Many expectant parents opt to complete the childbirth process in birthing centers or even their own homes, rather than in a hospital setting. There are many reasons why individuals and couples choose this option, such as religious convictions, notions regarding the use of drugs during childbirth, and a sense of restriction in a hospital setting. Many parents report high levels of satisfaction with their home and birth center deliveries, but they are not without the potential for complications and medical errors.

It is very rare for an obstetrician to attend a birth in a parent’s home or a birth center. Instead, these births are attended by midwives, trained professionals who guide parents through labor, childbirth, and the moments that follow while monitoring the mother and baby’s vital signs and determining if either needs to see a doctor due to complications.

What is the Difference Between a Midwife and a Doula?

There are many different types of midwife. Certain midwife classifications, like Certified Nurse Midwives and Certified Professional Midwives, are certified by national professional licensing boards. Lay midwives are individuals who, though knowledgeable about pregnancy, prenatal care, and birth, are not professionally certified.

Doulas are birth coaches and support providers. A doula may attend a hospital, home, or birth center birth to provide information and support to the new parents at all stages of the birth process. Although a doula is not a medical professional, a doula can act negligently during birth and potentially harm a mother or child. Some doula practices now purchase malpractice liability insurance for this specific reason.

Midwives and Doulas are Not Doctors, but they Can be Liable in Malpractice Claims

If your midwife or doula acted in a negligent manner that caused you or your newborn to suffer an injury, you can cite them in a medical malpractice claim. For example, if your midwife fails to notify the doctor with whom he or she has a working relationship about signs of distress from the fetus during birth, he or she may be deemed to be negligent if the distress leads to a birth injury in the newborn. Filing a medical malpractice claim against a midwife follows the same process as filing one against a physician.

Before you choose to work with a midwife, determine whether you are a good candidate for giving birth outside a hospital. Many women with high risk pregnancies are not. Then, research each classification of midwife and interview a few individuals to determine the medical equipment they use, the level of care they provide, and how they handle various complications that can arise during labor and birth.

Work with an Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you or your newborn suffered an injury or a preventable condition because of an act of negligence on the part of the midwife or the doula, consider working with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer to pursue compensation for your damages through a birth injury claim. Contact our team at Baizer Kolar, P.C. today to schedule your initial consultation in our office, during which we can answer any questions you have and help you determine the next step for your claim.