Frequently Asked Questions

A birth doula supports parents during the prenatal period, during labor, and immediately after birth by providing information, advocacy, comfort measures, and emotional support. A postpartum doula supports families in the home during the postpartum period by providing information, advocacy, comfort measures, emotional support, meals, infant and sibling care, basic house cleaning, and referrals to professionals for healthcare issues that may arise.

New parents prefer a professionally trained and certified doula. Our course was designed by a midwife, doula, IBCLC, and MBSR certified instructor. By certifying with us, you will be able to distinguish yourself from other doulas who don’t have the kind of comprehensive foundation that this course offers.

Unlike many courses, we cover the entire first year of infancy, expanding what you can do to be there for families. We also teach you how to work with diverse types of families and situations. This includes trauma-informed care for postpartum mood disorders, care of premature and medically fragile infants, how racism impacts perinatal care, working with adoptive and LGBTQ families, and cultural beliefs and practices. Our holistic, mindfulness focus gives you the skills that research shows make doulas successful, and enables you to provide professional support and guidance to families.

We also offer you more support, including a peer support group, monthly case reviews, paid internship opportunities, access to a lactation warmline, access to virtual IBCLC consultations, mentorship, and discounted retreat opportunities. See our membership page to learn more.

Research shows that what makes doulas successful are the very skills that our mindfulness centered framework—supported by tools such as The Compass of Mindful Caregiving and Workbook—helps you to develop:

  • The attention and sensitivity to understand your client’s needs
  • The ability to deeply listen and honor the client’s experience and inner wisdom
  • The appropriate care and self-care, compassionately and skillfully given

Here’s another way to look at it: the best business practice is to have the best practice. In order to best serve others, we need to be able to connect to our own experience. With this course, you will take a deeper dive into what it really means to be sensitive, compassionate, and to listen. And through inquiry, awareness, practice and reflection, you will find yourself and your business transformed.

Everything you need is in our online course. There are no requirements for additional webinars, courses, book purchases, or client hours and references. We offer the option of a paid internship with Birthways, our sister doula organization in Chicago, but internship hours are not required for certification. The course comes with a workbook of practices and exercises that are integrated into the lessons. Certification is attained once you successfully pass all quizzes and the final exam, and complete an interview.

The course is organized into modules that each have individual chapters. The modules cover the scope of care for postpartum doulas, caring for parents, care of the newborn, sibling care, practical caregiving tasks, lactation, perinatal mood disorders, ethics, systems, and business models. They contain the standard postpartum doula certification topics, but we also go beyond what is offered by other courses:

  • Mindfulness is integrated into the lessons and is taught by an MBSR certified instructor.
  • The entire first year of an infant’s life is covered as is sibling care.
  • The modules are more comprehensive than many other doula courses.
  • You will learn how to work with diverse families, from those with different cultural practices to adoption and LGBTQ parents.
  • Reproductive justice is important to us. We cover how racism impacts perinatal care and what you can do about it.
  • We offer a comprehensive look at postpartum mood disorders.
  • You will learn how to care for premature and medically fragile infants.

 

Some people take the course because they want to work as postpartum doulas and this course will allow you to be recognized as a professional while also teaching you how to develop a successful and sustainable business. Those who work with families of newborns in other capacities, take the course as continuing education to enhance their careers. Some people take the course as a stepping stone to becoming a midwife, and others take it because they want to help family members. Everyone who takes the course benefits from learning that is grounded in mindfulness.

Membership is free for the first year when you purchase the First Year Specialist/Postpartum Doula Certification course. Maintaining membership is $99 a year thereafter, and allows you to have access to the course and the membership benefits. Check out our membership page to learn about the benefits of membership.

Recertification is automatic for members in good standing. You don't need to fill out an application, take additional courses, or pay a recertification fee. All that is required is that you abide by our ethics guidelines and maintain updated annual membership.

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Karen Laing