Doula UK Code of Conduct

A Doula who is a member of the Doula UK network:

  • Is accountable for her own practice in whatever environment she chooses to work. In all circumstances the safety and welfare of the mother and baby must be of primary importance.
  • Offers counsel and support, but not advice, to the mother and/or parents, exploring with them their various options, enabling them to make their own decisions about the appropriate course of action, and then supporting them to act upon those decisions e.g. a birth doula supports the mother wherever and however she chooses to give birth – home/birth centre/hospital, with or without medical interventions, whilst a postnatal doula supports the mother whether breast or bottle feeding.
  • Works to maintain the highest level of care and support possible, all the time striving to be sensitive, nurturing, empathic, non-judgemental, knowledge-based, flexible, reliable, well-organised, practical and protective of the mother’s/family’s environment.
  • Does not perform clinical or medical tasks, diagnose medical conditions or give medical advice, even if trained as a health professional prior to becoming/whilst working as a doula. Likewise if the doula is also qualified as a therapist in some other field and wishes to apply this skill in her practice, it must be made clear that they are two separate roles. The various “hats” should remain distinct at all times.
  • Will refer clients to other appropriate resources/professionals should the client have needs beyond the scope of their doula role.
  • Will accurately represent their education and experience and will not mislead other doulas, clients or other birth professionals (i.e. websites, leaflets, emails, interviews, etc.) as to their level of doula education or experience.
  • Will be honest and show integrity and respect at all times towards their clients, doula colleagues and the other professionals with whom they may be working alongside.
  • Will not discuss personal and confidential information which has been disclosed to them by their clients in the course of their doula work with them, without the express permission of those clients, except in situations as outlined in Doula UK’s “Confidentiality” policy.
  • Is advised to keep records of their activities e.g. of births attended and/or postnatal support roles.
  • Is advised to have a contract (preferably written) with their clients.
  • Will strive to develop and maintain positive work relationships within the doula and birthing community.
  • Will make it their own responsibility to maintain/enhance their skills and education by attending courses, workshops and lectures as they become available.
  • Will strive to attend Doula UK national and regional meetings, participate in Doula UK workshops and Study Days and contribute whenever possible to the running of the network as schedules and other commitments allow.
  • Is aware that Doula UK is unable to support them should they choose to support at a planned unassisted birth.