Doulas provide emotional and physical support as well as comfort and information for birthing women and their partners. The primary goal of the doula is to facilitate healthy and meaningful birth experiences.
While many doulas have some sort of formal training or certificates in fields such as education or nursing, there are no formal requirements for one to be considered a doula. However, it is most advisable for one to be a member of DONA (Doulas of North America), the premier international certiﬁcation organization for doulas.
There are approximately 2,000 doulas in Israel, the majority of whom are self-employed, with a small minority employed in hospitals like Tel Hashomer. Most employment opportunities for doulas in Israel are currently concentrated in larger cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
These resources will allow you to learn about the field, familiarize yourself with the Israeli nuances of industry, find employment opportunities, create professional connections, learn about educational opportunities, and keep track of new developments or events.
Doulas in Israel https://www.facebook.com/groups/1900653336828991/?ref=share
Looking for a Doula in Israel https://www.facebook.com/groups/1092420654115577/?ref=share
Insights into the Career:
Interview with an Olah Doula https://www.nbn.org.il/aliyahpedia/employment-israel/professions-index-employment-israel/medicine-health/doula-care/
DONA (Doulas of North America) https://www.dona.org/
What is your current title?
Aliza Stavsky, CD DONA (Certiﬁed Doula, Doulas of North America). DONA is the premier international certiﬁcation organization for doulas.
How did you ﬁnd your job?
I started out by attending the births of people I already knew and that led to new clients. Woman are most likely to choose a doula based on a personal recommendation since it involves inviting someone to take part in a very intimate experience.
What experience do you need to get into your ﬁeld?
The world of doulas consists of women from a vast array of life experiences. Many were childbirth educators, nurses or therapists of all types before choosing this career. However, many chose this ﬁeld from an innate sense of nurturing or from a personal birth experience that inspired them. I personally was a childbirth educator for many years in America and became a certiﬁed doula in 2005, before my Aliyah. I found it fascinating to prepare women for their birth experience, so it followed naturally that I decided to take it one step further and assist woman both in preparation for their birth and then in the actual birth itself. The most important factor is selecting a reputable organization with whom to train.
Does it make any difference whether you studied in Israel or abroad?
When I ﬁrst came on Aliyah, I might have said that it is easier to become certiﬁed abroad where you speak the language and are familiar with the birth culture. Now that I have lived in Israel for many years, I have learned that there are excellent training opportunities here both in English and in Hebrew. There are DONA certiﬁed trainers in Israel who offer the high level of training that one would expect from DONA anywhere in the world and the course is in English.
What are the beneﬁts?
Being part of an organization like DONA enables the doula to take advantage of international advertising, updated information, support and products. It also adds credibility to the doula’s name.
What is the salary range?
A doula is paid by the birthing woman/couple for a birth package. Each doula designs her own package but it usually includes one or more pre-natal meetings, support throughout the birth, and a postpartum meeting within a few weeks of the birth. Most doulas are also available for telephone support during the later months of pregnancy. The fees for this service range from doula to doula and from geographical area to geographical area. Pregnant women can expect to pay anywhere from 2,500 shekel to 4,000 shekel upon hiring a doula.
Describe the personal growth opportunities that exist:
Being a smaller country, the opportunity for good workshops and lectures is deﬁnitely more limited than in a country like the United States. That said, there are programs offered for those working in the birth ﬁelds to broaden their knowledge base and stay current. Some are only offered in Hebrew which is limiting to a new oleh but some are in English as well. Due to the plethora of programs online these days, there is no lack of access to information.
Who are the major employers in your ﬁeld?
Basically, doulas are self-employed. There are online networks to help doulas connect to other doulas, and there are Facebook groups to help doulas connect to potential customers. One does have to market oneself to succeed in this ﬁeld. Again, once you get started, you generally generate new clients by creating happy, satisﬁed customers.
What other areas of specialty would you recommend?
A well trained and experienced doula has much to offer a pregnant woman in terms of support and assistance before, during, and after birth. That said, there are many doulas who are also proﬁcient in other areas of health and well-being which enhances their doula work. Some good examples would be reﬂexologists, massage therapists, and lactation consultants. Even when a doula does not have an additional expertise, she brings incredible skills to the birth which can completely change the experience for the birthing woman/couple.
What recommendations can you offer the Olah looking to work in this ﬁeld?!
I would say that the best place to start is with our local DONA doula trainer, Sarah Goldstein. Sarah offers training courses for doulas, in English, that are extremly comprehensive and follow the excellent DONA guidelines. Sarah can be reached at 052-384-7439. Please click on “Find a Trainer” on the DONA website and then click on Israel in order to find & reach out to doulas who are already in Israel.
How do you feel about working and living here in Israel?
I love living and working here! There is always room for improvement regarding birth policies but I ﬁnd the birth process far less invasive here than in the USA. There is more built in support of the natural birthing process and the needs of women during birth. I would like to believe that my work as a doula is one step in the process of trying to make birth more women-centered and less medical-centered.
The birth rate in Israel is quite high which is good news for those Olim wanting to work as doulas. It is a very fulﬁlling career choice and, with the proper certiﬁcation, one can play an important role in affecting the birth culture of Israel.
Aliza Stavsky may be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/aliza-stavsky-b349a718/?originalSubdomain=il
Please provide us a brief description of your field:
I am a Labor & Delivery Nurse Doula. I help women and their partners decrease their anxiety about childbirth and postpartum care, so they can have a confident and empowered birth experience.
What is your current position?
I currently work as a labor and delivery nurse/doula. I created this position to utilize my medical training and knowledge to privately support women before, during, and after their birth. I also teach childbirth education to couples looking for additional knowledge.
How did you find your job?
As a certified labor & delivery/postpartum nurse and childbirth educator for 21 years, I combined my skills and passion into its own position: labor nurse doula. After acquiring my Israeli license (in addition to my NY and NJ licenses) I began to work as a nurse in Israel to gain a broader knowledge of the medical system. I have work experience in Terem Urgent Care, Hadassah Hospital and Tipat Chalav (Israeli well-baby clinics).
What degree should someone making Aliyah come with in order to break into your field?
It’s recommended to get professional training from a certified doula program but it’s not a requirement. Clients, however, only get reimbursed (insurance-wise) from someone who is certified.
What experience do you need to get into your field?
There is no need to have experience before entering this field. Any experience in the childbirth world is helpful, but most importantly, you need to be caring, empathetic and passionate about empowering women during their pregnancy and birth.
Does it make a difference whether you studied in Israel or abroad?
It’s helpful to join a certification course (there are English courses available) in Israel, to learn the way things are done medically and culturally here. One can also choose to take a doula certification course abroad and apply those skills.
What is the salary range?
Doula prices vary according to experience. The range can go from 1,500 NIS to over 3,500 NIS per birth. This price generally includes pregnancy and labor support, as well as a postpartum visit. Again, clients can usually get reimbursed by insurance for these services.
What are upcoming areas of specialty you would recommend?
Education in lactation is very important, as well as alternative medicine (such as reflexology) is an added benefit.
What is the professional organization in your field?
I was trained in a course specific for Nursing Professional Healthcare workers, however, a professional organization DONA International is a popular doula certifying organization. More information can be found on their website, https://www.dona.org/.
How do you feel about working here in Israel?
Transitioning to living and working in a completely new environment has been extremely challenging, and it took me a couple of years to figure out how to make it work for myself. Working as a nurse here has been a struggle for me in terms of schedules and job satisfaction. I needed to figure out a way to utilize my work skills, and balance that with happiness and autonomy. I actually love it now. The Hebrew language is my biggest challenge, but I get by.
I suggest you allow yourself time when you get here to adjust, learn the language, the medical system, and culture. Starting work here is huge transition but slowly things get better and easier.
Website: rachelraice.com Cell phone: 053-234-8072