About the Types of Doulas
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The term Doula most commonly refers to a Birth Doula (or Labor Doula), one who accompanies a mother and her partner throughout labor and birth. However there are ever increasing types of doulas, including Postpartum Doulas, Loss Doulas, even Death Doulas and Full-Spectrum Doulas. Within these types of doulas, there are numerous optional titles. So to explain a few . . .
Birth or Labor Doula:
A woman (usually) who accompanies a birthing woman and her partner through the labor and birth process.
Could be a friend or family member who offers to support a woman through her birth process. She may or may not be professionally trained and/or certified.
A doula who provides her services as a profession. They usually market their services to clients whom she does not previously know, and she may or may not be certified.
Doula certifications come in several types, but certification shows that she has met and adheres to professional standards, education and training regulated by the organization which issued the certification (see About Doula Certification).
Typically a doula pursuing Professional or Certified status. Many certifying organizations require students have attended a few births before they issue a certification, so many student doulas are searching for clients to meet these requirements before obtaining their certification.
A Postpartum Doula may or may not be professionally trained and certified, but their typical role is to provide support to new mothers by helping them heal and recover from birth, providing information about feeding and caring for baby, light housework or meal preparation, and really anything else that can help the new mother adjust to parenthood. Postpartum Doulas differ from a baby nurse or nanny in that they strive to support the mother so she can care for the baby, rather than care for the baby themselves.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Doula:
A Loss Doula typically assists a family during and after a miscarriage or stillbirth. As you can imagine, this is a tragedy than nobody is fully prepared for so it can be invaluable to have assistance in all aspects of dealing with loss. Many Loss Doulas provide services for free or a sliding scale. Read more about our loss doula here.