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The new doula jitters

October 18, 2013

New Doula Jitters

I think it took me about 10-15 births before I got past the "new doula jitters".   The new doula jitters is what I call the nervous feeling I would get from the moment the client is ready for me until about one hour into my work with my clients.

On the drive to my client thousands of questions and thoughts would be racing through my mind.

  • "what did I learn in my training?"
  • "will I need to use the take charge routine?"
  • "will she want to be touched?"
  • "how will I handle it if she throws up?"
  • "what it her doctor doesn't support her?"
  • "what if my deodorant doesn't work?"
  • "how will I interact with her partner?"

I often had to use the hypnobirthing techniques that I learned for my own pregnancy and birthto calm myself down on my drive in.

What really helped in the beginning was setting up a routine that I would do when I arrive at the clients home or birthing location.
1. Say hello in a soft voice, but positive face and body language
2. Ask how things are going
3. Make sure she has water
4. If at the birthing location, get the lay of the land.  Find out where supplies like washcloths, emesis basins etc are stored.
5. Unpack some of the tools in my bag.  If at the birthing location, I unpack my portable ice bin and fill it with ice and water, throw in some washcloths.

Having this to-do list helped me tremendously.  I didn't feel like I was just standing around wondering what to do next.  I appeared to know what I was doing, which gave me confidence.  10-15 births into my doula career the confidence was there.

Those new doula jitters sometimes return even after I've passed 150 birth in my career.  When they pop up it brings back great memories of my early days and keeps me on my toes. No matter how many births we have seen, no two are ever the same!

How do you calm the jitters?

7 Responses


September 02, 2015

I am also a new doula with only three birth under my belt and those particular births were friends so I haven’t had the pleasure of a stranger yet so thank you for your suggestions and your wisdom hopefully that will make my experience much easier

Alechia Parker
Alechia Parker

May 13, 2015

I would love to chat with certified Doulas! Is there a forum for that?


December 28, 2013

Thanks so much! I have been to 7 births and I still get nervous every time and in afraid I won’t remember what to do! Sometimes I’m afraid to give my advice and suggestions because I feel like everyone probably knows better than I do.

Jodi Sharp
Jodi Sharp

October 18, 2013

Thanks so much, I am a new doula with 2 births and another due any day now….what an amazing job <3


October 21, 2013

Thank you for sharing

Park City Doula | Weekly Roundup of Web Links | Andrea Lythgoe Doula Salt Lake City Utah
Park City Doula | Weekly Roundup of Web Links | Andrea Lythgoe Doula Salt Lake City Utah

October 23, 2013

[…] Bag is doing a month long blog event with doula articles every day in Oct. I liked this one on New Doula Jitters. Even after attending hundreds of births since 1999, I still sometimes get the jitters, but they […]


October 18, 2013

As a new doula you just made me feel SOOOOO much better. Having a to-do list, or routine sounds like such a great idea!

<3 <3 <3

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