Unleash Your Inner Doula – Your Ultimate Guide to Birthing the Next Generation

Picture of Bere Horthy

Bere Horthy

Doula & Registered Nurse

For those of you looking into how to become a doula, there’s one thing I can tell you – It’s an incredibly rewarding role that can make a huge difference in the lives of families during one of the most important times in their lives.

However, there are a few things you need to do before you can start.

What are the different types of doulas?

Being a doula can be the most rewarding job in the world: you get to help expecting parents, offer comfort and support during birth, help navigate the challenges of parenthood, and even provide a loving ear when someone is at life’s end.

If you’re looking into how to become a doula, you’re likely wondering, “What type of doula should I become?”.

To help you decide, here’s a list of some of the types of doulas you can become:

  • Birth and labour doulas provide holistic support during the process of giving birth. They are tremendous assets to the birth partner, giving them tips and advice throughout labour. Moreover, birth and labour doulas can offer additional comfort by providing snacks, emotional backing and much-needed rest periods for the birthing partner.
  • Postpartum doulas provide help and guidance to new families when it comes to breastfeeding, baby care, nutrition, sleep strategies, sibling relationships and more.
  • Virtual doulas provide support and guidance to expectant mothers and their families online via video conferencing, phone calls, text messaging, or email. They offer a wide range of services, including prenatal education, emotional support during labour, advice on pain management techniques, postpartum care, and help with breastfeeding and newborn care.
  • Bereavement doulas are for families who have lost an infant during pregnancy or infancy — offering non-judgmental emotional support throughout this difficult time.
  • End-of-life doulas provide compassionate companionship during the transition from life to death.

This is just the tip of the iceberg; doulas come in a variety of shapes and forms.

So take some time to research.

I’m sure you’ll discover an abundance of types of doulas out there!

A labouring woman being held by her doula. Her head is being supported by the doula's hand.
Source: Anderson Ross Photography

What do doulas do?

A pregancy doula’s role is primarily during the prenatal period, offering education and support before your baby’s birth.

Some prenancy doulas also offer online yoga classes to prepare for labour and birth. These are great to help you and your partner bond and also show you some good yoga breathing techniques for labour.

Rather than providing assistance in labour or delivery, they focus on supporting you throughout pregnancy.

With higher-risk pregnancies, a doula can prove to be of great assistance. In such cases, physical limitations often arise – like bed rest – and, consequently, emotional stress as well.

An pregnancy doula’s speciality is in providing knowledgeable and compassionate support, helping families cope throughout the pregnancy journey with minimal anxiety going into the birth.

As a birth doula, you get to experience the beautiful journey of childbirth with couples.

However, it comes with its own set of challenges since you will be on call 24/7 and often have to work for long hours in order to stay by the birthing parent’s side throughout labour.

Despite being an exhausting role, working as a birth doula is incredibly rewarding because there are few experiences more fulfilling than helping someone bring another life into this world!

A postpartum doula provides the mother and family with support during the first 6 – 7 weeks after childbirth.

From helping during late-night feeds to tidying up around the house or cooking meals – postpartum doulas are available to lighten the parents’ load so they can focus on bonding with their new baby.

What type of doula training is required?

The journey that you need to take to become a doula depends on where you live.

Some states and countries, surprisingly, don’t require any training or certification.

However, it is still highly recommended, as it can lead to a better understanding of the actual job and the duties that come with it as well as more clients.

Training to become a certified doula also helps ensure safe, quality care for both mother and baby. 

There is a wide variety of certifications available for you to explore, giving you the opportunity to expand your skills and knowledge.

From hypnobirthing, massage and acupressure courses to doula-specific training, each offers its own benefits. 

To determine which training route is the best fit for you, you should first consider which specialisations you are aiming to acquire.

Birthing demonstration in doula class. Student doula laying on her side on the floor with a pillow between her legs, while the teacher and another student demonstrate how the baby passes through the pelvis and rotates.
Source: Heart and Soul Birth Pros

How to find a doula course that is right for you?

So you’re ready to take the plunge and train to be a doula – How exciting!

You will undoubtedly have many options to choose from when selecting your perfect training program. 

When selecting a training program, it’s important to keep in mind that some courses are offered face-to-face, while others are primarily taught through online modules. 

Depending on where you are located, some great options include:

  • DONA International – an American Doula school that offers online, face-to-face and hybrid (a bit of both) courses.
  • Conscious Birthing – A UK-based doula course. They offer a range of courses so you can choose how, what, and where you would like to study.
  • Australian Doula College – An Australian-based doula college that offers an extensive all-inclusive dive into what it is to be a doula from prenatal right through to post-natal. This course is also offered face-to-face or online.

Most programs will have a practical requirement where you are expected to find 2-5 women to follow from pregnancy into the postnatal period.

With so many options available, you are sure to find the perfect course for your needs.

From prenatal and birth courses to postnatal sessions, end-of-life doula training, hypnobirthing classes, massage workshops or acupressure sessions – the possibilities are endless.

How to start advertising your doula services?

When you’ve finished your doula studies and are ready to take the next step in your career, there’s no better way to get the word out than through personalised advertising. 

To promote your doula services, spreading the word through both digital and physical means is essential. 

Making use of Facebook pages, distributing fliers in local cafes and birth classes, as well as utilising personal networks are all fantastic ways to get more clients.

Furthermore, having a website that offers potential customers an opportunity to learn about you will serve as great complements when meeting with them face-to-face. 

With these tips at hand and a personal touch, your calendar is sure to be full within no time.

So there you have it, everything you need to know about how to become a doula

Good luck on your journey to becoming a professional baby cuddler. 

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not this is the right career for you, I encourage you to reach out to other doulas in your area and get their input.

The best way to learn more about something is by talking to people who are already doing it. 

If you need more information or have questions that weren’t answered in this article, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Becoming a doula is an amazing way to help families during one of the most important times in their lives.

I would be honoured to help support you in becoming a part of this incredible profession.

Bere Horthy

As a doula and nurse, Bere's mission is to empower and educate women, families, and fellow doulas to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey.


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