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How do I Become a Postpartum Doula?

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  • Written By: Gina Ritter
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A postpartum doula is a non-medical assistant who provides care and support for a mother who has just given birth. Her role may include such duties as cooking, light cleaning, breastfeeding assistance and newborn care assistance. Her work usually continues for about six weeks after the birth of the baby. To become a postpartum doula, one generally needs experience with newborn care, breastfeeding and sometimes postpartum depression. Certification isn't generally required in most places, but it is offered through several organizations, such as DONA International. Certification may add to an aspiring doula's credentials, further helping her gain employment.

The word doula may be more familiar to some in terms of the actual birth of the baby. A labor or birth doula is trained to provide non-medical emotional and physical support to a woman during labor and delivery. She’s a trained, devoted, and compassionate caregiver. Where the doula assists a mother during labor, the postpartum doula is trained for after-labor care.

A postpartum doula can be any compassionate, non-judgmental, and responsible person who wants to help a mother after she’s given birth. A postpartum doula typically offers support with breastfeeding and bonding with the infant as well as helps a mother hurdle family issues and keep her house in order. A doula can also help the mother identify health and wellness issues that might be missed.

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Most areas don't require certification to become a postpartum doula, however it may be important for credibility and liability. Formal and continuing education in a related field, such as nursing, social work or psychology, may be helpful. Doulas also may benefit from CPR certifications and experience and resources related to breastfeeding. Signing with a certifying agency can also help a practicing doula keep informed of changes in laws that may affect business procedures.

A simple online search can help a student find books and reference articles on how to become a postpartum doula; the Internet is also a good place to find workshops and training classes through doula organizations such as CAPPA, DONA International, and Maternitywise. These agencies offer information about supporting and educating a new mom and her family. Class topics may include breastfeeding support, postpartum mood disorders, newborn care techniques, and how to create and grow a postpartum doula business.

The path to become a postpartum doula takes an investment of time and money as well. With certification processing fees, training, and memberships, an investment may be $500 to $600 US Dollars (USD). In most cases, once training materials have been requested and received, a student has up to two years to complete the training and receive certification.

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