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Starting on the road to becoming a doula, suggestions please!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I am just starting to work toward becoming a doula. I am reading a stack of books from a friend who is a midwife's assistant and I am loving it. The ones I have are Spiritual Midwifery & Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, The Birth Partner by Penny Simpkin, The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer, and The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger. I have watched The Business of Being Born and several online birth videos. I am open to any suggestions. Help!
post #2 of 3
Well, if you're looking for formal training and certification, check out the Web sites of some of the organizations that certify doulas:

www.dona.org (formerly Doulas of North America)

www.icea.org (International Childbirth Education Association)

www.cappa.net (Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association)

www.alace.org (Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators)

www.birtharts.org


Each organization definitely has its own "flavor." All the books you're reading are on each organization's required or recommended reading lists. Some do distance education, some require workshop attendance, some require more or less certifying births, etc. If you decide to certify, it may come down to which organizations offer classes in your area ...

That said, anyone can call themselves a doula, whether they have any training or experience or not. The best way to educate yourself is to read, read, read (all the above organizations have reading lists, so that's a great place to start) and talk to other doulas in your area. Find a doula to mentor you, if you can. Attend births -- even just as a silent observer, you'll learn lots. If you know a homebirth midwife, maybe some of her clients will allow you to observe the birth. But becoming a doula involves a lot more than just reading books. You'll more than likely need to pass a breastfeeding exam, a childbirth exam (or attend an accredited class) and maybe do some writing (your thoughts on birth, why you want to be a doula, resource lists for your clients who may have needs that you are unable to meet or whose needs are outside your scope of practice), etc.

Hope this helps!
post #3 of 3
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