At New Beginnings we are often asked what exactly a doula can and can’t do, and what their limits to practice are when they hold other professional licenses and certification. This is a common question among doulas and the organizations that they have certified through. What makes it even more confusing, is that different organizations may have different definitions for what a doula’s scope of practice is.
To try and make this easier for my students to understand as well as any institutions, businesses, or clients that may use my students or certified doulas, this post and links given may help provide a foundation from which to understand what the scope and standards are for a New Beginnings Doula.
The main foundation of the Scope and Standards of New Beginnings Doulas is found in the document Scope and Standards of New Beginnings Doulas. Other foundational documents would include New Beginngings Code of Ethics and the scope and standards of other certifications or licenses the doula may hold. It is important to note that this applies to New Beginnings Doulas only, as other certifying agencies may have scope and standards that are different.
Currently there are no governing bodies that regulate doula practice. There are a few states within the United States that have doula registries for reimbursement issues, but these are not required to be a doula and are not widely used. New Beginnings does not take a stance on whether or not regulation should be required, but in the event that regulations are passed, we will make every effort to make sure our certification complies with those regulations. A New Beginnings Doula should also make the same efforts.
Institutions may also have their own policies regarding what they feel comfortable with a doula doing. These should be adhered to if working for or practicing with a privately owned institution.
Concern for liability may also determine the scope a doula may practice in. All of these considerations mentioned should inform a doula in what is then determined to be their scope of practice.
It is also recommended that you keep a file of any and all certifications or licenses that may define your scope of practice, as well as copies of the files provided on this page.