Becoming a doula is something I knew I wanted to do when I found out what they were, and I experienced what having one during labor was like. Basically doulas are awesome. So extremely awesome. I believe almost every woman would benefit from a doula, no matter the circumstances.
Research supports me in this declaration as well. Many studies have shown doulas to be beneficial. There was actually one published just a few months ago that found
After examining 21 trials involving over 15,000 women, the review authors found that women who received continuous support (i.e. a doula) during labor:
- were more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth
- were less likely to have intrapartum analgesia (i.e. an epidural)
- were less likely to report dissatisfaction with their labors
- had shorter labors
- were more likely to give birth without cesarean, vacuum, or forceps
- were less likely to have regional analgesia
- were less likely to have babies with a low 5-minute Apgar score
Basically doulas increase good birth outcomes and provide great support for laboring women and their families. And it's so my calling in life.
And you're thinking great Tracie. But what's a doula?
A doula is a trained, skilled, labor support professional who helps guide mothers through their birth experience by providing emotional, physical, and informational support. The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek term meaning “servant to mother.” A doula does not replace a doctor or midwife, and does not provide any clinical diagnosis or perform any medical procedures.
|A doula: |
You don't technically have to be certified to be a doula, but it's recommended. I decided to certify with DONA International (formerly Doulas of North America). In order to get certified I have to
- Become a member of DONA (Check!)
- Apply for the doula certification program (Check!)
- Attend a doula workshop of at least 16 hours
Registration and Introductions
Birth - A transformation
The Benefits of A Doula
The Prenatal Interview(s)
Emotional Preparation and Education
Comfort Measures for Labors
Review and Assessment
Second Stage Overview
AIDS and HIV Protection
Difficult Labor Management
Cesarean and VBAC Support
Newborn Care and Breastfeeding
Modeling and Role Play
Affirmations and Birth Journaling
Review and Assessment
Giving Support Through Loss
Developing Personal Style
Standard of Practice
Code of Ethics
Establishing A Practice
Birth Journaling and Closing
I'm so excited for this I can't even tell you. I'm excited and nervous and all sorts of things. But my doula certification won't be complete after the workshop. After that I have to
- 4. Read 5 books on a reading list on birth, labor, doula support, breastfeeding support, and postpartum care. (There are other books there are recommended on the book list.) I've already finished most of this
- 5. Observe a childbirth education class of at least 12 hours.
- 6. Complete a breastfeeding education course.
- 7. Provide continuous doula service at a minimum of three births at least from the onset of active labor to birth.
- 8. Document each of the three births for I provide labor support by keeping a record sheet and typing a 500-700 word account of the birth.
- 9. Prepare a list of local resources to give to my doula clients.
- 10. Obtain evaluations of my doula services from at least three clients, three primary care providers, and three nurses or midwives.
- 11. Provide two character references.
- 12. Write a type written essay of 500-1000 words on the value and purpose of labor support.