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The Pregnant Doula: Supporting Other Families During Your Own Pregnancy

Picture of Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH, AdvCD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE

Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH, AdvCD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE

If you’re a doula who’s expecting, you’ve got a unique experience ahead of you. It’s not every day that one can balance the joy of personal pregnancy with the duty of supporting others in their birthing journeys. But don’t worry; you’ve got this! We’re here to provide some strategies to help you along the way.

 Prioritizing Self-Care:

  • You’re going through a lot, just like the families you support. Putting your well-being first isn’t selfish—it’s necessary. 
  • Strive for a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, and make time for relaxation and reflection. 
  • Pack more snacks and stay well hydrated. More than one doula recommended that staying hydrated really helped.


 Embracing Your Emotions:

  • Accept that it’s natural to experience a whirlwind of emotions. You’re human, after all.
  • Keeping a journal of your journey can be therapeutic. It helps separate your experiences from those of your clients.
  • Don’t hesitate to seek out a supportive network or professional help if emotions become overwhelming.
  • Several doulas mentioned that they avoided certain situations or births all together in the last months of pregnancy. Those who worked up until the end also discussed being sure to process the births before your own.


 The Power of Communication:

  • Transparency is key! Let your current clients know about your pregnancy when you feel ready. Let potential clients know before they sign a contract.
  • Assure clients of your unwavering commitment and have a backup plan in case you cannot attend a birth due to your own pregnancy. This builds trust and manages expectations. 
  • You should also give them a heads-up on anything that may interrupt tier care or be different. For example, I’ve done prenatal visits with a tiny baby in a carrier, even though I wasn’t back on call yet. Will you need to step out to pump for your baby at a birth?


Building a Strong Support Network:

  • Build a group of other doulas who can support you if necessary.
  • Contact fellow pregnant doulas who understand your unique position. They can give you advice on how they’ve handled it before.


 Flexibility and Adaptability:

  • Be ready for change. Your schedule might need to shift, and you may need to adjust the number of clients you serve.
  • Know that it’s perfectly fine to say no sometimes and delegate tasks when necessary.
  • You may also decide when you want to stop working but be flexible should you need to stop sooner.
  • Your body will change, which may mean that what you can do physically will also change. I’ve indeed told clients that I’d essentially be giving directions and comfort from the couch.


Remember, as a pregnant doula, your personal journey can wonderfully enrich your professional life. Not only can you relate more deeply to your clients, but you can also offer them insights drawn from your own experience. Take care of yourself, ask for help when needed, and cherish each moment of this unique period in your life.

I’d love to hear from you! If you’re a doula experiencing pregnancy or have balanced being a doula and parent in the past, your story is important.

Share your tips and insights.