how to become a doula california
Step 1: Do Your Research
A doula is someone who provides emotional support, physical comfort methods, and an objective viewpoint to a woman who is expecting, is experiencing labor or has recently given birth. Doulas are not trained medical professionals. They do not perform clinical tasks such as taking blood pressure but instead focus on helping the woman understand what is happening to her body and talk through different options.
The doula profession has been steadily growing in popularity since the 1980s. The word doula was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006 after decades of steady use with little variation in definition.
Step 2: Get Certified or Take a Doula Training Course
There is currently no legal standard or certification requirements for doulas in California. You can start working as a doula right after becoming an L&D nurse or midwife, but if you want to be the best doula possible and to feel confident in providing the best care to your clients, we highly recommend you get trained. There are many benefits of having proper training:
- When someone has a bad experience with a doula, they usually blame it on lack of training. By getting certified, you lower this risk.
- Having more knowledge about pregnancy and childbirth will help you better support your client through her birth journey and avoid common mistakes that untrained doulas make.
- Professional certification can help expand your horizons and improve your career prospects. It serves as proof that you have extensive knowledge in this field and entitles you to a higher salary than other untrained professionals.
Since every state has its own laws regarding the practice of doulas, look for programs that are designed specifically for California residents so that they can offer information that’s relevant to how things work in the state where you’ll be practicing.
Step 3: Registration & Licensing
Prior to starting your doula career, you will need to register with the county or state you are planning to work in. While some states do not require licensure for doulas, if you plan on working in a hospital setting, it is likely that you will require a license as well. When researching becoming a California doula, it is important to note that there are specific requirements for different counties in the state. Registration and licensing requirements vary depending on whether you intend to work as an independent contractor or within a hospital system.
In order to become registered within the state of California, you must provide evidence of completing your training through DONA International or another training program approved by the state. You will also be required to submit documentation proving that your CPR certification is up-to-date. Once these forms have been submitted and approved, you will be added to the list of doulas who are eligible to practice within California.
Step 4: Getting Insurance and Malpractice Coverage
- California has a few types of insurance for doulas. Each one is great for a different reason.
- When I finished my training, I knew that I wanted to be in the insurance business; it was really clear. But doing it as a new and inexperienced doula wasn’t something I was willing to tackle by myself. After many long conversations with my doula mentor and friends, I figured out how much malpractice coverage would cost when starting a practice and what type of company would offer me the best deal.
- The key to finding this information is talking with multiple companies and being honest. If you lie or misrepresent yourself, you could end up paying more than needed or not getting any insurance at all!
Step 5: Connecting with Expecting Parents
After you have completed your certification and registered as a doula in California, the next step is to connect with expecting parents. This is the single most important element of your business. Without mothers and their partners, you cannot practice as a doula. Although talking to friends and family about your new career may lead to some referrals, this will not be enough to keep you busy full-time as a professional pregnancy support specialist. Fortunately there are many ways you can market yourself online and offline to find clients in your area:
- Create your own website.
- Get a profile on [DoulaMatch](https://doulamatch.net/).
- Make business cards.
- Post on social media pages for expecting parents or parents (e.g., Facebook groups).
- Put up fliers in local businesses with permission.
- Post ads on forums for expectant mothers (e.g., TheBump).
Step 6: Keep Up-to-Date on Latest Research, Techniques and Tools
- Keep Up-to-Date on Latest Research, Techniques and Tools: Once you have begun your doula career, it’s important to stay up-to-date on changes in the doula field. This could include researching childbirth methods, doula philosophies and techniques, reading blogs, books and magazines about the profession or networking with other doulas. Also ensure that you are kept abreast of any new laws or regulations in your local area that may require additional training.
Becoming a doula will require work and dedication, but it’s certainly worth the effort.
Becoming a doula is no easy task. It requires time, effort, and dedication. You’ll need to be able to work well with others and have an innate desire to help others. But the experience you’ll gain from your journey is priceless.