By Amy Farr
As a doula, I get several e-mails a year from women asking how they can become a doula. The following is an overview of the different types of doula support and the organizations that provide trainings. Also included is information on how to become a certified doula.
Birth doulas meet with a woman during pregnancy and provide support and comfort measures throughout her labor and birth. Post-partum doulas assist the mother after the birth by providing breastfeeding support and helping with basic household chores and baby care. Antenatal doulas work mostly with women who are having a high-risk pregnancy and help them through that period.
There are several different organizations that offer doula trainings in the form of seminars, distance education or both. You should decide what type of doula you wish to be, where to find the best training, and whether to pursue certification.
Organizations that train and certify doulas are DONA International (Doulas of North America), CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association), ALACE (Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators), CBI (Childbirth International), Cascade Christian Childbirth Association, Birthworks, http://www.icea.org/ (International Childbirth Education Association) and Lamaze International.
I chose to take my training with DONA International (Doulas of North America) which is the oldest and most well known organization. You can find a list of their training seminars at on their website. The training I attended was a three day seminar that covered the physiology of birth and what to expect during each stage of labor. I learned how to provide comfort measures to the mother during each stage of labor, position changes that encourage progress, and I learned about the different interventions that clients may be faced with and how they may affect the labor process.
Certification is optional but encouraged, and will require that you complete several activities including required reading, observation of a childbirth education series, and a minimum of three births. Re-certification is also optional and to stay certified, it must be completed every three years. Requirements for certification and re-certification are available on the DONA website.
I absolutely love being a doula and find it to be a highly rewarding career.
Amy Farr is a mother to two children (Maura who is 4 and Ryan who is 18 months) and is married to her husband Jody. She lives in the Greater Pittsburgh area and has been a birth doula since 2006. She has been certified through DONA International since 2008. Together with her sister, Brenda, she founded Blessed Arrivals Birth Doula Service in 2006. “It is so fulfilling to help other women on their journey to motherhood.”
Extra special thanks to Amy for being a part of our Blogiversary Celebration! I asked Amy to write this post as a follow-up to the previous post that she wrote for Mommy News & Views Blog and to be part of our Blogiversary Celebration. But Amy went one step further – she offered to do a give-away along with her post too! Amy, owner of Blessed Arrivals, will be giving away TWO prizes to two lucky recipients of Mommy News & Views Blog.
1) A copy of Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.
2) A free Comfort Measures For Labor Class – this class is designed for pregnant moms and includes tips and techniques for coping with discomfort, stress and fatigue during labor. In order to qualify for this prize, you must reside (or give it to someone who resides) in the greater Pittsburgh, PA area.
To be entered into this contest please leave a comment on this post telling us if you used a doula during your birth and if you feel that you would like to in the future after reading about what a doula does both here in this post and in Amy’s earlier post on our blog. Also, please indicate if you are from the Greater Pittsburgh area in your comment so that we will know if you qualify for both giveaways! – This is MANDATORY in order to be considered for a prize.
But you don’t want just one chance to win do you? How about a few more! You can enter for extra chances to win this book or class by doing any of the activities below. Just be sure to come back here and leave us a comment for each one – letting us know which ones you completed.
1) Follow Amy on Twitter.
2) Sign up to be a fan of Blessed Arrivals Birth Doulas on facebook.
3) Spread the word! Tweet about this post and link back to it – be sure to include @MommyNews in your tweet and a link back to this page, and leave a comment here with a link to your tweet (you can do this once per day during the contest).
4) Don’t have a blog, not on facebook or twitter? No problem, we want you to have extra chances to win too – so go ahead and send an email to any of your pregnant or nursing friends. Be sure to cc: us on your email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and leave a comment here too! We promise not to add anyone to any mailing lists unless they specifically request to be added.
5) Purchase anything from our Boutique Store – and leave a comment here with the last 4-digits of your order number. You will get 4 extra chances to win for every purchase!
That’s it! Lots of ways to win a great book and local birth class!! This contest ends 10/28/09 at 5 PM. All entrants will be verified and must complete the mandatory entry before completing the ‘extra’ entries. Invalid entries will be disqualified. This contest is open to people with US-based delivery addresses ONLY. Winner must respond to email within 48 hours or we reserve the right to choose another winner.