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Partner? Doula? Midwife? OB?

Updated: Aug 23, 2020

There are a lot of people that can comprise your birth team, but it is easy to get the different roles confused. I daily am asked the difference between, partner, doula and midwife. Hopefully this post makes it a little easier to understand. In no way is this a comprehensive list of all the things each role does, but it is a good start to understanding the distinction and responsibilities.


The Birth Partner has a deep, intimate knowledge of the woman and her personal needs. The connection between birthing parent and partner is a priority. Healthy communication in the birth room is encouraged.

* Emotional support

* Mental and physical support through love, affection, affirmation, encouragement, being present and actively involved.


The Labor Professional

Has a personal and trained knowledge of the physiological art of labor.

* Coaches birthing person through labor effectively and safely.

* Assists with pain relief and specialized labor techniques for progression and comfort.

* Holds space and runs errands

* Offers support

* Ensures that the birthing person is never left alone


The Birth Professional

Has a professional knowledge of the medical art of pregnancy and birth.

* Oversees and tends to the medical needs of the woman.

* Handles the delivery/birth of the baby and placenta

* Responsible for medical safety of the woman, birth and baby


The Emergency Professional

Has a specialized knowledge of high risk cases and medical surgery.

* Oversees and tends to high risk pregnancies and births.

* Handles emergency situations such as certain medical interventions and surgical births

* Performs gynecological procedures and surgeries

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