Building a Successful Doula Career: Training, Risk Management, and Beyond

Doula meeting with a pregnant client

Welcome to the enlightening world of birth work! If you're passionate about making a positive impact on expecting parents' lives, then doula care might be your calling. In this blog post, we're thrilled to delve into the realms of doula training and effective risk management, based on our mid-September 2023 conversation (Ep. 17) with Jenny Bennett, Managing Director of Doula Trainings International. (Haven’t heard it yet? Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts!) So, if you're ready to navigate the path to becoming a successful doula, keep reading!

Choosing Your Training Path: What Organization? Online or In-Person?

The journey begins with a fundamental choice: where and how to undergo doula training. Training is not required to call yourself a doula, but it’s widely acknowledged that a formalized training program can be extremely helpful in learning the trade, establishing your business practices, helping you build your network–and it’s often a massive trust boost that helps convince clients that you’re a great person to hire.

So what training organization is right for you? Do your research, poll the birth workers you know, subscribe to the organizations’ Instagram feeds, sign up for their newsletters, and spend a good month or two getting a vibe from the different options. Only then will you be able to make an informed decision.

And once you’ve chosen the training organization, will you opt for the flexible, self-paced environment of online training, or do you thrive in the camaraderie of in-person sessions? Your learning style and commitments will guide this decision. Remember, the key is to find the method that resonates best with you. As Jenny and I discussed in Episode 17, there are pluses and minuses to each approach, and it’s a decision you make based on your own style and needs.

Mitigating Risks and Ensuring a Smooth Practice

As you step into the world of birth work, understanding risk management is paramount. Strive to comprehend the boundaries of your role as a doula to avoid encroaching on medical responsibilities. Equipping yourself with comprehensive insurance is a safety net, but staying within your scope of practice is your primary defense. By doing so, you protect yourself, your clients, and the integrity of your practice. DISCLAIMER: never look to Nessle for insurance advice! But hey, there are plenty of doulas on our platform who would be glad to share their own hot take, I’m sure, on how they’ve used insurance in their own business.

Spreading the Doula Awareness: Conversations that Matter

Embrace your role as a doula ambassador! Initiate conversations within your community to demystify doula services. Your proactive approach can educate others about the incredible support and care doulas provide. By creating an open dialogue, you not only elevate the profession but also make potential clients feel at ease and well-informed.

Commit to memory a clear way that you’ll define this word–doula–that may be unfamiliar to some. And own it! 

The Doula Renaissance: Shaping a Promising Future

The landscape of doula services is evolving, and it's an exciting time to be part of it. Society's perception of doulas is undergoing a positive shift, acknowledging the invaluable role they play in the childbirth journey. As this awareness grows, so does the demand for doula services. With dedication and passion, you have the opportunity to contribute to this transformative change.

Your journey into the world of doula care will undoubtedly be a remarkable one, filled with learning, growth, and meaningful connections. By choosing a training path that suits you, prioritizing risk management, fostering open communication, and embracing the changing perceptions of doula services, you're on track to build a fulfilling and successful doula career. Remember, at the heart of it all, your dedication to supporting parents during one of life's most precious moments is what truly matters.

Join us again soon for more insightful discussions and guidance on your path to making a difference in the lives of parents-to-be. Until then, stay inspired and continue spreading the light of doula care!

Carly B

Carly B

Carly is a postpartum doula and Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC) based in the West End of Richmond, Virginia.