Congratulations! As you prepare for birth and the postpartum period, you may be considering having a Postpartum Doula. A Postpartum Doula assists the mother during the transition after birth, serving as a “mother’s helper”. A Postpartum Doula is educated in helping the family’s needs as they change on a day-to-day basis.
Want to become a Postpartum Doula? Learn more about Birthingway’s program!
What does a Postpartum Doula do?
Postpartum doulas nurture the mother, and provide experience and education on maternal/infant care. Postpartum Doulas help navigate the family’s needs and guide new parents on how to make informed choices about newborn care and family well-being. Above all, Postpartum Doulas are there to serve non-judgmentally and to help the mother find her own parenting ability in a positive, nurturing environment.
A postpartum doula is not trained to provide health care for the mother or baby, and will not take vitals, diagnose medical conditions, take assessments, or give any opinions or information regarding medications for mother or baby. In addition, they do not do heavy cleaning and do not transport members of families in a vehicle.
A postpartum doula can clarify the Postpartum Doula scope of practice during the interview process.
Working with a Birthingway Postpartum Doula Student
A student Postpartum Doula has completed the classroom portion of their training, and now must complete the required practicum. Our student Postpartum Doulas work on a volunteer basis while they complete their training. Birthingway reserves our student doulas for low-income families. In order to qualify for our student doula services, we ask that families fall under the 150% federal poverty guidelines.
Working with a Birthingway Certified Postpartum Doula
Graduates of the Birthingway Postpartum Doula Program may be certified for up to two years, after which point they are required to provide additional postpartum care documentation and continuing education to re-certify.
Birthingway Postpartum Doula Training Overview
Birthingway’s postpartum doula training is an intensive workshop, plus independently completed homework. Through hands-on exercises, lecture, and class discussions/scenarios, our student Postpartum Doulas cover a broad variety of material designed to prepare them to support the mother and her partner after the birth of their child, including the Biodynamic model of the postpartum period.
In addition, students will learn the scope of practice for a postpartum doula, the hormones of the postpartum period and their effects, and the dynamic of maternal/infant health (i.e. baby care, birth recovery, nutrition, etc.). The training also covers breastfeeding and trouble-shooting, baby carriers, and different cultural and parental styles within a community.
Questions to ask a Postpartum Doula
We suggest asking the following questions during your interview with a prospective Postpartum Doula:
- What type of training and/or education do you have?
- Is your CPR certification current? TB negative?
- What experience do you have as a postpartum doula?
- Do you have specific philosophies around parenting?
- What services do you offer? Are there any limitations to your services?
- When do your services begin?
- What is your experience with breastfeeding?
- What are your fees? Do you have a back-up? What is your refund policy?
Please use the form to the right if you have a question about Birthingway doulas, want to comment on a particular doula, or would like more information. Please note that we do not have student postpartum doulas available outside of the greater Portland/Vancouver area.