doula or midwife : LUSENET : Doula.Com General Discussion : One Thread

Can someone tell the difference in doulas and midwife? What is the difference in training....the length of time in training and cost? I don't know where or how to get started in either. All the material on the web sites are confusing to me.

Thank you, Monique

-- monique mariona (, September 05, 2000


Hi Monique!

A Midwife is somebody who has studied midwifery, usually in conjunction with nursing, and who is state-certified to deliver babies. There are a couple kinds of midwives...but you will probably run into a CNM (certified nurse midwife). A doula is a professonal labor support person...somebody who cares for you primarily "above the waist". A doula is usually certified (DONA or Doulas of North America is just one of the organizations that certifies doulas). The doula provides emotional and physical comfort measures to help you through your labor. So...the midwife is medical; the doula is more emotional. If you want to train as a will most probably have to go to nursing school first...then specialize in midwifery...several years worth of study. Doula training usually consists of attending workshops, seminars,self-study, attendance at several births. Amount of time to become a doula depends on how much time you have to devote to becoming certified, i.e, how fast you can accomplish it all. I'm a doula-in-training with DONA and I've been studying for about 6 months, have four births lined up, and just about finished with all the other certification requirements. I'm not an if I've left anything out, I hope somebody corrects me :-) Cindy :-)

-- Cindy Theall (, September 08, 2000.

Hi, Monique. While there are many CNM's (certified nurse midwives) there is another way to get into midwifery. That is by becoming a traditional midwife which is also called direct-entry midwife. This training can very, but a standard average for many courses is 3 yrs. There are many avenues to approach this type of midwifery. You can take a distance course like I am where you do the acadmeic learning at home mainly, and then you can apprentice with someone whenever you are ready to get your clinical skills down. Or depending on where you are you can attend a school where you get both at the same time.

The course I am doing through Ancient Art Midwifery Institute is very inexpensive compared to many out there. I can finish as early or late as I need to. To find more out about it go to:

To find out more about midwifery and your options, including what is legal in your state go to:

Many midwives/aspiring midwives also are doulas. Especially if they live in an area where they don't have much midwifery "business". The two complement each other, same with childbirth educators/midwives. They all three go hand in hand, actually.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

God bless,


-- Dawn Sempek (, October 25, 2000.

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