So You Want to Be a Doula?

Doula work is a rewarding act of service. In fact, if you are here on this page, YOU already embody the art of being a doula. Supporting others, being empathic, and attuning to others is what you do naturally. But you have felt that there’s something missing. Something that would allow you to truly thrive in your act of service as a support person. This is becoming a professional doula!

Who is a Doula?

A doula by definition is derived from the Greek word doulē, meaning ‘female slave’. In modern Greek, a doula is a person incorporated to provide guidance and support to a pregnant individual during labor. They also provide guidance and support to the family of a newborn in the afterbirth period. In general terms, a doula is someone that encompasses the heart to provide unbiased nonjudgemental companionship to expecting parents, and parents in the postpartum periods. A doula is professional. They are the experts in support. Doulas bring serenity to the space that they encounter.

What Does a Doula Do?

Doulas are non-medical support people. They are not currently regulated or licensed individuals. While certification is not required to do the work of a doula, it definitely can set one up to be the “go-to” in their community with experience, expertise, and professionalism. There are many different hats of a doula. The two main roles of support that doulas provide are labor doula and postpartum doulas. Let’s discuss the differences between the two.

Labor Doulas

A labor doula provides support during pregnancy, childbirth, and the immediate postpartum period. During pregnancy, the doula builds a relationship with the client. Communication and connection are cultivated throughout the pregnancy. Labor doulas conduct a prenatal visit with their client to discuss birth preferences, when to contact them, when to head to the preferred birthing facility, discussing the stages of labor, and more. The labor doula is on-call for the stages of labor into the birth of the baby. during labor a doula give insight to what is occurring and provides comfort measures to aid in the discomforts of childbirth. After delivery of the baby, the doula is with the family for a few hours to help get adjusted to immediate newborn and incorporate the “golden hour” if wanted.

Postpartum Doulas

Postpartum doulas provide support during the after-birth through the postpartum period. Some postpartum doulas will provide family support up to the first 6-weeks after birth, while other postpartum doulas will provide family support up to the first year. In some instances, the postpartum doula becomes a nanny for the families they support, as the family has become attached and familiar with their doula. Postpartum doulas give assistance with the newborn, helps around the home, and is a companion to the new parent emotionally and educationally. The support of a postpartum doula has been shown to decrease the onset of a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder by 60%, and increase breastfeeding rates by 25%. Postpartum doula support so rewarding, and is not utilized enough!

How Do I Become a Doula?

So you want to be a doula?! GREAT! Birthing families NEED support that is nonjudgemental, unbiased, and coming from a place that has their best intentions. Doulas have become a hot commodity with insurance reimbursing for doula support, Tricare (military insurance) implementing subsidies for labor and lactation support, and community organizations paying for doula support. In order to qualify for reimbursements, doulas are required to be trained and certified among other qualifications.

Getting started is simple! Choose a training organization that has a robust, comprehensive, no-agenda to their curriculum. As a trainer for ProDoula, I love their no nonsense approach to birth-work. There are no hoops to jump through to gain certification. You don’t have to read books upon books or write pages upon pages. The workshop, the exam, CPR certification, cultural competency, the membership, and one is ready to begin work as a certified doula! Above all, there is mentorship along your journey so you never have to do it alone. Now the question is…which role will you achieve first?! Reach out and let’s discuss how birth work can work for you.

I would love to see you at my next training!