Doula

What is a Doula?

Most everyone is aware of primary healthcare professionals, such as a doctor or a nurse, but are you familiar with the work of a doula? Many people often confuse midwives and doulas. According to DONA International, a doula is defined as "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." There are several types of doulas, such as Antepartum Doula, Abortion Doula, Adoption Doula, Birth Doula, Death Doula, and Postpartum Doula. Learn more about each of these career paths here. but I am going to be highlighting Birth and Postpartum doulas. As suggested by the name, a birth doula's role is to help out during pregnancy and delivery, including things such as creating a birth plan and teaching different techniques to get through labor. The postpartum doula may help with teaching to breastfeed the baby, running errands, cooking dinner, and much more. 

American research from the years 2007 to 2016 show that there was a significantly higher pregnancy mortality rate in Black women & other women of color. Those statistics, unfortunately, have not changed over time. The current mortality statistics, according to the CDC, pertaining to Black women are 37.1 per 100,000 live births, which are about 2-3 times higher than white women. Essentially, this means black women, despite socioeconomic status, are dying at an alarming rate while giving birth. Giving birth is supposed to be one of the most joyful moments of a woman's life, and that experience is taken from Black women, along with their life. Why is it being stolen from Black women? The simple answer is not enough representation.


Before moving on, let us clarify the similarities and differences between a Doula and a Midwife, as many people outside of these professions are unaware of these differences.

Doula vs. Midwife

Doula

What do they do?

  • An optometrist is a primary eye care doctor who, according to allaboutvision.com, examines the eyes for both vision and health problems, correct refractive conditions by prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. Optometrists may also provide low vision services to people with visual impairments and vision therapy to aid in visual function and sometimes behavioral therapy.

Degree Received

  • Doctor of Optometry (OD)

Educational Requirement

  • Four years of undergraduate education usually in the sciences

  • Four years of optometry school at an accredited school

  • Three-part board exam, NBEO, required for licensure; independent of state board certifications

  • Optional: 1-year residency

Salary

  • As of May 2020, reported the median salary for an Optometrist in the United States to be approximately $125,878 depending on location and experience level.

Midwife

What do they do?

  • Provide medical care throughout pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period. They work to keep moms and babies healthy, safe, and low-risk.

Degree Received

  • Specialized certification in addition to Registered Nursing license

Educational Requirement

  • Four years of undergraduate education usually in the sciences

  • Four years of medical school at an accredited school

  • Three-part board exam, USMLE, required for licensure; independent of state board certifications

  • Required: 1-year internship, and a minimum of 3 years in a hospital-based residency

Salary

  • As of May 2019, the reported median salary for a Certified Nurse Midwife in the United States is approximately $105,030 depending on specialty, location, and experience level.