Doulas usually have some training, and are familiar with the birth process. In the original studies that were done, Marshall Klaus and John Kennell were actually studying how having a kind woman at the birth effected breastfeeding and mother-infant bonding.
What they discovered was so much more; that the presence of such a kind and helpful person made a big difference at the birth. Shorter and more satisfying labor and birth, and fewer complications.
In 2017, an article was published in the Cochrane Review, about continuous support for women in childbirth. The review included data from 26 studies in 17 countries, with 15,000 women . The earlier findings from Klaus and Kennell were confirmed without question.
Continuous support is the key. Today’s doulas bring a lot of stuff to births for comfort for the mother, or for herself. There is nothing wrong with that. None of the stuff is really necessary.
Being a doula is more about having an open heart to serve, and to be that calm, kind and continuous presence. It’s helpful to know about the process of birth. I’m all for education.
None of this is rocket science, yet there are over 60 organizations that train and certify doulas!! This shows how doulas have become more popular and are increasing in numbers and demand. This also tells us that we’d better do our homework.
If you are considering becoming a doula please investigate the organization and the trainer. How long have they been around? What are all the requirements? How much is the total cost? Are there re-certification requirements and costs? There are no regulations.
It’s best to find independent reviews of organizations and testimony from other members, or those that have taken a particular training.
With so many options for doula training, it is not about the least expensive or most convenient, or even the most expensive. It’s about quality and philosophy.
This process of investigation will be you practicing what you’ll want to preach to the mothers and families you serve. You always want to encourage them to interview their prenatal care provider about how they view birth, and handle certain situations,to ask questions, to research about a test or procedure that is suggested, and to get a second opinion if that’s what they feel they need.
I’m encouraging you to research about doula organizations and choose the one you feel will serve you and your learning needs. Remember, when you begin with an open heart, and you are kind and compassionate, you are well on your way to serving the women and families that need support.