So you are thinking about becoming a Doula.....  

Overwhelmed and confused where to go from here? Have the passion and desire to help other women through the childbearing year but don't know how to go about it? Here is a little step-by-step guide that will hopefully help you.  

First contact local doulas in your area, set up a time with them face-to-face and pick their brain. Ask challenges they face as a doula in your area, how they became a doula, training program they choose and why, do they do doula mentoring, average doula rate for your area, etc. Become familiar with all the doulas within a 2hr radius.  

Network with other birth professionals (doulas, midwives, childbirth educators, LC's) in your area, look for the nearest doula network, and contact Le Leache League chapter, ICAN Chapter and other birth group chapters.  Attend meetings and get to know other birth activists.  

Watch the following documentaries to learn more about the current status of the maternity health care:
The Business of Being Born
Orgasmic Birth
Attending Birth
Pregnant in America
 

Read the following books:
Special Women: The Role of the Professional Labor Assistant by Paulina Perez
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Born in the USA by Marsden Wagner
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Birth: The History of How We Were Born by Tina Cassidy
 

Get to know about your local hospitals and birth centers. Find out if they have midwives on staff, do they offer water birth, what their c-section, induction, epidural, vbac, vaginal twin, rates are. Then find out about practices that serve each hospital and their individual rates for c-section, induction/augmentation, vbac, epidural, etc. 

Research the various doula training programs. There are many to choose from! Just a few are: Birth Arts International(BAI), Childbirth International(CBI), CAPPA, AVIVA, Birthing From Within, DONA, Birth Works, ICEA, Christian Childbirth Association, etc. Remember you can train but you do not have to certify with any organization; however if the area you live in is heavily populated with doulas and there is a lot of competition certification may be necessary.  

Join the doula networking site http://www.alldoulas.com/  

Good luck on your journey to empowering women!    

Towards Better Birth,
Cindy

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