When you become pregnant everything is a little overwhelming, or way overwhelming! You are making sure your eating healthy, taking the right supplements, creating a birth plan, looking for a postpartum doula 🙂 and so on!
While doing your research, you will come across a lot of professions and titles that are important. It gets confusing. What’s the difference between a lactation consultant and a lactation educator? Which one do I need? Why?
I have done some research and created a guide for you. This is here to help you know who is who and who does what!
Midwife – A midwife is a traditional care provider for mothers and infants. They are trained professionals that support a mother, so they can receive the optimum personalization of care. With a midwife you receive personal, woman-centered care.
OB/GYN – An OB/GYN is a gynecologist and obstetrician. A gynecologist is someone who specializes in women’s reproductive health. An obstetrician cares for women during their pregnancy and after the baby is born.
Doula – A doula is a trained individual to provide support to the mother and partner during childbirth. A doula is someone who you meet before your birth and you create a personal relationship. They take note of your wishes while you are in labor and make sure you have confidence to express your wishes and concerns. They also may support before birth and shortly after birth. Doulas do not do any medical procedures.
Labor & Delivery Nurse – A lot of women, who are new to pregnancy, think that they may not need a doula because their nurses will be present. Nurses can be great coaches and support, but one major drawback is you never know who will be your labor and delivery nurse. You do not create a special bond with your nurse before you go into labor, like you do with your doula. Nurses are not only coaching you, but also assisting the doctors.
Lactation Consultant – Lactation consultants are professionally trained, breastfeeding specialists. They are specialists who teach mothers how to feed their baby. They help in all areas of breastfeeding whether it be poor latch, painful nursing, low milk production and more. It is important to know that when looking for a certified lactation consultant, they will have IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) after their name. This means they have sat for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Exam (IBLCE), which is the only certifying body that can award this credential.
Lactation Counselor – A certified lactation counselor (CLC) can help with issues such as helping a baby latch, counseling mothers, they have knowledge of milk production, prevention and management of sore nipples, and a lot of other various issues. A CLC is not required to sit for the IBLCE. They are required to have a lot of hands on hours and to complete a program, to become certified.
Lactation Educator – A certified lactation educator (CLE), is usually a nurse, doula or other type of birth profession that have taken a course to gain more experience and knowledge in breastfeeding. They provide encouragement, guidance, referrals (to a lactation consultant), education, and support. When searching for a doula or provider, checking if they are a CLE may be beneficial.
Postpartum Doula – A postpartum doula provides emotional, physical, and evidence-based informational support after birth. A postpartum doula is an individual that allows the mother and newborn to create a special bond, without having to worry about everything else. They may do light housekeeping, listen and answer questions, make light meals, watch the baby while mom sleeps, and much more.
Prenatal/Postpartum Fitness Instructor – A prenatal and postpartum fitness instructor is trained specifically to instruct fitness classes to pregnant women and postpartum women. They are knowledgable about the pregnant and postpartum body anatomy.
Childbirth Educator – A childbirth educator is trained to be able to provide education and support to pregnant women and their families. They prepare women and families on what to expect before labor and after.
What profession or title am I missing? Feel free to ask below and I will get it added!