How To Become A Doula?

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How To Become A Doula?

Having a baby is a life-changing event. And while it’s an amazing time, it can also be challenging, filled with mixed emotions, exhaustion, and uncertainty. That’s where doulas come in.

These professional labor support providers are trained to offer physical, emotional, and informational assistance during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. As a doula, you can make a real difference in the lives of those around you.

We have asked our expert Doula, Michaela Fink, to give you some information about what a doula is, what doulas do, and why she loves being one!

If you are passionate about working with families and babies and want to make a difference in your community, becoming a doula may be the perfect fit for you! Keep reading to learn more about doulas and how to become one.

What Is A Doula?

what is a duola

A Doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during, and after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.

The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides help and support to women and families during pregnancy, labor, and the early postnatal period.

Doulas are not medically trained and do not give medical advice or perform clinical tasks. Instead, they offer practical and emotional support throughout the birthing process.

They can help you to navigate the hospital system, understand your birth options, and make informed decisions about your care. They also provide continuous physical and emotional support during labor and delivery, help you to cope with pain, and encourage you and your partner.

Benefits Of Having A Doula

Research has shown that when doulas are present, mothers and babies benefit in the following ways:

  • Shorter labors with fewer complications
  • Less need for pain medication
  • Less chance of instrument-assisted births
  • Lower rate of cesareans
  • Increased likelihood of successful breastfeeding

In addition, doulas can provide invaluable support and guidance to fathers or other birth partners who may feel uncertain or powerless during labor.

Mothers who receive continuous support from a doula are more likely to have shorter labors with fewer complications, are less likely to need pain medication, and are more likely to be satisfied with their births. Babies born to mothers who receive doula support are also more likely to breastfeed successfully and have a lower incidence of newborn complications.

In addition to the physical benefits, doula support also provides mothers with much-needed emotional and mental support. Childbirth is an intense and sometimes overwhelming experience; a doula can provide guidance and reassurance throughout the process.

How To Become A Doula?

how to become a duola

There is no one specific path to becoming a doula. Some women are drawn to this profession after the fantastic experience they had with their own doula during childbirth.

Others may have always been interested in working in the birth field and see doula work as a natural extension of that interest.

There are also those who become interested in doula work after experiencing a difficult or disappointing birth themselves and feel called to help other women have better experiences.

No matter your story, if you’re interested in becoming a doula, the first step is to get trained and certified.

Commitment to Continuing Education

Michaela Fink is a certified doula and the owner of Michaela’s Newborn Care Services LLC, a company that offers support for both parents and birth professionals.

Michaela has been working in the birth field for years and loves helping families through the challenges and joys of early parenthood.

Michaela explains that becoming a doula is a commitment to continuing education. The birth world is constantly changing and evolving, and doulas must stay up-to-date on the latest research and developments.

—Throughout my career, I have cross trained through multiple organizations, so I have done online and in-person training.

As for the actual certification process, there are multiple organizations that offer doula training and certification. Michaela has some pieces of advice on how to start:

—I would recommend researching Doula training organizations in your area, networking with other doulas, and asking them their recommendations. A great online resource is also Birth Arts International; that is who I trained through.

Reach Out To Doula Organization

A way to find doula training is to reach out to local hospitals or birthing centers. Michaela’s career as a doula started at the local hospital:

—I was completing my internship with our local labor and delivery unit when I learned what a doula was. I discovered my passion for supporting families as they transitioned into life with a new baby. I helped monitor contractions, assisted nurses in preparing the room for the baby’s arrival, and helped the lactation consultant teach new mothers to feed. I realized how much I loved birth and the postpartum period. I knew that from then on if I wanted to take the training to become a certified doula, I needed to give it my all.

Training to become a doula can be costly, so it’s important to ensure that you choose the right program. Additionally, many programs offer payment plans or scholarships to help offset the cost of training. The key, however, is to do your research and make sure that a reputable organization accredits the program you choose.

Some of the most popular doula training organizations are:

These organizations offer different training levels, from weekend workshops to multi-week courses. The training’s type, length, and cost will vary depending on your chosen organization. The topics included in doula training also vary, but they typically have:

  • Anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, labor, and birth
  • The physiology of breastfeeding
  • Emotional support during pregnancy, delivery, and birth
  • Massage and other comfort measures for labor
  • Practical skills for labor support, such as positions for labor, counter-pressure massage, and rebozo techniques
  • Information on medical interventions and pain management options
  • Newborn care basics
  • Postpartum recovery for the mother

During most of those courses, you can shadow another doula during their work. This lets you learn about the role firsthand and get a feel for it. You will also have the opportunity to attend births as a doula in training. This experience is invaluable, as it will help you understand labor and birth dynamics.

How Much Does A Doula Earn?

How Much Does A Doula Earn

—Depending on location, most doulas charge around $25-$40 an hour for postpartum services. Birth Doulas charge around $900-3,000 per birth, depending on the packages they offer. – Michaela Fink says.

So, there is a range of what doulas can earn. It really depends on the services that they offer, their experience, and their location. Held certifications are crucial for a doula as it legitimizes their knowledge and allows them to charge more. Certification from DONA is considered the most valuable. A service called DoulaMatch compiled data from its users to find the average rate for doulas.

The results revealed that DONA International-certified doulas charged 25% more than non-certified doulas and 7% more than doulas certified by other organizations. In addition, DONA International certified doulas received double the amount of monthly recommendations.

What Makes A Good Doula?

What Makes A Good Doula

While doulas come from all walks of life, certain qualities make a good doula.

—A great doula is someone who has a heart for supporting new parents and their infants. Becoming a parent is a very emotional time in life, and a doula supports the family as a whole. -Michaela.

Compassion, empathy, and a non-judgmental attitude are essential qualities for a doula. It’s important to be able to put yourself in your client’s shoes and understand what they are going through. A great doula is also a good listener. New parents often need someone to listen to their concerns and fears without judgment.

Another important quality for a doula is to be able to think on their feet. Birth is an unpredictable event, and a good doula must adapt to whatever comes their way. They also need to be able to stay calm under pressure.

Finally, a great doula should have a wealth of knowledge about pregnancy, labor, and birth. Michaela says:

—A great doula is highly educated, experienced, and intuitive about their client’s needs. When I decided I wanted to become a doula, I wanted to give it my all because that’s what new parents deserve. I pride myself in my education and always strive to learn more.

The Power Of The Doula Community

The Power Of The Doula Community

One of the best things about being a doula is the community that comes along with it. Doulas are part of a larger community of birth professionals, including midwives, OB/GYNs, lactation consultants, and more. This community is supportive and collaborative, with the common goal of providing the best possible care for new families.

Additionally, many doulas form their own local communities where they can support and learn from each other. These communities can be an excellent resource for new doulas who are just starting out.

Michaela found her way to help fellow doulas too:

—I have a mentorship program that focuses on helping Doulas find their confidence to support more clients.

A doula community can provide support, education, and friendship. These communities can be a crucial part of a doula’s success, from exchanging tips and tricks to helping find clients and being there for each other on tough days.

Being A Doula Is A Rewarding Experience

Being A Doula Is A Rewarding Experience

Despite the challenges, becoming a doula is a highly rewarding experience. A doula gets to be a part of one of the most intimate, special moments in a family’s life. They get to watch as new parents bring their babies into the world and start their lives as a family.

Becoming a doula is a rewarding experience that comes with its own set of challenges. But if you’re up for the challenge and have the qualities necessary to be a great doula, then doula training may be the right path for you.