Postpartum Doula Training: Beyond Training 101Feb 23, 2022
Once you choose a postpartum doula training and take the course, and do the certification requirements (or not), it’s time to get started and put yourself out into the community.
Many postpartum doulas take additional training to add-on services to their menu.
I’m not talking about the typical services that are part of the job of the postpartum doula, but training that goes beyond your initial training. There are many other trainings and certifications that complement postpartum doula services. Let’s take a look at the ones that come to my mind. I’m sure there are many more.
Reiki- This is something I discovered much later in my career, and am now sharing this amazing ancient practice with doulas and others interested in self-healing. Reiki is a non-invasive modality that compliments other treatments. It can help reduce pain, reduce symptoms of anxiety, and help with sleep and digestion.
Massage- Many massage therapists become birth doulas, and vice-versa. During pregnancy, labor and the fourth trimester, many mothers love to be massaged and touched. Doulas do a lot of touch anyway. If you provide massages separately during pregnancy, or beyond, this would be an additional service to charge for.
Nutritional counseling - A lot of postpartum doulas provide meals during their time with a new family. Nutritional counseling is a whole other level. There are courses you can take to learn about the foods that replenish mothers in the postpartum period. You can become a certified nutritionist. If you already are one, you can offer counseling.
Belly-binding - This is an ancient practice of binding the abdomen to help repair that area, and to keep the abdominal muscles from separating. There’s a bit of a learning curve here. There are many teaching this practice and providing certification for it.
Placenta encapsulation - The dehydrating of the placenta and creating capsules and smoothies has become super popular in recent years. You’ll find a lot of the birth doulas providing this extra service. There has been some controversy as to whether some Moms experience diminished milk supply. Overall, I have heard great things about this practice of Moms replenishing hormones and nutrients this way.
Grief and loss - Some postpartum doula trainings cover what to do and say when there is a loss, and grieving parents. There are separate, more comprehensive trainings that many doulas take so they can be informed about handling this situation. I always encourage learning about the local resources available.
Breastfeeding - In a postpartum doula training course, you will learn about the basics of breastfeeding, and counseling a breastfeeding mother. There are lots of options for more extensive training. You can become board certified (IBCLC), which takes quite a number of clinical hours and classes. Or you can become a certified counselor (CLC), and there are other credentialed courses.
I always recommend that you follow your passion and choose what you want to know more about. That could become your postpartum doula niche or specialty area.
Lifelong learning is the name of the game. Simply taking a postpartum doula training and stopping there will not support you.
As you move forward in your doula career and your doula business, you’ll know what resonates with you and you’ll have a sense of the clients you are serving and what the needs are in your community.
Download my Essence of Being a Postpartum Doula for more insight.
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