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The Role of an OB, a Midwife and a Doula

The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult your doctor for the most appropriate treatment.

Choosing a Doctor, Doula, or Midwife

When it comes time to deliver your baby, creating a birth plan means you don’t have to “go with the flow.” You can define your own flow. Dim lights or stadium bright? Maroon 5 or Mozart? Each choice matters, as each decision helps create the personal delivery experience you deserve.

So let’s talk about one of the biggest decisions you can make. OB, midwife or doula? When thinking it through, remember one thing: Trust your gut.

Check in with yourself throughout the selection process and be real about your feelings. Who “gets” you? Who feels right? Stay true to your heart when picking your person and you can relax, knowing the delivery day will be an honest reflection of you.


Short for obstetrician, an OB is a trained doctor who went through a lot of school to study things like reproduction, pregnancy and medical issues requiring surgery. Dedicated to the safety of you and your baby, an OB monitors every stage of pregnancy and birth. She orders tests, conducts ultrasounds, navigates high-risk pregnancies and delivers babies.


Most midwives are registered nurses with master’s degrees in nursing with an emphasis on midwifery. They’re hands-on and totally focused on you the person rather than you the patient.
Big on letting things happen naturally, midwives focus more on natural pain management during childbirth (think showers, massages and birthing balls). They can deliver babies just about anywhere, from hospitals to birthing centers to your bedroom at home, and since they’re not trained to perform surgeries, they work closely with OBs in case complications happen.

Check in with yourself throughout the selection process and be real about your feelings.


Cheerleader. Birthing coach. Best friend. In Greek, doula literally means “a woman who serves,” and that’s exactly what she does. A doula serves to comfort and encourage you throughout your labor and delivery. While she doesn’t deliver babies—she’s not medically trained to replace a doctor or midwife—she does nurture you throughout the amazing and life-changing experience of bringing your baby into the world. Then, when it’s time to take your bundle home, she continues to care for and support you both as you navigate your new (and sometimes overwhelming!) life together.

When writing your, birth plan, keep these questions in mind:

  • What are the pain management options for labor discomfort?
  • What are your hospital or birthing center affiliations?
  • Tub for water births?
  • Breastfeeding support?
  • What level of neonatal intensive care unit does your hospital have?
  • Siblings allowed in birthing rooms?
  • Extended family allowed in the room during surgical deliveries?
  • What are your thoughts on inducing labor?
  • Why would a cesarean section (C-section) be necessary?

Remember, it’s your journey. The road you follow is totally up to you. Take a deep breath.

You’ve got this.

Start Your Birth Plan