Like many people who are interested in working in healthcare, I was confused on where to start. I thought that I wanted to be a doctor or nurse, but I wasn’t in the right financial state to go into those fields. Then, I began doing some research and I came across a healthcare professional job called a doula, which will let me work in the healthcare field without having to become a doctor or nurse.
Most people are not familiar with what doulas do in the healthcare field. A doula’s job is to serve mothers during their pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. Unlike nurses, who only provide medical attention, doulas provide emotional and physical support to the mother during this time. These types of doulas are called birth doulas. While birth doulas cannot provide medical treatments or diagnosis as nurses or midwives could, they provide an important function as part of the mother’s support team. By using comfort techniques, providing evidence based information, and assisting the medical team during labor, it has been proven that doulas provide a much more satisfactory birth experience for the mother.
I looked around and saw that many doula jobs required a certification, so I began my doula training by attending classes and workshops which led to a DONA certification. While finishing up my time at college, I was able to attend the certification courses because they were pretty flexible and some were even online. After reading the training literature and attending the workshops, I had to attend childbirths in order to receive real world experience in becoming a doula. It only took me about 6 months to get certified and I’ve already received offers from birth centers and hospitals where I can work as a doula. It’s a great feeling to get job offers already as soon as I became a doula!
There is also another kind of doula, called a postpartum doula, who works to support both the mother and newborn in the immediate weeks after childbirth. After receiving postpartum doula training, they can provide support by showing the mother different newborn care methods as well as breastfeeding techniques as well as how to bath and diaper an infant. Postpartum doulas are also trained to encourage bonding of the whole family, including older siblings and the father, with the new baby. Now that I’ve finished my doula training and have begun working as a birth doula, I will definitely consider going back to get certified postpartum doula.
I hope the story of my journey will encourage others to pursue a career as a doula. It is an extremely rewarding field in healthcare that lets you work to ensure a happy and healthy mother and child.