So you want to be a doula! You probably know that doulas support families during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Perhaps you have come to discover the field after becoming a parent, or from another career path such as nursing or childhood development. Which ever way you landed here, we welcome you!

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What Is A Doula?

The widely accepted definition of a doula is a person who give physical, emotional, and education support during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. It is a non-medical support person; they don't do things such as vaginal checks, doppler readings, or assessing newborns. A birth doula works along side your care providers and your birth partner while you are in labor in the home or the hospital. A postpartum doula comes to your home and helps with household tasks, newborn care, basics of breastfeeding and often provides companionship and sleep support.

The most important factor to being a great doula is providing NON-JUDGMENTAL support. This means the doula shares no opinion on various topics such as unmedicated births vs. epidurals, vaginal delivery vs. cesareans, or formula vs. breastfeeding. We are there in an informational and support role only. 

What Is The First Step To Becoming A Doula?

Step one is to take a training. We recommend an in person training to get some hands on experience prior to working with your first client. There are many doula training organizations; we have listed a handful below. Every training body has a slightly different ‘philosophy’ about birth and provides slightly different training curriculum.  An in person training is typically 2-3 days depending on your knowledge of pregnancy, birth and newborns before training begins. Most organizations have required reading material and also require in person client support before certification. You may work in the field before being certified.

CAPPA- http://www.cappa.net/labor-doula
DONA International- https://www.dona.org/become-a-doula/
ProDoula - https://www.prodoula.com/become-a-doula/
Best Doula - https://bestdoulatraining.com/doula-certification/
ICEA- http://icea.org/certification/upcoming-workshops/doula-workshops/

Once you are trained, the second step would be setting up your business with the state (generally as a sole proprietor or LLC). Think carefully about where you would like to be in the future before picking a business name!

3 Things to Consider Before Becoming A Doula:

On Call Time- Babies don’t read calendars. You may be on call and leaving your family at a moment’s notice. Postpartum time is more scheduled, but many times a person wants support within 24 hours of initial contact. Flexibility is key to working consistently in the field.

Running A Business- Doula work is very rewarding but it also requires some back end work such as invoicing, state correspondence and web design and/or marketing.

Obtaining Doula InsuranceCM & F offers specific doula insurance.

Doulas of Capitol Hill is a doula agency in Washington D.C. that hires doulas and newborn care specialists on a rolling bases. If you have taken an in person training and are interested in working with us, please submit a letter of inquiry and resume to info@doulasofcapitolhill.com. We are always looking for well qualified, non judgmental doulas!

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