6 reasons you shouldn’t hesitate to hire a doula-in-training

Doula’s are an invaluable addition to any birth team. They provide physical and emotional support for women during labor. They also provide prenatal education, information and resources, and postpartum support. Doula’s come in all shapes and sizes along with different levels of experience and expertise.

There are different certifying agencies, the two main ones being ICEA and DONA. They require workshops, reading lists, childbirth class audits, and attendance of several births to become certified. Most doulas-in-training have completed the course work but need to attend a few births before they can complete their certifications. While there is no substitute for experience, there are some pros to hiring a doula-in-training or novice doula.

1. Cost – Doula fees can vary significantly, but a great way to have a doula at a cheaper or discounted rate is to look for a doula in training or novice doula. The idea of doulas-in-training providing free births until they are certified is an outdated notion. I am a firm believer that doulas should be reimbursed for their services. One, because they sacrifice time and energy to help you have a better birth experience and they deserve to be reimbursed for that. There are also costs involved with their trainings, professional memberships, travel, child-care during your labor, among other things. And two, because you value services more that you pay for.

Often, novice doulas charge a little less than more experienced doulas and this can be a great way to make a doula more affordable while still enjoying the benefits they offer.

2. Enthusiasm – If your willing to sit through several days of classes, read a dozen books on pregnancy, labor, and doula practices, and complete the other requirements to become a doula, you must love what you do! Most doulas are very passionate about birth and have taken their time to find this career path. This abundant energy and enthusiasm can help bridge the gap in experience.

3. Fresh training – Most doulas-in-training have just gone through a certified training program. Having the training fresh helps to recall new information and techniques that have been proven to work. This can be a good time to try a lot of different things to see what works for you, and for your doula to see what works for her. This is a fun time of learning and experimenting for both of you.

4. Eager to learn – You may have a lot of questions, especially if this is your first pregnancy. A novice doula is just as excited to learn new techniques and information as you are. Take advantage of her new found love of all things babies and ask away! She can help you find up-to-date research and valuable resources.

5. Lack of preconceived notions – The sky is the limit! With no ideas on how things “need to” or “should be” done, a new doula can focus on and learn from you. You can help shape her career and become a special part of her training.

6. They can be there – The main purpose of a doula is to be there. Just be there for you with whatever you need. Whether that’s information, physical comfort, emotional support, crowd control, or encouraging a spouse, a doula’s job is to make your birth a relaxing, positive, empowering experience. While a novice doula may not have the tips and tricks that seasoned doulas might, they can be there to support you and can still be a huge benefit to your birth experience.

A doula loves what she does. She loves and appreciates the miracle of birth. The most important thing when choosing a doula is that you are comfortable with her and you feel she can provide the services you desire. Every birth is different and it’s difficult to plan for every scenario, but having a doula on your birth team, whether she’s novice or experienced, can help make your birth experience a better one!

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