Doula Group Practice - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 03-12-2008, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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A close friend of mine had her first experience as a doula in training yesterday and I took her two kid s(4 and 2) for the day, in addition to my 1 yr old. I had for a little while this last year considered becoming a doula myself, but then decided its not a good time for me to do that, but it still may be something I want to do.

That's what leads to me these questions:

Have any of you heard of doula group practices where two doulas share the "on call" and prenatal and postpartum support?

I'm thinking because my friend and I both have young children that we could be doulas together, where we could coordinate births and meetings with pregnant moms and then switch off on taking care of our own children. And in the cases of exceptionally long labors, we could take over for each other to make sure we are not away from our children for as long as some labors and births.

I'd love to hear thoughts from the ladies here!

M.Ed. Mama to Chunka (1/07), Beauty (5/09) and Elizabear 3/12): Birth Doula (working toward certification) AAMI Midwifery Student, Advocating with Solace for Mothers & The Birth Survey

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#2 of 11 Old 03-12-2008, 06:34 PM
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Waiting to see if anyone else answers but yes I have heard of this. Another doula and I have just begun on this journey together and are eachothers back-ups. Back-ups are a norm but if a client picks you,they will want you at the birth unless you and your friend both get to know her really well and she thinks it is ok. Women aren't guaranteed docs or nurse-midwives if they go the hospital route so some continuity is necessary for moms to feel safe enough to labor don't you think?
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#3 of 11 Old 03-12-2008, 07:11 PM
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Yes, I have heard of this, but it's usually two more experienced doulas. The trouble is that if you practice like this, mamas want to meet both of you, so you both need to attend the prenatals. Then, only one of you attends the birth, so you have to figure out how you are splitting the money. It seems that to make any money this way, you have to charge more and take on more clients since you're not going to get paid for every client you take, if that makes any sense.

But as I gain more experience I would really love to have someone I trusted to practice this way, because being on call 24.7 with little kids does truly suck.

mama to 3 girls: Abigail 2.12.05, Eliana 8.26.06, Willa 1.9.09
RN-BSN 5/11, CBE, former doula
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#4 of 11 Old 03-12-2008, 07:12 PM
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Two other girls and I are doing this. Except we'll through the interviewing process, and the preference of the moms, assign one of us to them so they can build a relationship with that person, and have one of us as back up and the other as a possible baby sitter So far so good, we have about 6 moms lined up from now till august, split between the 3 of us, by different personality types and needs. I've considered going on my own, but with small children, its nice to have a team behind you and supporting you. We'll see how it goes, but so far so good. The only advice I can give is to keep communication open between yourself and your partner. So business runs smoothly. We also, before we started taking on moms, sat down and came out with a business plan. So even though our services will be free for awhile, when the time comes, we'll be prepared and know how we will do things! We've agreed to a specific amount that will come right off the top of the fees we collect, that will go back into the business, the rest to the Doula that does the birth, we're still working out how we will handle the aspect up and babysitting aspect of it.

mom to Reaghan born underwater into midwife's hands 1/17/07 & Myra born surrounded by doulas and midwife at home 1/12/09. Birth Educator, and Photographer, Baby #3 Coming May 2013!

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#5 of 11 Old 03-12-2008, 10:00 PM
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This is what my friend and I have been doing with some of our clients, and we may end up making it a regular thing. We have a homebirth practice too though, so we just see our doula clients on the same day we do prenatals. That way we are both already there. These clients that have done that, know that they could get either one of us for the birth and have been fine with that. It's working out really well.

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#6 of 11 Old 03-12-2008, 11:31 PM
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I have two doula partners, and I split call time with one other doula for every birth. We assign based on our schedules and the right "match" for the mom/couple.

We both attend prenatal meetings, and the mamas know that one or both of us will be at their birth. Sometimes they start out feeling like they'd really only want me (I'm also a CBE and about 1/2 my students ask me to doula for them), but then they meet one of my partners and they feel much more at ease. It's just as far as I'm willing to go right now, in terms of balancing doula work with my family life.

I have found that it's been really important for me to choose partners who have a really similar personality and style to my own. This is really important for the comfort level of the moms.

So far, no problems with this model! We require a deposit, which is split 50/50 to cover prenatals. Out of the remainder of the fee, which is paid at 38w, a portion goes to administration/marketing for the business, and the rest to the doula who does the birth.
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#7 of 11 Old 03-13-2008, 03:14 PM
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Two doulas I know of used to do this before one went back to school. When contacted by a mom, they both went to the initial interview. If hired, it was a toss-up who would do the prenatal (whoever was free when mom was), then they simply switched back and forth taking turns with each birth, so moms that hired them did so knowing it would be whichever one hadn't just done a birth, if that makes sense. The only exception was repeat clients from when they were in solo practice; in that case, the same doula would go that attended the first birth. Postpartum visit would be done by the doula who attended the birth. Deposits were split, and the attending doula received the remaining fee for the births, but it essentially worked out fairly evenly since they were alternating every other mom.
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#8 of 11 Old 03-13-2008, 06:00 PM
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This is a helpful thread for me right now, I've been approached by a friend who just completed her training and I'm really unsure about what to do...I think I may go on my own in the business aspects but use her as backup.
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#9 of 11 Old 03-14-2008, 05:14 PM
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Yes...I am a student doula for one of these groups...
here's our site...

there are a handful of doulas a couple of midwives. we offer childbirth classes and another one of our ladies does hypnobirthing classes.

it works so wonderfully. for every client the main doula has a backup doula that will meet with the client too, once or twice before she's due...just in case something happens that prevents the main one being there.

we have a house that we can meet with clients at and an area to do prenatal massages. they also use the house for women to labor in if their house isn't conducive to that...or they want to be closer in to the hospital they are delivering.

once a month we meet to focus on a topic of 'professional development' you could call it and go over birth stories. it really helps to vocalize with other doulas issues that happened and brainstorm ways that we could do better or just support and say 'you did great!'

its such an amazing group of women!
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#10 of 11 Old 03-14-2008, 07:59 PM
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I have a doula partner with whom I share clients. We attend interviews together and are hired together. We each spend some prenatal time with each client that hires us. We have an on-call schedule and the client will call the on-call doula when she goes into labor. That doula stays for the duration of labor barring illness or a really long birth, in which case we would switch out.

I actually think this is a great system as long as the 2 people have a similar philosophy as doulas and can manage the business portion easily enough. Clients benefit form each of our strengths prenatally, have built-in backup that they know if there is an emergency or illness, and can have some fresh energy at a really long birth. I should add that childcare isn't really an issue for either of us but I can certainly imagine benefits in that area as well.
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#11 of 11 Old 03-15-2008, 02:04 AM
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I do this

You can check out my site which has more info on how we work:

Holistic Doula

(I hope I"m allowed to post that here...)

I think it's fabulous.
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