If you are passionate about supporting new parents or love taking care of babies, then you should explore being a doula. But before you decide to become one, let us look at some of the considerations you should explore.
Who are doulas?
Doulas offer emotional and physical support during labor, delivery, and postpartum. A doula can help new parents to achieve the healthiest and most satisfying experience in those early days of motherhood by giving them extra coaching and support. Doulas are well trained in childbirth procedures (at home or in a hospital setting) and the postpartum period based on a mother’s unique needs and may or may not be a medical professional or have an advanced degree . However, they do not provide medical advice.
Types of Doulas
There are many types of Doulas but the most common ones are
- Birth Doula. Just as the name implies, birth doulas assist pregnant women before, during, and after childbirth. While the medical team is attending to the baby, birth Doula is there to support MOTHER and will be present in the room to make the birth experience as positive as possible.
- Antepartum Doula. These are Doulas who are specialized to work with women who are considered at high risk or are experiencing difficult pregnancies.
- Postpartum Daytime Doula. After the baby is born, Postpartum Doulas are there to supply mom and family with information on newborn feeding, basic infant care, bonding, and emotional and physical recovery from childbirth. Doulas can even assist with meal prep and light housekeeping as another way to nourish and support mothers and families. They support families during the day.
- Postpartum Night time Doula. They provide in-home overnight support for the family of a newborn.They also supply mom and family with information on newborn feeding, sleeping, basic infant care, bonding, and emotional and physical recovery from childbirth.
- Abortion doula. Offer physical and emotional help to people seeking to end a pregnancy. They provide support before, during, and after for people who are having abortions.
How to become a Doula
Being a doula can be a big emotional and physical investment, so start off with first learning about what it entails to be a doula and what type of Doula you would like to be. Once your heart and mind is set you can then train with an organization which resonates with your learning style.
Here are some tips from Robyn Comfort, an experience Birth and Postpartum Doula, to explore if you want to choose doula as a profession:
- Read about doula work: There are many good books and blogs you can read to learn about the roles and responsibilities, opportunities and challenges faced by doulas
- Find mentors: Talk to a doula about how it is for them. Find mentors in your community that resonate with you and, and just learn from them as much as you can. Write that email, find a phone number to a doula, send a text message. You can find great doula resources at Newmom.me
- Assist a doula: Many doulas are very supportive of newcomers and would be happy to let you shadow and understand the inner workings of doula world
- Attend a doula seminar or webinar: This can be a great opportunity to connect with doula community and learn about their experiences
Once you are convinced that this is the profession for you, you can start the next steps of getting training.
Doula training organizations
Some of the national organizations are as follows. But check with your community to find out about local Doula training organizations.
It is important to choose a training program which aligns with your learning style, fits in your budget and offers you ample support. Before you finalize your decision, ask each organizations questions about
- Do they offer both in person and/or virtual classes and training? Check with them and choose the one which best suits your lifestyle.
- How long does it take to complete the training? Decide based on how much time you can devote to training?
- What are the prerequisites to complete the training? Most organizations need CPR/First aid certificates, reading books as well as supporting a few new parents. Newmom.me offers a great platform for in training doulas to support parents in need.
- In addition to the training fee, if there are any other expenses? Many organizations need you to take additional trainings, read a combination of books. You can either buy them or lend them from your local library.
- Is there a certification exam? Find out the details of what it takes to pass the exam.
- If there are requirements for continuing education/recertification?
- If they offer payment plans?
Once you have done your research and considered a few of them, talk to people who have taken classes with those organizations and ask them about their experience.
How much can I make as a Doula?
Demand for doulas is growing as more people are becoming aware of them and since the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that every birthing woman should have a doula.
You can be either a Full time or a Part time doula, depending on your preference and circumstances. Full time doulas can earn much more than a part-time doula. Birth doulas can make an average of $2000 per birth (also depends on your service area) and postpartum Doulas can make between $30- $70/hour, depending on your service area and your level of experience.
Done with training and ready to support parents? Keep an eye on our next blog on how to grow your business and practice self care.