The When and How of Using Back Up Support for Birth Doulas

When you are first starting out as a new doula finding someone to back you up can feel like a hefty task.  And in the beginning the back ups you arrange are usually doulas that are available that you may not know very well.  Still it is important to have back up at all times when working as a doula for any unforeseen situations that you would be unavailable to a client.

Build time into your work schedule to meet and work on relationships in the doula community so that you will solidify a solid back up (or two).  Keep in mind that the back up that you have should be of equal experience as you and be available during times that you may not be.  Someone with similar energy and working style is also the best fit for the client that has chosen to work with you.

Figure out compensation and guidelines ahead of time. It is of utmost importance to talk with your back up before actually calling on them so that afterwards there are no surprises.

Some things to consider:

· Will this back up be meeting with your client ahead of time at a prenatal meeting?  If not, what info will your client be privy to about your back up support?

· Will you arrange a flat fee for your back up doula or a percentage that is worked out on actual time you spent before the birth with the client vs. time one of you spent at the birth?  What about any potential time that you were both there?

·What about the postpartum visit?  Will both of you attend?  What would compensation look like here?

These are just a few of the scenarios we discuss in our birth doula trainings.  How have you handled them in the past?