"Steps to Becoming a Certified Doula"

Posted On: 2019-01-29 18:29:14 UTC

As public awareness of the many benefits of doula care increases, more women are not only hiring doulas but are looking into how to become a doula! This article provides some guidance on how to do that!

Step One: Talk to a doula! While the training portion of becoming a doula is fairly accessible, it's worth doing some research first to see if it is a fit for you and your lifestyle before taking training. It is indeed a deeply rewarding calling, but many do not realize that doulas are often on call 24/7 and so need to have highly flexible "other jobs" and supportive families. Go for coffee with some of our doulas and ask them about their experiences in providing doula care.

Step Two: Choose your Certifying organization (based on your philosophical approach). There are several certifying organizations for doula training --DONA, ProDoula, Doula Canada, PacificRim Holistic Doula Certificate, CAPPA, for example, so do shop around. However, the Comox Valley Doulas are mostly DONA International trained doulas because we find most healthcare-related funders (FNHA, BCAAFC, and benefits providers) only recognize DONA certification. DONA International is a non-profit organization that has been around for 25 years and is recognized in over 55 countries for its high standards. Check out DONA's process for becoming a Birth doula or Post-partum doula: https://www.dona.org/become-a-doula/birth-doula-certification/

Step Three: Attend training. While DONA now offers online training, we highly recommend the in-class, hands-on training to really get the feel for this work. Mothering Touch in Victoria (they do come up island too!) is an excellent program that offers full DONA certified perinatal/doula training. They have several training sessions a year. See their description of what it takes to become a doula: https://www.motheringtouch.ca/doula-training/steps-to-becoming-a-doula/.

Step Four: Do all your reading, writing of essays, and research on the perinatal resources in your community! Depending on your training, you will be required to read at least 5 books and to do some research on evidence-based prenatal, childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care, etc. You may need to attend a breastfeeding class and prenatal/childbirth classes in addition to your Doula training. There are several prenatal classes and breastfeeding courses online (Gold Midwifery.com has some great ones!), be sure to check that they are recognized by DONA (or your certifying institute) before you register!

Step Five: Find clients for three evaluated births. Certifying doulas need to attend three births - offering full labour support for a minimum period of time - to complete their training. Certifying doulas often offer low cost or free births in exchange for evaluations. Finding those first clients can be challenging: we suggest talking to family, friends, or getting involved in the perinatal community to let others know you are trained and available. You can also advertise, build a webpage or for just $40 a year, join the Comox Valley Doulas! We will help mentor and support you as you grow into your doula career.

Finally, we often get asked if there are enough doulas in the valley. The answer is "WE NEED MORE!" for although there are a few of us, we all mostly have families or other jobs and birth rates are on the increase. The public is beginning to understand the value of what doulas provide, so the demand for trained doulas is growing. During some particularly busy months or holiday seasons, it may be hard to find a doula available. Pairing up with other doulas is a great way to increase your availability (which is another perk to joining Comox Valley Doulas!).

The good news is that moms and partners everywhere are catching on to the many evidence-based benefits of having a doula so we are getting busier. Getting training and experience has never been more accessible! If you have more questions, we welcome your inquiries! When you have enrolled in your courses, we would love to have you join our collective of Comox Valley Doulas!

Happy researching!

Leah Taylor, CD(DONA), CVD Administrator

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