So many questions! Get your answers here.
Ah, let’s start at the beginning! Doulas help make birth better. We’re non-medical support people who help families through the birth process. Think Sherpa-guide in the mountains! We support families physically and emotionally, and we help them advocate for what they need and want during the birth. We have great research that shows that doulas improve outcomes for birthing people and their babies.
Postpartum doulas are expert guides who help families through the fourth trimester — the first three months after the baby is born. (Sometimes our support extends a little longer than three months, but we're usually focused on that time period.) We come into the new family's home in shifts, day or night, to help them with feeding, household tasks, education and support of all kinds. The doula makes sure the family is eating, sleeping and adjusting to life with this new little person.
Not at all! Everyone is welcome, there are no age or education requirements. Sometimes people know for sure they want to work as a professional doula, and sometimes our training is a starting place to explore whether the birth and postpartum field in general is right for them. (We see a lot of future midwives in our workshops!) All are welcome.
Many families love having the same doula support them for both birth and the postpartum time. You can take the trainings in any order.
Birth doula workshop: If you have time to do some reading before the training, you'll benefit by reading these two books: “The Birth Partner” by Penny Simkin, and “Natural Hospital Birth” by Cynthia Gabriel. If you can only read just one, start with “The Birth Partner.” Look for the latest edition of both books. Sometimes people register late and they can't complete the reading before the training. That's no problem, just make a plan to start those books ASAP after the workshop, as you'll need them for certification with DONA International. After your register, we'll also send you links to a few short videos to watch online.
Postpartum doula workshop: Our postpartum doula trainer Krista doesn't require any pre-requisites for her training.
Payment plans are available for our earlybird registration. You only need to start with a first payment of $199 or $249, and then make two more payments before your workshop. Everything has to be paid before the start of our first day of training.
We'll send you an invoice for the second two payments. Let us know on your registration form if you have specific dates you'd like to make those installments.
For every 10 doulas who register for our training, we offer a partial scholarship to an under-resource black or native doula who wants to take our workshop. Black and native moms and babies in particular are dying at high rates in the United States, and offering scholarships is one way we can help address those disparities. If you are a black or native doula who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend our workshop because of financial difficulties, please email Jessica to be put on our wait list for partial scholarships to become available as workshops fill.
Heart Soul Birth Pros trainings are the first step toward certification with DONA International. There's more work to do after the training to become certified. You should expect that with any legitimate training! The DONA International certification is meaningful and respected worldwide. You will be so proud once you earn that credential.
You don't have to wait to be certified to start your career, though. As soon as you complete the training, you can start charging for your work as a doula, while you work toward certification.
Birth Doula Certification Requirements:
(Your training with us includes three requirements: Intro to Birth for Doulas, the Birth Doula Workshop, and Breastfeeding for Doulas.)
Postpartum Doula Certification Requirements:
(If you take our birth doula workshop, the breastfeeding class included in that training also fulfills the breastfeeding requirement for your postpartum doula certification.)
This is one of our specialties!
Our birth doula trainings includes a 3+ hour webinar on exactly this topic — how to find clients when you're just starting out. That webinar from The Doula Darcy normally costs $149, but you get it for free when you register for our training.
The steps for postpartum doulas are similar, and DONA International offers some great webinars on finding clients. You can also purchase The Doula Darcy's webinar at a discounted price.
The latest data from the Listening to Mother’s Survey reports that 6 percent of American women use a doula for their birth. That’s a lot of people who want doulas! We expect that the numbers are increasing all the time, and are probably much higher now. Maybe even more importantly, the survey also showed that for parents who did not use a doula but understood the doula role, 27 percent wishes in hindsight that they’d had a doula. What a great market opportunity! More and more people are realizing the benefits that doulas can bring to their birth, and we’re also seeing an increase in Medicaid coverage (some states), hospital-based and nonprofit doula programs. TriCare insurance now covers birth doula services from DONA-certified birth doulas. Yes, there’s demand.
As for postpartum doulas, that market is hot too. So many families are waking up to the benefits of having a postpartum doula (days or overnights) to support them in the months after their baby is born. In our owner Jessica's doula group, postpartum services have increased more than 500% in the past five years.
Many doulas take both a birth and postpartum training, and clients seem to love the continuity of one person to care for them in pregnancy, during the birth, and in the fourth trimester. (You don't need to train for both, of course! There are many doulas who are exclusively birth doulas, or exclusively postpartum doulas.)
In the early years of the birth doula profession, there was mostly just one way to be a doula: on-call, 24/7, from 38 to 42 weeks of your client’s pregnancy. We’ve gotten much more creative and flexible since then, so this career can be more open and accessible to lots of people. Some doulas still operate in the traditional mode of 24/7 call time, which is a great way to form a deep connection with your clients. Others decide on a partnership model (usually two to four doulas) where one of the partners attends the birth, based on a call schedule. There are lots of options to craft a doula career that can work in your life, and we outline all of the possibilities together during the training.
For postpartum doulas, there's even more flexibility. Postpartum doulas typically work in three- or four-hour shifts during the day, and longer shifts if you're supporting families overnight. You work directly with the family to set your schedule, and you get to decide whether you want to offer daytime support, overnights, or both.
Do you have hands and a heart? Then you have what it takes to be a great doula. The heart of what we do is to offer compassionate, professional support to help nurture families through their birth. You can totally do that! Our birth and postpartum doula trainings give you the solid foundation you need to get started in this work as a true professional, and we offer lifelong training options to help you continue to grow and improve. The world needs more doulas, and you’re clearly called to this work or you wouldn’t be here looking at our site. We’re here to lift you up as you help families navigate one of the most important and beautiful times of their lives. Yes, you have what it takes!