Training Matters: 3 Things All Doulas Need

Research shows that having a doula attend a woman’s birth increases her chances of successfully breastfeeding and feeling satisfied with her birth experience while decreasing her odds of having a Cesarean delivery or a baby admitted to the NICU. 

What makes a doula different than say a mother, sister or BFF attending the birth? It is all about the training! Birth Boot Camp DOULAS focuses on three key areas: a deep knowledge of birth, skills for building relational support, and the sustainability and professionalism of the doula. These components form the foundation for the skills needed to make that difference between doula care and that of non-trained labor support.



1. An Understanding of Physiologically Normal Birth

Doulas need to learn about birth. Not just what it looks like on TV but what it really looks like. How it works, what hormones are flowing and how they all work together during pregnancy and labor. A good doula training will focus on physiologic birth; in other words, what happens and why. It helps doulas know when to use what comfort measure, how to best support the laboring woman or when to suggest heading to the place of birth.  It also helps them know if baby is showing signs of being in an odd position and what can be done to encourage baby into a better position. A thorough knowledge of childbirth is the backbone of all doula skills. As a part of their training, Birth Boot Camp DOULAS are provided with over 25 hours of class on pregnancy and childbirth. This is way more than most mothers or BFFs have under their belt!


2. Relational Support

A doula attends births with no other role than to be there for a laboring woman or couple. Doulas must build healthy and positive relationships with their clients. A great doula training will help doulas develop active listening skills and teach them how to support their clients in making informed decisions regarding their options. Birth Boot Camp DOULAS know that for this skill to happen, they must leave their own preferences behind. Support for a couple’s choices is key to helping them reach long term satisfaction with their birth experience and feeling empowered. Birth Boot Camp DOULAS teaches strategies to make the most of the prenatal visits between doulas and their clients, and teach critical skills and clear steps to establish the relational support that is so critical and separates doula care from say, the Labor and Delivery nurse that will first meet a couple when they arrive at the hospital or the mother law who is excited to meet her grandchild.


3. Sustainability and Professionalism

If you are looking for a doula, this might not be your first concern, but it is important to both doulas seeking a training and their prospective clients. Good training and continuing education is a part of professionalism. A professional doula will show up at 2am and she will do what she has contracted to do (and if she does not, her clients will have recourse). She will know how to keep herself and her clients safe (Birth Boot Camp DOULAS requires every applicant to certify in Blood Borne Pathogens). She will know to charge enough so that she can continue offering doula services and thus bring more experience to her clients over time. 

A sustainable doula can afford (and wants to be held accountable for) continuing education to further sharpen her skills. Sustainability will result in increasing respect for the profession and greater expertise among doulas - both benefiting expecting families. A doula can have the best hip squeezes in the world, but if she cannot make doula work sustainable, she will not be able to continue to offer her services. At Birth Boot Camp DOULAS, the concepts of professionalism and sustainability are mixed into every aspect of training.


The Tip of the Iceberg

This is only the beginning of what doula training should include. These three areas - an understanding of physiologically normal birth, relational support skills, and sustainability and professionalism - encompass the core of a Birth Boot Camp DOULAS training. Read more about our program and the included lactation training, mentorship and ongoing marketing, business and tech support available to all Birth Boot Camp DOULAS.