot depending on state law and where they are/are not able to get hospital privileges. Many CNMs practice in hospitals, many also practice in free-standing birth centers, some work in both settings, and some will also attend home births. Regardless of where they practice, a CNM is a medical professional with nursing training plus specialized training in infant resuscitation, etc., and they are able to do things like run IVs (to give antibiotics for GBS, etc.), give pitocin to stop postpartum hemmhorage, etc. – i.e. to handle the kinds of things that might come up even in normal delivery. They are also trained to recognize when things start to become abnormal in a pregnancy, and to transfer you up the chain of care when appropriate to do so.

One other advantage to working with a midwife, at least at the start of your care: they will be a good source of information about which MDs have low vs. high intervention rates and better vs. worse records on actively involving patients in decision-making, etc. So if you would have to transfer to someone else’s care, a midwife can help you find the practitioner who will still work to give you the closest possible experience to what you initially hoped for.

Good luck!

Post # 16
3017 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@PinkPandaBear:  I’m also newly pregnant for the first time (AAAAHHHH) and commenting to follow. Congrats to you!!!

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