A monitrice is a person who acts as a doula and also has clinical skills related to childbirth. She is often a nurse, but may have acquired her clinical skills through midwifery apprenticeship or some other way. The monitrice acts as an advisor through the pregnancy, labor and after the birth. The responsibilities of a professional labor monitrice do not include prenatal care or actually delivering the baby, and that is the primary difference between a monitrice and a midwife.
A monitrice is usually the first person the expectant parents call when they think they are in labor to discuss the signs and symptoms of labor. The monitrice comes to the couple’s house, and in addition to psychological and emotional support, the monitrice will monitor the mother’s vital signs, listen to the baby’s heart tones, and check cervical dilatation. The monitrice may also speak to the woman’s midwife or physician about her progress. If the couple is planning a hospital birth, she will usually check the woman’s dilatation prior to going to the hospital and arrive at the hospital with the couple. In the hospital a monitrice may be able to provide advocacy for the laboring woman and baby, using her clinical knowledge to discuss whether an intervention is evidenced based and what alternatives exist.
The primary difference between a doula and a monitrice is that the monitrice has professional training in pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care that give her clinical skills that she can use during birth, in addition to providing the emotional support that a doula provides.
Monitrice care is generally more expensive than standard doula care. However if the monitrice is a nurse she can provide documentation of skilled nursing care for 3rd party reimbursement (typically only PPO’s cover this care).
If you can't find a practitioner near you please contact us. We can offer you personal referrals or a comprehensive Birth Options Consultation.
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