Doula Specialization | What to Expect?

Published: Jun 23, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Doula giving massage to pregnant woman

© Image by Depositphotos

When viewed from out a more general perspective, Doulas, no matter what type of Doula, have quite a similar job description. They offer trauma-informed non-judgmental and culturally or socially congruent informational, educational, physical, logistical, practical, advocacy, and emotional support to their clients, typically in an in-person setting.

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Nevertheless, each type of Doula has their own specialization, not only within the realm of the reproductive cycle (such as an Adoption Doula, Postpartum Doula, Massage Doula, or Disability Doula, etc.), but sometimes also a specialization that’s entirely out of the birthing context, the latter being the case with Geriatric Doulas, Hospice Doulas, or Transgender Transition Doulas, for instance.

Having a specialization means that the Doula in question needs to be highly knowledgeable of and skilled in their chosen domain. For instance, it means that an Adoption Doula needs to know everything there’s to know about the legal sides of the adoption process in their country or state, a Sibling Doula should be trained as a child care specialist, and an Ayurvedic Doula, of course, needs to be a trained Ayurvedic practitioner.

Another noteworthy example is that of Community-Based Doulas. First of all, they need to be well-informed about and preferably have a lived experience of the communities they serve. In addition, they’ll need the skills of a social worker to not only work effectively and efficiently with particular issues in a given community, but also to help clients navigate the intricacies of mainstream society they need to deal with.

However, we must also acknowledge that we live in times in which everything apparently needs to be highly specialized, not only Doula work, but almost every domain of our lives. This has its advantages because you can engage with people who are extremely knowledgeable and skilled within a certain field, but on the other hand it also poses the risk of a more narrow-minded view and approach of things.

Especially for Doulas the latter may pose a threat for the quality of their work, because Doula work, by default, is based on a holistic approach of healthcare and support, meaning that the whole person and their situation should be taken into account, and not only the specific issue at hand for which the Doula’s help has been asked for.

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