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8things

8 Things to Consider When Choosing Doula Certification

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There are a variety of doula certifications available for women venturing into the thrilling and rewarding work of supporting families at the time of birth. There are so many available that it can be hard to choose when you are new to the birth scene. We love this list of things to consider when choosing a doula certification. Written by our very own Birth Boot Camp DOULA trainer, Amanda Devereux, she simply knows what she is talking about. Not only is Amanda an experienced and successful doula, she, along with Maria Pokluda, helped form the stellar Birth Boot Camp DOULA program. Enjoy her words and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We would love to help!

8 things you should consider when choosing doula certification-

1. Will I learn how to support a woman during labor and birth?

Of course, a doula training should actually train you to do the work of a doula. One of the doula’s main jobs at the birth is hands-on, physical support and knowledge during the labor and birth of the baby. Online or distance courses simply can’t provide this in the same way an in-person training can.

2. Will I learn how to support a woman’s partner during labor and birth?

Birth support is more than just supporting the laboring woman. The doula should not be the center piece, the partner is her hero and champion; the doula is the partner’s life line!

3. What type of business support and training will I receive?

Having the skills of a doula is just part of this. Learning to be an entrepreneur is equally important. Will you learn interview skills? Will you be provided contracts? Will you gain networking tips? Will you be prepared to leave training and launch a successful business? The skills to support at birth will find little foothold if you lack the ability to implement them and let people know about the incredible service you offer.

Nancy Rebarchick (left) and Maria Pokluda, part of the Birth Boot Camp DOULA team, show off some of the beautiful materials we have created for our doulas.
Nancy Rebarchick (left) and Maria Pokluda, part of the Birth Boot Camp DOULA team, show off some of the beautiful materials we have created for our doulas.

4. How will this certifying body market me?

You pay a good chunk of money for training and certification. What do you get from this? Is your certifying body promoting you? Providing marketing materials? Anything else?

5.What type of lactation training is provided?

A doula typically helps with baby’s first latch and then with some breastfeeding support at a postpartum and often times in between. You should know what training is provided for this. You should be comfortable not only with providing support during this time but with knowing when to refer. Truly being able to help in the precious first days of breastfeeding will often require more than just personal breastfeeding experience or attendance at a La Leche League meeting.

6. Is the philosophy of the program congruent with my own ideas of birth work?

A certification agency should offer you something – a community- and this is most beneficial to you when the philosophy of the program is one that promotes your work and passion. Ideas relating to birth abound! Find an organization that you can truly get behind.

7. Am I comfortable with the Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics?

Do you find it limiting? Does it help you build your professional practice? Does it result in greater professionalism? Doulas are present for one of life’s great events. A doula who doesn’t understand how to practice in an ethical way or within her scope can cause heartache for the entire community.

8. What do I gain from re-certification?

Re-certification, in professional fields, is important to show that an individual is current in their area of expertise, is safe to practice and is maintaining their knowledge and standards as a professional. You should gain more than the maintenance of letters at the end of your name. Doula re-certification should offer you personal growth as well as continued business, education and/or marketing support.

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Amanda Devereux, Birth Boot Camp DOULA trainer


I am proud to say Birth Boot Camp DOULA offers all of this and more.  Learn to doula beyond “The Birth Partner.”  Whether you are an aspiring doula or an experienced doula, we offer you MORE.  Join us in 2015. 

Click here for a Birth Boot Camp DOULA application.

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4 Reasons You Should Travel For Doula Training

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Have you checked out Birth Boot Camp DOULA? You probably noticed some big, exciting differences between our training and other trainings out there These differences are well thought out, purposeful and based on the experience and expertise of the birth professionals who created this professional doula certification program.

One of the things that sets Birth Boot Camp DOULA apart is that we host training in one location and you come to us! Yes, you heard that right, (currently) we train only in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and unless you live there, you will need to travel to attend our training.

Why on earth should you travel when there are doula trainings all over the country put on by organizations who will come to your doorstep? Like the rest of our program, this is intentional and we want to share with you some of the reasoning behind our decision to train in this very specific manner.

1. Birth Boot Camp DOULA training is uniform

What this means is that ALL of our doulas have the same training experience. They are trained by the same two women (Amanda Devereaux and Maria Pokluda). They all learn the same techniques, business skills, professional practices and standards, ethical considerations and much more. This is nothing short of groundbreaking.

How many organizations have dozens of trainers? While the trainees get the same certification, they are not all equally trained. Variation can be great depending on who leads the training. This just simply isn’t acceptable for us. So, in order to have a consistent training and consistently trained doulas, we have set up our training in this manner.

2. Birth Boot Camp DOULA training prepares you for a sustainable doula career, not just a doula hobby

The word ‘doula’ is one that is still foreign to many people in our culture. Often the first people ever hear of a doula is when they are pregnant and start looking around for birth support. Because even the idea of a doula is fairly new in our country, it is no wonder that the work of doula as a professional career is just gaining traction.

For most birth workers, the passion for birth must be equally yoked with a need for sustainability. Working as a free or low cost doula isn’t sustainable due the very real cost and time necessitated in this amazing, but often difficult, work.

We want doulas to be financially successful because we know this is needed to maintain joy in their profession and enables them to benefit from their work rather than just sacrifice. We believe that doulas who know how to run a business are better doulas and will have a long, satisfying doula career that is both emotionally and monetarily rewarding.

3. We can charge you less if you come to us

Birth Boot Camp DOULA (and childbirth education) organize training differently than any other doula training company out there. We believe there is a lot of value in working as a team. Your training involves many people, not just one. This has benefits including different teaching techniques, personalities, areas of expertise (including lactation, marketing and business support) and experience that are brought to the table from a variety of people who comprise the Birth Boot Camp team. We know from practice that this makes our training both comprehensive and unique.

We also know from experience that it is very expensive to travel with our large education team. We are not willing to sacrifice the quality of your training simply so we can pump out more doulas. We want our doulas to be the best, and after much thought and work we have decided that this is the best way to help build and support them.  We value quality over quantity. After all, when you are empowered, knowledgeable and supported to have a sustainable practice you will have a greater impact in your community. More doulas don’t make as much of a positive difference as better doulas.

4. Community, community, community

Birth Boot Camp DOULA is part of a larger community that includes (currently) over 100 Birth Boot Camp childbirth educators and our growing family of doulas. As a company we strive to keep our people connected to one another.

This begins at training. As mentioned, you will attend a live training with the same trainers as every other Birth Boot Camp DOULA. Even the doulas you didn’t train with will share your experience and connection.

After training you will be added to the private Birth Boot Camp DOULA facebook group where all of our doulas can communicate and learn with one another as well as have a safe and supportive place to process the sometimes difficult job of a doula. The community of doulas continues on in our unique mentor program. You should never feel alone as a Birth Boot Camp DOULA.

Doula work is precious but not always easy. The value of community with your common trainers (who you will have continual access to) and fellow doulas is immeasurable. This will help you be successful and happy in this amazing career.

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Your training comprises so much. This includes: marketing instruction, Q&A, hands on techniques, business information, a breastfeeding course and breastfeeding training specific for doulas from an IBCLC, and access to the full 10 week Birth Boot Camp online childbirth classes. This means you don’t have to pay for another childbirth class, another lactation training, or struggle wondering how to market your small business. These are things we think every doula should have knowledge of when she leaves training, and we make sure it happens.

Feel free to contact us if you have any more questions about Birth Boot Camp DOULA!

Meet our amazing doula trainers, Maria and Amanda. They are incredible.

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Doula Myth: I Don’t Need A Doula, My Nurse Will Help Me!

 

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Today we are excited to share a guest post from an incredibly experienced doula and one of the driving forces behind our very own Birth Boot Camp DOULA program, Maria Pokluda. Maria’s words of wisdom on the importance of and difference between both a doula and a labor and delivery nurse are so important.  Enjoy reading, and share with your pregnant friends!

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I attended a birth recently at a local hospital. When we arrived at the hospital the nurse greeted us and did all the right things: she asked for the couple’s birth plan, she told them that everything on their birth plan looked acceptable and she smiled as they talked about their plans. She was a great nurse and this couple (who took a Birth Boot Camp class) did go on to have a pretty amazing natural birth many hours later. As the nurse was leaving at shift change, she mentioned that she was excited to have seen a natural delivery because she had only seen ONE other natural birth in the SIX years she had been working as a labor and delivery nurse. I am still stunned by her comment and I think (and hope) that her experience is not reflective of all nurses who work in labor and delivery rooms. However, the fact is that it is neither a nurse’s primary job nor the focus of her training to help couples have a natural birth.

All couples birthing at a hospital will have a labor nurse, and I frequently get asked why a couple would need a doula since they will have this nurse to help them while they are at the hospital. Labor and Delivery nurses are a wonderful resource, however they have the clinical duties of monitoring baby and mom, the charting that is part of today’s medical care and they also have other patients – how many depends on the time of day and how a particular hospital staffs the floor. All of these other roles can limit the amount of time a nurse has to spend taking care of mom’s physical and emotional needs, but perhaps more importantly, most are simply not trained in helping women who are planning a natural birth and many don’t see natural births all that often.  If one sees medicated births day in and day out, that becomes the norm and a couple planning a natural birth will seem unusual.

In a study examining pregnant women’s expectations, first time mothers anticipated that their nurse would spend 53% of her time offering physical comfort, emotional support, information, and advocacy. However studies have shown that the actual amount of time an obstetrical nurse spends doing these things is closer to 6%*. With hospital interventions at an all-time high, nurses may want to do these things for women, but the reality is that they have to spend a lot of time just managing medical concerns and hospital policies. In fact until a women starts to push, nurses do not usually spend time in the labor room but rather monitor remotely at the nurses’ station. In my own experience as a doula, it is not unusual to attend a whole labor and never see the nurse touch mom in a non-clinical manner. She may move fetal monitors, take a woman’s temperature or feel her cervix by placing her fingers in mom’s vagina but never touch the mom outside of these tasks.

On the other hand, a doula’s primary focus is on the laboring couple. Her continuous care allows for her to respond quickly, make recommendations based on how labor is unfolding and provide immediate emotional and physical support. A doula sees natural birth all the time. She is familiar with the sights and sounds of normal labor and can often anticipate what a woman will want as she labors. She is trained to suggest position changes, relaxation methods and comfort measures. If a couple has taken a great birth preparation class they will have confidence and information, but that does not replace having someone there to answer questions and provide ongoing encouragement. A doula does not have to analyze a fetal heartbeat, administer antibiotics or enforce hospital policies.

The relationship between an expectant couple and their doula is also different than with their nurse whom they generally meet the day of delivery. The doula has likely been working with the couple prenatally and often has been laboring with a couple in their home prior to arriving at the hospital. The doula will know the couple’s desires, their concerns and even the dynamics of the couple’s relationship.  She knows if a relative is someone that should be in the labor room. She knows that mom wants to have the cute nursing bra on for pictures even if she says she doesn’t care at the time. A doula is there through as many shift changes as it takes which offers stability when other faces may be changing and a doula will stay with a laboring woman so her partner can get coffee, check on older children or get some food. In the weeks after the baby is born, the doula is available to talk, to answer questions, and to process concerns.

Despite all the things I just listed that doulas do, a nurse’s role is just as important. The way most hospitals operate means that the labor nurse is the primary liaison between a couple and their care provider. She will be the one calling the OB and passing along the details of the labor, she will be the one that makes ongoing analysis of baby’s wellbeing.  In the rare event that something needs immediate medical attention, it may seem as though the OB is swooping in to save the day…but it will be the nurse that calls the OB to come. Part of a nurse’s training is being a patient advocate. The American Nurses Association includes in its definition of nursing  “advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.” Nurses can advocate for a couple’s expressed treatment preferences which is a very distinct and different role from that of a doula who can help couples express preferences, consider options and facilitate communication, but not actually advocate for a couple or act as a liaison.

I remember working with an excellent nurse at one birth where the care provider and the couple were in disagreement of the use of a routine intervention that was part of hospital policy.  The nurse pulled a chair up to the bed and told the laboring couple exactly what their options were, what could be expected to happen with each choice and how to say no in a manner that would be most respected by the care provider.  She also took it one step further and told the couple that she would speak to the care provider on their behalf and that she could be the one that told the care provider that they had declined. While this may not be a common scenario, a nurse can choose to do this as part of her job; a doula cannot.

The roles of the labor nurse and the doula will overlap in some areas which actually works out well as very few couples will complain about extra support, but they also have marked differences. Ideally the roles should complement each other, which is why laboring couples need both. With a great nurse and a great doula a couple can expect to have an empowering birth.

 

Maria Pokluda has been a doula serving the Dallas/Ft. Worth area since 2004.   She has a Masters in Political Science and while she finds that slightly funny, she feels her degree helps her work with all types of people and she can now appreciate those statistics classes as she reads the research about evidenced practices in maternity care.  In the last 10 years, Maria has attended hundreds of births, helped form Dallas Birth Network and in 2013 and 2014,  she was voted Best Doula by North Texas Child Magazine. (Maria has recently co-written the Birth Boot Camp Doula program and can’t wait to start training Birth Boot Camp Doulas.)   Maria has been married to Brian for 18 years and they have 4 children, each with a very different birth story ranging from one with all the bells and whistles in a hospital to a homebirth.  

* Tumblin A, Simkin P. Pregnant women’s perceptions of their nurse’s role during labor and delivery. Birth. 2001;28(1):52–56. [PubMed]

 

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Birth Boot Camp Announces …. Birth Boot Camp DOULA

Birth Boot Camp has been growing and maturing and we couldn’t be happier with our journey so far. Today we have a special guest post and announcement by our very own founder, Donna Ryan. Keep reading to find out the next project we are embarking on in our mission to help prepare couples for natural birth! Read more

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