In this article we're breaking down key questions about the role of a doula and the training required to become a doula. You'll find answers to the following questions:
What is a doula?
A doula is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to expecting parents, new parents, and their partners during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period, as well as during other key points throughout their reproductive health cycles.
What is doula training?
Doula training prepares individuals to become doulas and support families through one of the most transformative times of their lives.
If you are someone who is passionate about supporting clients during childbirth and the postpartum period, becoming a doula may be the perfect career path for you.
Doula training programs vary in length, format, and curriculum, but they generally cover the following topics:
- Anatomy and physiology of pregnancy and childbirth: Understanding the biological processes of pregnancy and childbirth is crucial for providing effective support during this time.
- Stages of labor: Doulas need to have a solid understanding of the different stages of labor and how to support during each stage.
Pain management techniques: Doulas learn a variety of pain management techniques to help people to manage the discomforts of labor and childbirth.
Emotional and psychological support: Doulas provide emotional and psychological support to help ease the fears and concerns so many people experience.
Breastfeeding, chestfeeding and other forms of feeding support: Doulas often provide emotional support and education around different ways to feed babies, including techniques and troubleshooting common issues with either human milk, nursing, pumping, bottles or formula.
Postpartum care: Doulas provide physical, emotional, and informational support to clients during the postpartum period, including helping with newborn care and adjusting to life with a new baby.
There are several organizations that offer doula training programs, each with its own unique approach and curriculum. Doula Trainings International (DTI) offers comprehensive and supportive doula training programs. DTI doulas are dedicated to making the birth experience positive and empowering for families.
The different types of trainings and certifications offered by DTI are:
- Birth Doula Training: This training is designed to prepare individuals to provide support during childbirth. The training covers topics such as prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care, and different forms of newborn feeding.
- Postpartum Doula Training: This training focuses on preparing individuals to provide physical, emotional, and informational support to families during the postpartum period. The training covers topics such as newborn care and feeding support, and helping families adjust to the new addition to their family.
- Full Spectrum Doula Training: This training is the full expression of the DTI doula curriculum, offering individuals the training they need to become birth doulas, postpartum doulas, and reproductive health doulas all in one. Doulas who complete this training are knowledgeable and ready to provide labor support, postpartum care, as well as care for people who may be experiencing infertility, miscarriage or loss, who may need an abortion, or for those who simply want to learn more about their bodies through cycle awareness or birth control options. Learn more about our full spectrum doula training from a former trainee here.
- Childbirth Educator Training: This training is designed to prepare individuals to teach childbirth education classes in their communities. The training covers topics such as anatomy and physiology, stages of labor, pain management options, and postpartum planning.
DTI's doula trainings are offered in various formats, including online doula training and in-person doula training. DTI offers continuing education opportunities for doulas who wish to expand their knowledge and skills through a doula membership.
DTI trainings are unique because they’re inclusive, culturally humble, and focused on reproductive justice. Each training cohort receives personal attention from a dedicated educator. After training, our students receive monthly virtual support from a member of our educational team. Once you complete certification through DTI you are certified for a lifetime. The DTI membership offers doulas monthly workshops with thought leaders in the field, business guides, and other resources, so you never have to feel alone in your practice and can continue learning, growing and connecting.
In addition to learning the skills and knowledge needed to become a doula, DTI's doula training programs also provide individuals with the support they need to succeed in their careers. The organization offers ongoing mentorship, business training, and networking opportunities to help doulas build successful and fulfilling careers.
Want to learn more about DTI's different types of Doula Trainings?