Best Careers for Parents Who Want to Help Parents

Love helping babies, new parents, and parents-to-be? These careers might be the perfect fit for you.

midwife doula with pregnant woman
Photo: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Are you searching for a rewarding career, one that's working-parent friendly? Look no further than your growing belly, and let pregnancy and childbirth inspire you. That's what Jennifer Powers did when she became pregnant in 2004.

"I knew my job as a financial analyst wouldn't be a good fit for me once my baby was born," says Powers from Cambridge, Mass., citing such drawbacks as high-priced child care and company culture in which 10-hour workdays were the norm.

It was when she attended childbirth preparation classes that Powers discovered her dream job. "As the instructor explained the intricacies of labor and delivery, I kept thinking, 'I want to be a childbirth educator,'" she recalls.

Powers enrolled in a home-study program and earned her childbirth educator certification before her baby's first birthday.

"I love my new career," she reports. "Working with expectant parents, I get to share their joy and anticipation. And because classes meet in the evenings, my husband is home to care for our son while I teach."

5 Pregnancy Related Careers

Many maternity-related professions offer flexible hours, fulfilling responsibilities, and the opportunity to help other people make the transition to parenthood. As you plan your own future as a working parent, consider whether one of these careers might be your perfect fit. (Organizations listed here offer further training and certification information.)

Childbirth educator (CBE)

Childbirth educators teach parents-to-be general what-to-expect classes or specialize in such topics as natural pain relief.

Those who offer private classes charge between $200 and $650 per couple for a six-week course. CBEs teaching in hospitals typically earn $30 to $50 per class. Certification requirements include completing home-study coursework, observing experienced childbirth educators, and teaching a practice class.

For more information: Visit International Childbirth Educators Association


"I mother the mother-to-be," says Julie Six, 26, a certified doula from Swayzee, Ind. "I stay by a woman's side throughout labor, offering encouragement, informational support, and comfort." But the nature of doula work means the hours are often unpredictable. "Dependable child care is a must when you are on call," Six says.

According to the International Doula Institute, birth doulas make between $28,800 and $86,400 a year, and postpartum doulas can make between $48,000 and $135,200 a year depending on experience, how many hours a week they work, services offered, and if you serve an urban or rural clientele.

To earn certified-doula status, you must complete a basic childbirth course and provide labor assistance to at least three clients. If you prefer a more conventional work schedule, postpartum doulas provide such services as light housecleaning, meal preparation, and daytime or overnight newborn care. They generally charge $15 to $25 per hour.

For more information: Visit Doulas of North America

Labor and delivery nurse

"I care for women during all stages of labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period—essentially anything related to pregnancy that requires a trip to the maternity ward," says Jeanne Faulkner, a labor and delivery nurse in Portland, Ore., and a parent of five. "If you can, work part-time or on call, so you have more control over your hours," Faulkner adds.

According to, the national average annual salary for labor and delivery nurses ranges between $75,900 and $109,995. Education prerequisites include a B.S. or A.S. degree in nursing.

For more information: Visit the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses

Lactation consultant

You might find yourself teaching a breastfeeding class to expectant parents, helping a newborn latch on properly to the breast, or answering questions from a nursing parent who just returned to work.

For Kelly Emery, I.B.C.L.C., a lactation consultant in Grand Rapids, Mich., the job's most rewarding aspect is reassuring a parent that their breastfed baby is thriving. "When I hear the baby swallowing and can teach the mother how to recognize this sound, she is usually incredibly relieved and amazed," Emery says. "You can just see her shoulders relax."

Lactation consultants typically complete a combination of college-level courses and hands-on work before receiving certification; most work is in a hospital or clinic setting. The national average annual salary for a lactation consultant is $89,447 but can be as high as $100,310, according to

For more information: Visit International Lactation Consultant Association

Prenatal fitness instructor

If you love working out, put your fitness skills to good use by leading prenatal aerobics, yoga, or Pilates classes.

"Yoga helped me get in touch with my body—and my baby—during pregnancy," says Michelle Hill, a prenatal-yoga instructor in New York. "Now I teach it to other pregnant women," adds the parent of two, whose daily work schedule permits her to be home by noon. Pay generally ranges between $50 and $100 per class.

You must complete independent coursework and attend a training workshop to obtain basic prenatal-fitness certification. For certification in yoga or Pilates, you must attend specialty seminars in those areas.

For more information: Visit the Aerobics & Fitness Association of America

The Bottom Line

Finding a career that helps support pregnant and postpartum parents can be hugely rewarding. Not only can you get the satisfaction that comes from helping others, but you can also make a respectable income to support your own growing family.

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