Birth Doula Scope of Practice
At International Doula Institute we define a birth doula as a professional support person trained in the needs of the family during pregnancy and childbirth. The doula offers non-judgmental support, guidance, evidence-based education and practical hands-on support during childbirth including comfort measures.
The Professional Certified Birth Doula is trained in 5 Core Competencies:
- Physiology of Childbirth
- Common Interventions and Evidence Based Care
- Comfort Measures for Childbirth
- Emotional Support
- Communicating with Medical Care Providers and Clients Utilizing Emotional Intelligence
A Doula’s Scope of Practice Includes:
- Education during pregnancy
- Being On-Call
- Continuous Attendance at the Birth
- Comfort Measures During Childbirth
- Relaxation Techniques
- Touch Techniques
- Positioning education and support
- Warm and Cold (heating pad or cold pack) support
- Emotional Support during Pregnancy and Childbirth
A Birth Doula is Not:
- A birth doula is not a medical professional.
- A birth doula is not a psychologist or mental health professional.
- A birth doula does not perform clinical tasks.
- Clinical tasks that a doula would NOT perform would include checking fetal heart tones, checking a mom’s cervix, taking blood pressure, suggesting medications including over the counter, prescription or herbal medications, vitamins or offering any other medical advice.
- A birth doula will not provide abdominal massage to help turn a breech baby.
- A birth doula will not contradict the healthcare provider’s advice.
If the doula also holds a degree in medicine, therapy, RN or a similar degree, they will still have to stay within the scope of practice of a doula during their time in a family’s home when contracted as a Certified Birth Doula (CBD).
Assisting in facilitating fluid communication between birth facility staff and the birthing family – we do not speak for our clients, rather we support them in self-advocacy.