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SCOPE OF PRACTICE

  1. Services Rendered: A doula accompanies a birthing person in labor (referred to as client), provides emotional and physical support, suggests comfort measures, and provides support and suggestions for the partner. While providing comfort measures and support, a doula is always mindful of respecting medically necessary restrictions as prescribed by the client’s medical care provider.  Whenever possible, the doula provides pre- and post-partum emotional support, including explanation and discussion of practices and procedures, and assists her client in acquiring the knowledge necessary to make their own informed decisions about their care. Doulas are not medical care providers and, as such, any information or advice given by them should be viewed in that light. Clients should always check with their medical care provider regarding matters of their health and safety and that of their child before pursuing any course of action.

  2. Limits to Practice: 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. Those doulas with additional medical training (i.e., nurses, midwives, etc.) accompanying a person in labor who choose to work outside of the scope of practice for doulas must identify themselves by a title other than doula.

  3. Advocacy: A doula supports his/her client in advocating for their own choices by encouraging them to request more information from their medical care provider regarding the risks, benefits and alternatives to proposed procedures or protocols if they so choose and to express their preferences and concerns. The doula helps the family incorporate changes in plans if the need arises, and works to enhance the communication between client and medical care provider. Clients and doulas must recognize that the advocacy role does not include the doula speaking in place of the client or making decisions for the client.

  4. Professional Conduct: A doula working under this Scope of Practice agrees to the following:

    • To demonstrate integrity and ethical standards in their professional conduct.

    • Respond to clients and potential clients within the courteous and professional timeframe of 48 hours. If the doula is unavailable for some period of time due to vacation or leave from doula work, they are to communicate that to those that contact them as well so as to avoid the feeling of non-responsiveness from the doula community.

    • Not to divulge confidential information received in a professional capacity from their clients. This includes all cases discussed in peer review meetings.

    • To make every effort to honor agreements and contracts for professional services and provide backup doula care should they be unable to meet those commitments.

    • To treat all colleagues in an ethical, professional, and respectful manner at all times.

    • To strive to promote ethical conduct within the profession.

    • To help to foster self-determination in their clients and to make every effort to encourage their clients to assume responsibility for their choices.