Choosing between a San Diego Doula or Midwife

One of the great things about being a San Diego Maternity and Newborn Photographer is that I get to hear from so many parents what their birth story was like. Some of them had an unmedicated birth at the hospital. While some delivered at the comfort of their home. I have moms who delivered via cesarean birth. And moms who only used the OB on call. Meanwhile, choose to hire a doula or midwife for their birth. All these stories have me looking into what different options I have for my own delivery. That’s when I started researching for a San Diego Doula or Midwife.

As an expectant mother myself, I know all the information out there can get overwhelming. Chances are you’ve come across midwife and doula services while doing research. However, you might still be hesitating about what you need.

At first glance, midwives and doulas might seem very similar to one another. I know they did to me. However, there are some differences that you should be aware. This way you can make the right decision when you’re weighing your options.

San Diego Doula – What do they do?

If you want someone to be there for emotional and physical support, a doula is: “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during, and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.”

In other words, doulas are professionally trained individuals, but they are not medical professionals. Their purpose is to provide comfort and emotional support throughout your entire pregnancy and childbirth, so you have as pleasant of an experience as naturally possible. There are many experienced San Diego Doulas and I’ll list some options below shortly.

Unmedicated vs medicated birth – support for both

Doulas believe that birth is inherently safe, and work with their clients to provide a natural birthing process if that is what you desire. However, they don’t limit their services to people who want a natural birth.

For me for example, I know I want a medicated birth because my pain threshold is like non-existing. However, what intrigues me about a doula is the support before, during and after birth. Your doula is there for emotional and physical support from the beginning to the very end and will even attend your hospital birth. Many people seek the services of a doula in addition to traditional medical professionals.

When it comes to midwifery, things get a little more confusing, so I’ll break it down for you as much as I can based on what I found.

San Diego Midwife – what do they do?

You might think a midwife is limited to caring for you just during pregnancy, but that isn’t always the case. Of course, midwives are trained to give support from prenatal care to delivery, however, their responsibilities aren’t limited to pregnancy. You can use a midwife for any of your women’s health needs, and many people prefer this to a traditional OB/GYN. When I first learned this, I was very intrigued by the idea that I could find a medical professional that was even more personal than my OB/GYN.  

This is a very special relationship, and Sarita Bennett, DO, CPM, explains, “it is more of a shared decision-making model with the provider educating and supporting, while the client has the ultimate control over what happens to her and her baby.”

Different Levels of Midwifes

If you’re considering a midwife, make sure you know what type you need. Different types of midwives receive different levels of training, so always make sure their credentials meet your expectations. Here’s a summary of what’s out there:

  • Nurse-midwife (CNM): a registered nurse who has completed a midwife program. This generally includes a combination of OB/GYN and midwifery, along with passing a board-certified exam.
  • Certified Midwife (CM): Someone who has completed a graduate-level midwifery program but is not a nurse.
  • Certified Professional Midwife (CPM): This does not require an exam, but they must meet the certification requirements of the North American Registry of Midwives.
  • Direct-entry Midwife: These can be any of the above types of midwives who specialize in birthing-center and home births.
  • Lay Midwife: No formal training, not considered a medical professional.

Choosing the right level for you

When it comes to midwifery, there are different levels of expertise to choose from based on your needs. This flexibility allows you to choose a combination of professionals to take with you along your pregnancy journey if you wish.

For instance, if you know you want to work closely with your OB/GYB but still want some basic services from a midwife for when you aren’t with your doctor, you might opt for a CPM over a CNM. Some people even like to use a doula and a midwife, just because they want to truly reap the benefits of both meaningful connections. 

How do you know which San Diego Doula or Midwife is right for you?

How you choose to deliver your baby is an extremely personal choice and something you’ll talk about for years to come! So, don’t be shy when it comes to asserting your wants and needs. Whether you opt for a San Diego doula, midwife, traditional OB/GYN, or a combination of all the above, the focus is on how to best serve and support you during this extremely special time!

When it comes down to picking the right person, you’ll want to consider these conditions first:

  • Risk profile: Lower-risk pregnancies make better candidates for natural and unmedicated births.
  • Personalized care: Doulas and midwives provide different types of counseling services even after the birth of your child. You might opt for a midwife if you have certain medical concerns.
  • Birthing experience: Both can provide natural and unmedicated experiences. But midwives will be able to prescribe certain medications.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, your pregnancy journey is about you, your baby, and your mutual comfort along the way. Seeking the services of a doula or midwife can give you the support you need throughout your pregnancy. Even if you have a spouse who is willing to lend a helping hand, doulas and midwives are specially trained and provide a level of care and peace of mind you won’t find anywhere else.

This is something I’ve tried to explain to my husband. When I first brought up the idea of hiring a doula to my husband, he felt left out and like I didn’t think he was the support I needed. That’s absolutely not the case. I feel a doula or a midwife can be helpful for both the birthing mom as well as her partner. Someone to be there to advocate for you and your partner and your needs. To help support you in an unfamiliar situation. 

San Diego Doula and Midwife Options

I posted a poll on my Instagram a while back asking for feedback and recommendations for San Diego Doulas and Midwifes. So many moms gave me such great feedback and here is a short list of some of the most named services that were recommended.

Best Start Birth Center (Read their Blog Feature here!)

Nature’s Whisper

Night & Day San Diego

Destiny Doula Services

Schedule a San Diego Maternity Photoshoot

While you’re in pregnancy planning mode, don’t forget to think about a maternity shoot! Studio Freyja offers exquisite packages for maternity, newborn, and family photoshoots so you can hold onto these precious memories forever!