Doulas are accredited professionals so it’s important to choose someone with the proper education and training. As with any profession, there is a governing body who oversees the certification and standards of practice of its members.
DONA International is the largest association and its certification is recognized worldwide. The organization boasts
a rigorous certification process, a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice that each qualified doula is expected to meet.
To become certified, a doula needs to complete 12 or more hours of in-class training, extensive reading and hours of hands-on experience in assisting births.
Ask for Referrals
Ask any potential hires where they did their training and if they are certified. They may also belong to their local or state-level doula association, which you can ask about as well. If they are, you can search their names on the association’s website and it will tell you if they are certified and are in good standing.
A little bit of due diligence can go a long way in the beginning and help narrow down your list of candidates. You want to know how experienced they are and if they their credentials match what they tell you.
Even though doulas are trained and certified, they differ greatly from a midwife. A doula’s prime concern is the care and support of the mother in the weeks leading up to birth, during labor and in the weeks that follow. She is there to make you feel as comfortable and nurtured as possible throughout the whole process.
See More Than One Doula
A midwife is a trained healthcare professional who helps deliver the baby, often without the assistance of a doctor. While they do provide care before and after giving birth, their main concern during labor is to help you have a healthy delivery. They are trained to handle routine complications as they come up, but are too busy to hold your hand while it happens.
So can you work with a doula and midwife? Yes, you absolutely can! In fact, they often make a great team. The doula provides you with emotional support while the midwife gets down to the business of delivering your baby.