What does it mean that Abby is a certified labor doula?

After twenty-five months of thinking, reading, studying, and wondering, I’ve completed my labor doula certification! The certificate came in the mail Saturday, and I am very proud to share it with you.

You might be thinking, But, Abby, you’ve been calling yourself a doula for years…

Yes, because I’ve been a doula for years! My training and the work I’ve done with clients gave me what I needed to rightfully call myself a doula. My certification is me “leveling up” on doula work. It means that an internationally recognized company stands behind the work I do and vouches for me.

If you were already a doula, why get certified?

I’ve been working on my certification for a while for a few reasons.
First, my certification badge helps me explain to others – prospective clients, other birth workers, etc. – what I am, what I do, and whom I am affiliated with. In particular, there is a scope of practice that others know I uphold because of my certification status.
Second, as Medicaid and other programs move toward covering doulas as part of childbirth expenses, my certification will make me an eligible service provider for the earliest of these programs to be implemented. It is important to me to make the process of hiring a doula as a health expense as easy as possible for my clients.
Third, earning my certification is a concrete way to show those around me that I am committed to my work and that reputable organizations recognize my commitment.
And fourth, one more recent benefit of certification is that my certification helps me gain entrance into hospitals and birth centers.

You need a certification as a doula to get into hospitals and birth centers?

With covid-19, yes, this has been a restriction in some areas for doulas. Now it is one that my clients won’t have to worry about.

Got it. So, what goes into leveling up as a doula?

A lot of studying and training, culminating in an exam. Doulas aren’t medical professionals, but we have to know a lot about the medical world in order to support our clients in it (and in case our clients want our knowledge to help navigate it). When you hire a certified labor doula, you know their knowledge about labor, birth, and beyond has been tested by a professionalized body and found to be high caliber.
Also, I had to re-earn my first aid and CPR certification, for both adult and infant care.  Again, doulas aren’t medical professionals, but we might occasionally find ourselves in situations where knowing how to respond to an emergency is handy. So the certifying body I chose has prioritized that by requiring all its doulas to earn first aid and CPR certification before earning labor doula certification.

So, where do you go from here?

Just because I am celebrating my achievement of earning certification doesn’t mean that I’m done learning! I’ll be as active as ever in educating myself, bettering myself to be the best sociologist doula I can be.

– Abby Jorgensen, M.A.(Sociology), CD-L(Certified Doula – Labor) 

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