How to be a doula | Bloom Birth Studio

How to Be a Doula: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started

Are you passionate about supporting women during one of the most transformative experiences of their lives?

Do you want to empower women and guide them through childbirth? Then, becoming a doula and starting a doula business may be your perfect path.

But where do you even start with so many options and resources for doulas available? Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered. This blog post will walk you through everything you need to know about how to be a doula.

I’ll provide you with the knowledge and tools to get started on this fulfilling and rewarding journey.

I’ll cover everything from the basics of becoming a doula to the training and certification options available to the skills you need to succeed in this field.

Let’s dive in!

Navigate Your Doula Journey With Confidence

Leverage our comprehensive Doula Business Checklist to streamline your practice and ensure you have all the essentials for a thriving business.

how to become a doula. the ultimate guide to following your calling into birth work

What is a Doula?

Simply put, a doula is a trained professional who provides non-medical support to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Doulas are trained to provide emotional, physical, and informational support to their clients.

A doula’s role is to support and empower the birthing women and their partner, guiding them to have a positive and fulfilling birth experience, whether at home, the hospital, or a birth center.

There are two primary types of doulas: birth doulas and postpartum doulas. 

Birth doulas provide support during labor and delivery, while postpartum doulas provide support during the postpartum period.

As a doula, you play a vital role in providing emotional support to families as they navigate the often overwhelming world of pregnancy and childbirth. Support can include providing childbirth education, labor support, assisting with breastfeeding, and offering practical advice for birthing families.

coping with labor pains - home birth with a doula

Why Become a Doula?

Becoming a doula can be a rewarding career choice for those passionate about the birth process and helping pregnant women. Here are some reasons why you might consider becoming a doula:

  • You want to make a positive impact on the lives of mothers and the entire family

  • You have a passion for women’s health and childbirth

  • You want to work in a field that allows for flexibility and independence

  • You want to be part of a growing and in-demand profession

birth affirmations for labor

What Does a Doula Do?

A doula’s role is to help women through birth and postpartum and provide physical and emotional support at every step. Every doula aims to empower clients to give birth on their terms and ultimately have fulfilling birth and postpartum experiences. Helping every woman have beautiful birth stories that will last their lifetimes and pass down through generations.

During pregnancy, a birth doula will educate the client on pregnancy and childbirth, help with birth planning, and offer emotional support to the expecting parents. The intention is to help the client feel informed and prepared for what’s to come.

Birth doula support can include providing comfort measures such as massage, breathing techniques, and position changes, offering encouragement and reassurance, providing education, and advocating for the client’s wishes and needs with medical professionals.

After childbirth, a postpartum doula supports new parents in adjusting to life with a new baby. This can include assistance with breastfeeding, newborn care, household tasks, and emotional support and guidance as needed.

Overall, a doula’s role is to provide non-medical support, education, and guidance to expecting parents, helping them have a positive and empowering birth and postpartum experience.

How to Be a Doula: Training and Certification Options

To become a doula, you must complete a training program and obtain a certification. Several organizations offer doula certification programs, including DONA InternationalCAPPAToLaborChildbirth International, and ICEA (to name a few) can provide the knowledge and skills you need to excel in your role and become a certified doula.

doula certification training programs

The certified training programs typically cover topics such as:

  • Anatomy and physiology of pregnancy and childbirth

  • Labor support techniques

  • Postpartum care and support

  • Communication skills and advocacy

  • Business and marketing skills for building your doula practice

There are many reputable, certified doula training and certification programs available, but two of the top organizations are:

DONA International

How to be a doula | Dona International

DONA International is a globally recognized organization that trains and certifies doulas. It was founded in 1992 and has trained over 15,000 doulas worldwide.

DONA International promotes high-quality, evidence-based doula care for all women and their families.

The organization offers a comprehensive doula training program that covers topics such as childbirth education, labor support techniques, and postpartum care and support.

CAPPA International

Doula Training Program | CAPPA International

CAPPA International is a non-profit organization that provides training and certification for childbirth professionals, including doulas, childbirth educators, and lactation educators. Founded in 1998, CAPPA has trained over 18,000 professionals in 30 countries.

The organization’s mission is to provide education, support, and networking opportunities for professionals who work with expecting and new families.

CAPPA offers a variety of certification programs, including Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, and Childbirth Educator, as well as continuing education opportunities for established professionals.

Doula Training Cost and Duration

The duration and cost of doula training programs can vary depending on the organization and the type of program you choose. Typically, the intensity and depth of the training range from a few days to several months.

Some programs cost a few hundred dollars for the initial certification, while others may cost several thousand. In addition, some organizations offer scholarships or payment plans to make training more accessible.

Researching different doula training programs and organizations is essential to find one that fits your needs and budget. In addition, many organizations offer online training options, which can be more flexible and affordable for some individuals.

While the cost and time commitment of doula training programs can vary, the investment in your education and professional development can pay off in the long run as you build a fulfilling and rewarding career.

how to start a doula business - doulapreneur roadmap to success

Building Your Doula Business

Once you’ve completed your doula training and certification process, it’s time to start building your practice and providing doula services.

Beginning a career as a doula requires careful planning and strategic steps to ensure success. From completing your education and training to defining your services, establishing an online presence, and delivering exceptional client experiences, there are several key elements to consider.

For a detailed roadmap on how to kickstart your journey as a doula entrepreneur, I recommend checking out my comprehensive guide titled “How to Start a Doula Business: 6-Step Doulapreneur Roadmap Guide.

This guide provides a step-by-step breakdown of the essential tasks and considerations involved in launching and growing a thriving doula practice. With this roadmap, you’ll navigate the path to success with confidence and clarity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Typically, how much do doulas earn?

A: The earnings of a doula can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, education requirements, and the services offered. According to a survey by birth doula training DONA International, the average doula fee in the United States is between $800-$2500 per birth.

A full-time doula who attends 1-3 births a month can make between $3,000 and $6500 a month, depending on the city.

Q: What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?

A: A doula and a midwife are professionals who support pregnant individuals, but their roles and responsibilities are different.

A doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to pregnant individuals before, during, and after childbirth.

Doulas do not offer medical care or make medical decisions for their clients but instead focus on providing comfort measures and helping their clients to advocate for themselves and their birth preferences.

On the other hand, a midwife is a healthcare provider trained to provide medical care to pregnant individuals throughout their pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum period. Midwives can provide prenatal care, attend births, and provide postpartum care. They can also diagnose and treat certain medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.

While both doulas and midwives can play essential roles in supporting pregnant individuals, their roles are distinct and complementary. Doulas focus on providing emotional and physical support, while midwives offer medical care. Some individuals work with a doula and a midwife to receive comprehensive support during pregnancy and childbirth.

Q: Do I need a certification to become a doula?

A: Certification is not required to become a doula, but it can provide you with the benefits of additional training and support for building your doula practice.

Q: What kind of doula makes the most money?

A: The income of a doula depends on various factors such as experience, location, specialization, and demand for their services. Doulas who have been in the field for longer and gained a strong reputation may command higher fees. In addition, doulas who offer specialized services, such as postpartum or bereavement doula services, may also be able to charge higher rates.

Additionally, the geographical location of the doula can also have an impact on their income. For example, doulas practicing in urban areas with high demand and a higher cost of living may charge higher rates than those practicing in rural areas with lower demand and a lower cost of living.

Overall, it is difficult to determine which type of doula makes the most money as it can vary widely depending on various factors.

Q: Do you need qualifications to be a doula?

A: A variety of organizations offer doula training programs, and the requirements for these programs can vary. For example, some doula training programs require a certain number of hours of training, while others may require a certain number of births attended.

Additionally, some organizations offer certifications that require doulas to complete continuing education or recertification requirements.

While there is no legal requirement for doulas to have formal qualifications, many clients may prefer to work with doulas who have completed training programs or certifications. These credentials can reassure clients that the doula has particular knowledge and expertise in the field.


Becoming a doula can be a fulfilling and rewarding career path for those passionate about supporting women during childbirth and beyond.

This ultimate guide has provided you with the information and resources you need to begin your journey as a doula.

Whether you pursue formal training or seek out informal opportunities to gain experience, there are many paths to becoming a successful doula.

Remember to keep learning and growing as a doula to provide your clients with the best support and care. Now that you know everything you need to know about how to become a doula yourself, it’s time to take the first step and start your journey!

What steps are you taking to begin your journey as a doula? Are you planning on pursuing formal training or seeking informal opportunities to gain experience? Let me know in the comments below!

Since 2022, Bloom Birth Studio has provided business templates & marketing tools for ambitious Doulas and Birth professionals. Work With Bloom Birth Studio or Shop Bloom Birth Studio’s Pre-made Templates – and come away with an elevated brand for your small business!

You may also like: 

Similar Posts