So you have decided to become an antepartum doula. Great! Antepartum doulas provide support to women who have high risk pregnancies. It takes extra compassion, care, and education to accommodate women with higher risk pregnancies and requires specialized training.
Much as with birth and postpartum doulas, the job prospects of antepartum doulas will increase in the next decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s great news for women who are interested in becoming one. Keep reading to find out more information the duties of an antepartum doula as well as training and certification information.
What Does an Antepartum Doula Do?
Antepartum doulas provide focused support to women undergoing pregnancies which involve complications to the mother or her unborn baby. These complications could include medical reasons, being bedridden, or a teen pregnancy. Antepartum doulas provide physical and emotional support that is tailored to address the needs of a pregnant women with a higher risk of complications.
The duties include home assistance if the client is confined to her bed. This may include providing massages or helping with small tasks. It also includes active listening and communication to the concerns expressed by the client so that they may be addressed in an empathetic and compassionate fashion. Antepartum doulas are trained to educate women on the topics of labor, childbirth, and initial postpartum care with an emphasis on the complications and interventions that can occur during this period.
How to Become an Antepartum Doula
Antepartum doulas can undergo formal training which involves taking classes, attending workshops, and assisting in childbirths. This curriculum is similar to the ones used to train birth or labor doulas. Many of the experienced instructors teaching the courses will be knowledgeable in aspects of higher risk pregnancies and will be happy to provide antepartum doula training.
Because there is no requirement for formal training in order to become an antepartum doulas, some doulas choose to read and learn on their own without having to enroll in a certification program. Some doulas are better at learning at their pace and are very self-motivated, so training themselves should be considered as an option.
Antepartum Doula Certification
Some antepartum enroll in a certification program to receive more training in order to get certified. The benefits of certification include being taught by certified instructors, being able to network with established doulas, and showing potential clients that you have passed a standard of education set forth by a certification organization. However, it is not a requirement and many antepartum doulas work without a certification.
Currently, the only antepartum doula certification program is offered through CAPPA. Part of the training curriculum requirements are as follows;
- complete assignments and essays assigned by qualified instructors
- attend a weekend long workshop which offers hands-on training
- read training literature which addresses the specialized supportive role during high risk pregnancies
- compile a list of local resources which can be useful for new parents
- attend and assist in 3 births and receive an evaluation for your abilities and performance