Business Overview

Doulas are professionally trained to assist expectant mothers throughout their pregnancy. They educate women on pregnancy, labor, and new motherhood, as well as provide emotional and physical support. A doula’s role is to assist a woman through the birthing process, ensuring a healthy and liberating experience.

Who is this business right for?

Since the primary role of a doula is to focus on the physical and emotional needs of a birthing mother, a female would do best in this position. Most women who enter this field are drawn to it because of their passion for supporting other women in their community. They are advocates for women’s rights, particularly in the delivery room, where expectant mothers are often pushed into making choices that do not follow their original birthing plan. 

What happens during a typical day at a doula service?

Unless you take on a large number of clients, most days will not be spent in the labor and delivery room. Until your expectant mother is officially in labor, she will need you periodically for support and guidance. For several months leading up to childbirth, you’ll meet with her, by phone or in person, to answer any questions she might have and assist her in outlining her birthing plan. While a doula does not practice medicine, she is knowledgeable about the various medicines and issues that could arise during labor and delivery.

Since most deliveries are not scheduled, doulas are on-call 24/7 once her client reaches the third trimester. Once labor starts, she’s there to offer whatever support the mother needs, helping with breathing and relaxation techniques, supporting the mother in various laboring positions, and providing massage therapy. They help with partner involvement and advocate for the mother when things don’t go as planned. When the baby arrives, the doula is there to help the new mother breastfeed and bond with her newborn.

Some doulas, antepartum doulas, specialize in high-risk pregnancies, providing support and education throughout the pregnancy. Postpartum doulas specialize in afterbirth. They educate the new mother and assist them in household duties as their client adjusts to this new life.

As the owner of a doula service, your free time away from clients will be spent on administrative work and your marketing strategy.

What is the target market?

Your customer base will be built on expectant mothers who have a specific path they wish for childbirth to go. Every woman understands that things do not always go as planned and that a cesarean or medication might be necessary. However, women often feel forced into making decisions that go against their birthing plan, simply because they were too scared or did not have enough information. This is where you step in as their advocate and support system.

Mothers who are expecting their first child are also an ideal doula client. Just the very idea of childbirth is terrifying to many pregnant mothers, particularly those that have never been through it before. Your knowledge and support is what will get them through this unsettling, yet life-changing event.

Consider what types of clients you are most drawn to and assess how much of the competition specializes in that area. A few demographics to consider are:

  • Intrauterine insemination/in vitro fertilization
  • Previous birth trauma
  • High risk pregnancy
  • Vaginal birth after cesarean
  • First baby
  • Home birth

How does a doula service make money?

Your business would charge a fee for doula services, typically a flat rate, that includes any expenses incurred, and for the time spent throughout the pregnancy and delivery.

What is the growth potential for a doula service?

Your doula business’ growth opportunities are directly tied to demand in your region, saturation of the market, and affordability of your fees. More and more expectant families are realizing the value behind having a doula’s support, making it one of the fastest growing industries. Many doulas have found that partnering with midwives with the same value system contributes to long-term success.