More than half of babies born in the U.K. are delivered by midwives, while in the U.S., only around 10 percent of deliveries have a midwife present. The use of doulas is even lower.
But as the only developing country where the maternal mortality rate is rising, more people are hoping to improve their outcomes. And they may have a good reason to integrate midwives and doulas into the process. One study found that states which make it easier for midwives to care for babies and mothers have fewer preterm and underweight births and require fewer cesarean section deliveries. Studies on mothers who were matched with a doula had similar improved outcomes. And for women of color, who have the highest maternal mortality rate, midwives and doulas are offering new hope.
This doesn’t mean to ditch the doctor just yet. Often doulas and midwives are being integrated into our current health care system.
So, what does that look like? And what exactly do midwives and doulas do?