Scope of Practice

I. Scope

  1. A)  Services Rendered. The doula accompanies the woman in labour, provides emotional and physical support, suggests comfort measures, and provides support and suggestions for her partner. Whenever possible, the doula provides pre- and post-partum emotional support, including explanation and discussion of practices and procedures, and assistance in acquiring the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about her care. Additionally, as doulas do not “prescribe” treatment, any suggestions or information provided within the role of the doula must be done with the condition that the doula advises her client to check with her primary care provider before using any application. Doula Beginnings doulas may never knowingly support or participate in a medically unassisted home birth.
  2. B)  Limits to Practice. Doula Beginnings doulas Standards of Practice apply to emotional and physical support only. Doula Beginnings member doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, fetal heart tone checks, vaginal examinations, or postpartum clinical care. If doulas who are also health care professionals choose to provide services for a client that are outside the doula’s scope of practice, they should not describe themselves as doulas to their client or to others. In such cases they should describe themselves by a name other than “doula” and provide services according to the scopes of practice and the standards of their health care profession. On the other hand, if a health care professional chooses to limit her services to those provided by doulas, it is acceptable for her to describe herself as a doula.
  3. C)  Advocacy. The doula advocates for the client’s wishes as expressed in her birth plan, in prenatal conversations, and intrapartum discussion, by encouraging her client to ask questions of her care provider and to express her preferences and concerns. The doula helps the mother incorporate changes in plans if and when the need arises, and enhances the communication between client and care provider. Clients and doulas must recognize that the advocacy role does not include the doula speaking instead of the client or making decisions for the client. The advocacy role is best described as support, information, and mediation or negotiation.
  4. ​D)  Referrals. For client needs beyond the scope of the doula’s training, referrals are made to appropriate resources.

II. Continuity of Care​

The doula should make back-up arrangements with another doula to ensure services to the client if the doula is unable to attend the birth. Should any doula feel a need to discontinue service to an established client, it is the doula’s responsibility to notify the client and arrange for a replacement, if the client so desires. This may be accomplished by introducing the client to a back-up doula or suggesting to the client the name of another member of Doula Beginnings.

III. Training and Experience

Doula Beginning members are certified doulas that have been through a professional doula training course by a professional training organisation, verified proof of their training, and are a member in good standing. Doulas in-training need to provide proof of training through a professional doula training course.

All members provide Doula Beginnings with copies of evaluation forms from each service offered for the purpose of ongoing education needs and quality review.

Doula Beginnings doulas must hold a current Comprehensive First Aid certificate.

–Adapted from DONA International’s Standard of Practice,