Is a midwife the same as a doula?
A midwife is a trained primary care provider who looks after the clinical well-being of pregnant people and their babies. This means a midwife will order all the required tests and scans you may need during your pregnancy and will see you for regular antenatal visits, conduct your birth and provide home visits in the postpartum. Midwives are skilled in managing obstetric emergencies, should they arise, and are well-integrated members of Ontario's healthcare system. Their services are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Doulas are birth coaches who provide emotional and psychological encouragement and support during your labour and/or in the postpartum period. While training for midwives in Ontario is regulated by a professional body (the College of Midwives of Ontario, CMO), doulas may be trained in differing schools and styles, like DONA, PALS, etc with various certifications. Midwives attend a 4-year degree program at an accredited University and attend more than 100 births prior to graduation. They are required to adhere to standards and guidelines set by the CMO and maintain current certifications in emergency skills, neonatal resuscitation and CPR.
Many doulas develop and maintain integral relationships in their communities and provide an invaluable service during an emotionally challenging time. While midwives pride themselves on their supportive care skills, they must ensure the provision of safe clinical care above all else. A doula can be a fabulous addition to any birth plan and often work on a sliding scale, as their services are not yet covered by most insurance providers.
If I have a midwife, can i give birth in the hospital?
Of course! Every midwife in Ontario maintains current privileges in at least one hospital - our team delivers out of North York General Hospital. We also provide out-of-hospital birth as an option for families who choose this route. At the end of the day, both hospital and home birth are safe options for most of our patients and your midwives can provide evidence-based information to help you choose the right fit. For a quick overview, check out the video below:
Can i have an epidural with a midwife?
Absolutely! Our midwives work to our full scope at North York General Hospital; that means your midwife will remain your primary care provider even if you require an induction or request an epidural. Of course, we have access to many other forms of pain relief - non-pharmacological and otherwise - but sometimes after a long, difficult labour, an epidural is just the right tool to help baby out. We always strive to present treatment and care options to our patients in a non-directive way, but will also make recommendations based on experience and the overall clinical picture.