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Doula Training (How to Become a Doula)

Introduction (Excerpted from the book “How to Become a Doula” by Sheri Menelli)

This guide has been created for the aspiring doula who has no idea of where to start with doula training.

So many times, we hear the same questions over and over again from women who love the idea of becoming a doula and working in the childbirth profession. Some of these woman cannot become a doula because of their family situation or other issues, but the sad truth is that most do not follow their passion because they just don’t know how.

They wrongly assume that those who have been able to work as doulas know something they do not, or possess skills that they cannot learn. We do not want this to happen to you!

The Birthing Business Institute (publisher of this book) was created because we want to see change in birth and we want to create the awareness that birth is safe, and women are strong. We know the best way we can do this is by enabling people just like you to follow your dreams. We want to give you the tools you need to make it happen. The world needs more doulas! We need more of you on the front lines, changing lives and changing perceptions.

This guide is not meant to replace doula training. Regardless of the educational route you should choose, you will need to have some knowledge of birth before you begin to work as a doula. We recommend receiving doula training from one of the many organizations that are there to guide you, just as you will be guiding and educating women. We have tried to give you a clear picture of all your options. Do not assume that this is all the information you need-it is not. This program will give you an overview of what it is really like to be a doula, and help you understand the steps you need to take to get there. This program will help you before your doula training, and after, as you are able to look back through the information when you are ready to begin setting up a practice and attending births.

Before you can explore doula training, you’ll need to know more about the different types of doulas.

What is a doula?

Different kinds of doulas and doula training

Pregnant women everywhere are starting to catch on- the secret to having a better birth isn’t just learning to ‘puff-puff, blow-blow’, and it’s not about having a quick epidural either! No, the secret is out: Having a birth doula is the thing to do. Both birth doulas and postpartum doulas have become very popular in the last few years.

The word Doula comes from the Greek word that some translate to mean ‘slave’ another translation that is much more applicable is ‘handmaiden’.

There are three types of doulas who all have very different roles.

The Antepartum Doula

An Antepartum Doula offers her services to pregnant mothers who are having high-risk pregnancies or are on bedrest. They offer non-medical support including education, physical support such as bedrest assistance, sibling care, errands, meal preparation, home care, and emotional support (The certification and training for the Antepartum doula is only offered through CAPPA).

The Postpartum Doula

Postpartum Doulas give emotional and breastfeeding support  along with practical newborn care tips and assisting the mother with necessary household chores. The postpartum can help care for older siblings, and light housekeeping, errands, and meal preparation. Postpartum doulas help educate and guide the mother in newborn care such as bathing, cord care, diapering, swaddling and others. She can help reduce colic and teach moms how to more easily get babies to sleep. She is there to assist the transitions that new families face in the early postpartum period.

The Birth Doula

The Birth Doula is also called a Labor Assistant because she assists during the birth. She may also be called a labor companion. The Birth Doula offers her expertise to women during the last few months leading up to the birth and then offers continuous emotional, mental, spiritual and physical support during the labor, and can offer encouragement and reassurance to the partner as well. She is often available for the early postpartum period to help the new family adjust.

Sheri Menelli is the author of How to Become a Doula. She is also the author of The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Successful Birthing Business.

Doula Training – How much and what kind of training does a doula need?

(Excerpted from “How to Become a Doula” by Sheri Menelli)

Doula Training: How much training do doulas have or need?

Because doulas are not medical, they don’t catch babies or give medical advice. They don’t replace a doctor, midwife, or nurse. They are really in a class of their own. Whereas Midwives and Obstetricians are primarily concerned with the physical health and well being of the mother and baby, doulas are devoted to the mental, emotional, and spiritual well being of the new family as well as being sensitive to the birthing woman’s specific needs, comfort, desires, and environment. Because of this, a doula does not usually have nor do they need a medical background.

Doula training workshops vary from as short as a weekend to a few months, but there are other requirements and steps including bookwork, required reading and exams in some cases. They learn how to make birth more comfortable, how to reduce the chance of a c-section and how to give great emotional support to the mom and family, as well as effective communication and creating a comfortable birth atmosphere.

There are other doula training that teaches how to run a doula business. These classes teach you how to get clients, referrals and keep the balance between work and family. One of the most popular programs is the home study course, “Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Successful Birthing Business”. More information on business classes are available at The Birthing Business Institute.

Many doulas continue to take courses and workshops to continue their education. More information on advanced doula trainings and workshops are available at http://doulaschools.wordpress.com.

Doula Licenses

There are no licenses for doulas. There is only possible certifications. Some doula training programs certify doulas and others do not.