Saturday, February 12, 2011

Becoming a Doula: First Steps

Tonight's post will present you with information and resources on becoming a doula. There are many paths one can take to become a professional doula, books to read, organizations to consider.

First, examine why you want to become a doula. Write down your reasons. Share them with someone. As you begin your journey in the field of birth work, your list of reasons can help you keep going.

Second, think about how being a doula will fit into your life. If you're in a relationship, is your partner supportive? If you have children, what will you do for childcare? If you're employed, will it cause a problem if you miss work to attend a birth? Do you have time off you can take? If you don't have the flexibility to attend births, perhaps teaching childbirth classes (easier to schedule!) is a way to get your foot in the door without causing scheduling issues.

Most people choose to read some books about doulas and birth before taking a doula training workshop. The Doula Book is on the required reading list of most of the doula organizations and it's a good introduction to the topic of doulas. (It's also a good conversation starter- read it in public when you're looking for clients.)

The next step is to look for an organization to take your training. There are several doula training organizations and each one has a bit of a different approach to doula training. Take time to browse the websites of each one and feel out what fits best with your own philosophy about birth. Before you sign up for a training, call or email the organization and ask questions.

Organizations for Training: (Offers several different certifications- labor doula, postpartum doula, antepartum doula, childbirth educator, lactation educator...) (Certification for birth and postpartum doulas, childbirth educators, midwifery assistants. Excellent website with lots of good links and resources.) (Birth and Postpartum Doula Certification) (Childbirth Educator and Doula Certification. They offer an amazing program as far as education goes; I'm currently taking their CBE program) (Doula, Childbirth Educator, Breastfeeding Counselor. Distance learning)

This isn't a list of all of the doula training organizations out there, but it's a good start. CAPPA and DONA both also offer yearly conferences, which are a great thing to attend no matter who you're trained through.

Another thing to think about is finding a doula networking group in your area. Networking groups are a good place to meet other local doulas, get information about getting your business going and learn more about birth work.

Doula Networking Groups Near Syracuse (CNY Doula Connection- the group I'm affiliated with) (Doula Cooperative of Rochester)

Feel free to email me if you're looking into becoming a doula and have questions I can help answer.


  1. Thanks for the info! I very much would like to become a doula. What do you think about taking classes from a local doula service instead of one of the big organizations? I know that the woman I'm considering taking from is very good at what she does. My only concern is that I won't have the credential afterwards. What do you think of the program you're taking?

  2. A good post! Your guidance is sure to help many doulas-to-be. I hope Lamaze will one day offer doula certification too!


  3. birthbug,

    If you can find mentoring from a local doula, I would recommend it, especially if you have a doula networking group in your area, but I would do that in addition to, not instead of, attending a doula training.

  4. Thanks so much for this post. I am very interested in becoming a Doula and am overwhelmed by the information and certifying organizations. I am trying to find a local network to help me figure this out.