How to Become A Doula?
As the global energies continue to shift more women are reconnecting with their
feminine essence. This, along with other factors, is building a growing interest in
birth work. In this post I will be sharing how to become a doula, the different types
of doulas and things to consider before committing birth work.
TYPES OF DOULAS:
There are three main types of doulas.
- Labor / Birth Doulas
This person will meet with a mother 1-2 times in the prenatal stage (during pregnancy). During these meetings a doula will get to know her client and also provide important information about birth and the role of a doula. Although some doulas can be very knowledgeable not all will provide extensive childbirth education. For deeper education parents might be referred to a class such as Hypnobabies, The Bradley Method, Lamaze etc. Once the mother goes into labor the doula will physically, emotionally and mental support her through the entire labor/birth. It is also normal for there to be one postpartum visit to help with breastfeeding, newborn care, talking about the birth etc.
There are a growing amount of doulas that work for agencies and may only meet with the client once before the birth, and won’t do a postpartum visit. These types of doulas primarily focus on birth not the entirety of pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
COST: Depending on where you are the cost of doula might be anywhere from $500-$2,000
- Postpartum Doulas:
This type of doula will not attend the birth but support the mother after the baby is born. She will typically come to the clients home to do the following:
- Assist with breastfeeding
- Discuss normal newborn behavior
- Light cleaning
- Light food prep
- Watch the baby while the mother rests
There are some doulas who are trained more extensively in postpartum rituals such as “closing the bones” or “belly binding”. The main reason for hiring a postpartum doula is to give the mother a break and useful information for transitioning into motherhood and of course offering emotional support. This can be especially helpful for mothers who do not have family near by to help.
- Full Spectrum Doulas:
This type of doula has probably taken a variety of different trainings to be able to support a person through miscarriage, fertility issues, conception, pregnancy, birth, loss, adoption and all in between. They truly cover the entire spectrum of all things reproductive health. This type of doula might be hired very early on or even before the client is pregnant and stick with them until the client is in the postpartum stage.
COST: average $1,000+
*There are many other types of doulas such as death doulas, abortion doulas, but I will keep this list concentrated on birth for this discussion.
So what is the road to doula-hood?
The most popular track to becoming a doula is to sign up for a training in your area. The trainings could range from one weekend to over a month. Depending on the organization the fee will also vary. A common theme in most organizations is having to complete an in-person training and then completing a series of books and fulfill a number of “volunteer births” or shadowing an experienced doula for a certain amount of births. There are some programs that exist to train doulas remotely via online programs. While that can be great for further education I highly recommend taking an in-person training to really absorb the knowledge.
Logistically, it’s that simple.
Since doulas are not (yet) regulated by any government body the only expectation is to become trained and certified with a local organization. But in my opinion, becoming a doula involves so much more then getting certified. It is a call. The essence of a doula lies in his/her willingness to serve and support. Birth work involves a deep commitment to empower fellow mothers/birthing people. I think it's really important to keep educating yourself even after the training is complete.
Since becoming a doula I have noticed a distinction between a committed birth worker and someone who enjoys birth but opportunistically capitalizes off of the trend. But that’s a conversation for another day…
A few things to consider before becoming a doula:
- If you have children will you be able to be on call to go to a birth
- do you have birth trauma and will that trauma affect you as a doula
- birth has been heavily medicalized and there are many medical professionals who do not use evidence-based information, for this reason a lot of doula work can be education, and advocacy, do you have the confidence to speak up and inform a client even in the presence of medical professionals?
You can find some certifying organizations below:
Many organizations will offer limited scholarships to help cover the fee of the training but even if they do not offer this openly I encourage you to ask if you feel like you need financial assistance (you never know until you inquire)
Have more questions? Leave them down below in the comments and let’s chat!