May is International Doula Month, and 2019 is the 21st year that DONA International, perinatal organizations and consumers around the globe all take time during the month of May to recognize the contributions that birth and postpartum doulas make to support families during the childbearing year.
DONA International is an outstanding doula organization, maintaining a position of the high respect and good-standing amongst health care professionals, maternal-infant health organizations and consumers for over 26 years.
DONA International Approved Trainers offer birth, postpartum and community-based doula workshops all around the world that position participants for birth work, whether the goal is working professionally, supporting friends and family or further education and training when moving on to other positions.
During International Doula Month, it is a great time to take a look at valuable information useful to folks who work or want to work professionally as a doula. In 2015 and then again in 2016, Kim James provided information retrieved from DoulaMatch.net regarding doula fees, with analysis of the fees charged by non-certified and certified doulas and DONA International certified doulas and other organizations’ certified doulas. Today, Kim provides a look at current 2019 data. Once again, it is clear that certified doulas are consistently able to charge more for their services, and DONA International certified doulas receive the highest fee and the most referrals from the DoulaMatch site.
If you have considered becoming a birth or postpartum doula, International Doula Month is the perfect time to take that next step. Learn more about DONA International, find a workshop or explore DONA membership and certification. Soon your own efforts can be put to work supporting families in your communities. – Sharon Muza, DONA Doula Chronicles Blog Manager
There are currently 9,710 active doulas on DoulaMatch.net. DONA International certified doulas command a 24% higher fee than non-certified doulas and a 3% higher fee than doulas certified through other organizations. DONA International certified doulas receive nearly 200% more referrals than non-certified doulas and 54% more than doulas certified through other organizations.
By years of experience:
Doulas with 0-3 years of experience
DONA Certified doulas fee: 30% higher than non-certified doulas and 6% higher than other certified doulas.
DONA certified doulas referrals: 200% higher than non-certified doulas and 50% higher than other certified doulas.
Doulas with 4-6 years of experience
DONA certified doulas referrals: 152% higher than non-certified doulas and 68% higher than other certified doulas.DONA Certified doulas fee: 11% higher than non-certified doulas and 2% higher than other certified doulas.
Doulas with 7+ years of experience
DONA Certified doulas fee: 4% higher than non-certified doulas and -1% less than other certified doulas.
DONA certified doulas referrals: 130% higher than non-certified doulas and 19% higher than other certified doulas.
Certification with DONA International matters
At all levels of experience, certified doulas, and DONA International certified doulas in particular, earn higher fees and attract more clients.
For new doulas, achieving a meaningful certification means you are more attractive to potential clients, especially when you’re just starting out. When you don’t have a lot of births under your belt, having a recognized certification demonstrates to potential clients that you are an effective doula. You’ve achieved a major professional milestone that gives you an edge over doulas with the same amount of experience who are not certified or are certified through lesser-known organizations.
For established doulas, experience is the great equalizer and decreases the fee and referral gaps. However, achieving and maintaining certification demonstrates your professional commitments and validates your higher fee, even when your practice is established and thriving.
Families who use a database to reach out to doulas are probably looking for mid-priced doulas with moderate experience. When faced with a lot of choices, whether or not a doula is certified through a recognized, reputable certification organization seems to matter.
There are over 70 doula certification organizations represented on DoulaMatch.net. The organizations above represent the most popular organizations by referral from February 17 – March 17, 2019.
This post is an update to both the original July 2015 blog post and the July 2016 update.
About Kim James
Kim James, ICCE, LCCE, BDT/CD(DONA) has run a successful birth doula business for 19 years in Seattle, Washington. Kim’s roles in the birth community include: DONA-approved birth doula trainer at the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations and an ICEA and Lamaze International certified childbirth and parent educator at Parent Trust for Washington Children. Kim is also the owner and operator of DoulaMatch.net.