FAQ’S About Becoming a Doula
Q:Are there Prerequisites? Do I need to be a nurse, have a college degree, be of a certain age, a woman, or have given birth myself?
A:The answer to all of these questions would be NO. Although we start at a basic level, we do highly encourage you start reading the DONA International required reading list prior to attending the Birth Doula workshop. Birth doulas do NOT provide medical care at all. A birth doula is strictly Emotional, Physical and Informational support. Some of the best doulas I know have never given birth themselves, and I do know one male doula (he’s fantastic).
Q:How quickly can I become certified after taking the workshop?
A:It depends on how quickly you can line up your three births (i.e. when they are due). Also, how quickly you fill the additional certification requirements. Some students can complete it within a few months, but you do have up to two years. It is self paced.
Q:I have young children at home, I’m breastfeeding, I have a job that is not flexible etc. How can I be a birth Doula and make this work?
A:By far these are the most popular questions. It’s not all or nothing, it can be done! My suggestion for those who cannot find speedy childcare, leave their job at a moment’s notice etc. I would try to connect with another doula that does not have as much obligation. Work as a team, do all the services together with the client and come up with an on call schedule that will work for both of you. This has become very popular and works well. Pumping at a birth is fine if you are still nursing, plan ahead and pack your supplies.
Q:Can I support myself on a doula’s income?
A:This depends on where you live, what the average doula is getting paid in your community and how busy you will be. I would have to say no, not in the beginning anyways. It takes time to build doula services, to connect in the community and become known to the providers. It’s very much referral based. Many doulas I know can make a living at this line of work by incorporating additional services, for example: yoga, lactation, childbirth education, nutrition, postpartum doula services, and so on.
Q:I’m confused about the certification process and the steps:
A:Please visit www.dona.org to view the list of requirements for the birth doula certification. Please note we spend about 30 min during our workshop discussing the steps in detail, so that you are confident in moving forward.
Q:Will I be a doula after completing the workshop?
A:You will be a trained birth Doula. This workshop is a step towards certification. You will not become certified until you complete all the certification requirements set fourth by DONA International and become approved. Please visit www.dona.org to view the list of requirements for the birth Doula certification.
Q:How will I ever get three certification births? How will I find them?
A:Simple! With dedication and work, you need to connect with other professionals in this field. Connecting with other doulas in the community is important, they may know of mothers who are looking for a doula in training. My best success has been connecting with childbirth educators locally.
Q:I’m feeling overwhelmed!
A:Welcome to life as a birth Doula! Create community for yourself. If there's a doula group nearby, join it! Burnout rate is high for solo doulas. We need each other.