How to Become a Doula

If you have a passion for supporting mothers and newborns, then becoming a doula will be a rewarding career choice for you.  Most women start out by having an interest in labor support, childbirth education, or a general need to help people.  That interest makes the transition into a professional career much easier.

Getting started is not as difficult as you might think. The following is a general outline of what you have to do to become a doula as well as common issues and questions to think about as you begin your path as a professional doula.

Decide on Which Type of Doula You Want to Be

There are different types of doulas who help different types of people.  Most doulas are birth and postpartum doulas that help support mothers, newborns, and their families.  However, there are many different types of doulas who help different types of people.  Deciding on which type of doula you want to be will influence what type of training you will receive.

How to Become a Certified Doula

In order to receive a certification, you must enroll and complete the requirements of a doula certification program.  Almost all programs require you to attend childbirth education and birth doula workshops, observe 3 or more childbirths, reading training literature, and write essays to reflect on what you have learned.

Getting a certification adds to your qualifications as a birth doula and makes you more marketable to potential clients when you finish your training.  There are many advantages to getting certified, but there are a few things to think about before deciding on persuing a certification.  For example, the reading materials and coursework offered by a certification program can be academically rigorous. Additionally, most certifications programs charge $500 or more for you to enroll.  Finally, certification training can require a lot of traveling to attend childbirths, workshops, and classes.  The entire certification process can take months to complete.

How to Become a Postpartum Doula

The path to becoming a postpartum doula is similar, but somewhat different, from a birth doula. Much as a birth doula, she must enroll and complete the requirements of a certificate granting program.  However, the curriculum is very different as the workshops and classes focus on newborn care, breastfeeding, and strengthening the bond between mother and infant.

Should I Become a Doula or Midwife?

Doulas and midwives serve different roles during a mother’s labor and birth.  Midwives can deliver babies and prescribe some medications.  It is preferable to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a healthcare field to become a midwife, while there is no such degree requirement for doulas.  Doulas can serve a client without having a certification; however, midwives must be certified.

Deciding on whether to be a doula or a midwife depends on what type of support you want to be in order to serve your client.  If you want serve a compassionate coach to the mother while providing emotional, physical, and childbirth educational support, then becoming a doula is the right career path for you.