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August 17, 2016

How to Become Certified as a Doula Through DONA

Doulas support women during pregnancy and labor by providing them with physical and emotional support.  Much as nurses and midwives require a certification, a doula has to become certified by completing a doula certification program such as the one taught by Doulas of North America (DONA).  Completing the program will give you the training to become the best doula you can possibly be in order to provide your clients with the birth experience that they desire.  Here are the steps to take for a doula to become certified after enrolling in the DONA certification program; typical this program takes about 6 months to complete.

 

Read training literature

 

Reading doula training literature is a prerequisite of the DONA curriculum.  Not only does it familiarize you with common terminology used to describe during pregnancy and labor, it also illustrates the steps on how to become a doula for women who are not familiar with the DONA certification process.  Furthermore, the literature will describe the health benefits of having a doula such as a decreased reliance on medication during labor and a high chance of a successful breastfeeding once the baby is born.

 

Complete DONA classes

 

Doula classes are a critical part a potential doula's education.  DONA's classes provide education on how to devise a birth plan according to the mother's wishes.  They will also show you how to provide personalized, childbirth education for each client.  The classes emphasize how labor and birth are an emotional as well as physical process for the mother and will help you identify different emotions during birth.  Finally, you will learn to how provide breathing and relaxation exercises as a form of stress management.

 

Participate in the doula training workshop

 

The DONA workshop is a 2 to 3 day training event that incorporates everything you've learned from the training literature and the classes into real world situations.  Taught by a certified DONA instructor, the workshop teaches through demonstration using roleplay and real life situations.  The core concepts covered are how to provide support during pregnancy and the interventions used during labor such as pain medication and cesarean sections.  The workshop will also teach the optimal positions for labor as well as breastfeeding techniques for the new mother.  These training exercises are vital to understanding how to become a doula for perspective women.  Finally, it will also teach you how to run a doula business, by illustrating how to obtain new clients through networking and how to contact and communicate with the client.

 

Attend and assist in 3 childbirths

In order to get certified as a DONA doula, there is a requirement to assist in 3 childbirths.  Usually, a doula would assist the other members of the mother's medical team during her labor.  She would provide comfort and become a source for calm and compassionate caretaking during the childbirth. Once the baby is born, the doula is trained to encourage bonding between mother and newborn through skin to skin contact and breastfeeding.  After the mother is ready to get on her feet, DONA requires an evaluation from her in order to assess how well the doula provided support during the labor and postpartum period.

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