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Colleges to Become a Doula: Info on How to Choose

A doula offers physical and emotional support to a pregnant woman and her family before, during and after childbirth. Most doula training programs are offered through community organizations and hospitals, though some colleges also include certificate programs for those wishing to become a doula. Professional certification for doulas is optional, but typically demonstrates knowledge, skills and competency.

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How to Select a Doula School

A few colleges offer doula certificate training programs for individuals interested in entering the supportive role. Students wishing to begin the practice may find a 2-day workshop provides the necessary education and knowledge to assist a new mother with delivery, infant support and postpartum expectations. These programs may include practical experience in a volunteer capacity at an affiliated hospital or clinic.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Professional certification
  • Specialized coursework
  • Transferrable credits

Professional Certification

Those interested in providing private doula services may benefit from earning professional certification. Organizations offering doula credentials typically provide additional training courses in areas such as prenatal and infant massage therapy, childbirth education or high-risk pregnancy. Some may require previous doula experience, such as that obtained during a certificate program.

Specialized Coursework

Students that wish to broaden their knowledge and obtain multiple credentials may benefit from enrolling in a college that offers doula, nutrition and counseling training within a larger midwifery program.

Transferrable Credits

Students currently enrolled or wishing to continue their education in a medical or health-related degree program may be able to apply credit from a doula certificate program toward the degree. Applicants seeking to earn a degree are encouraged to verify that college credit may be transferred from a doula course or workshop to the school they're enrolled in. Since many doula programs are offered during weekend sessions, the workshops may not interfere with a larger degree program.

Doula Program Overview

Certificates for Birth or Labor Doulas

Workshop and training opportunities for birth and labor doulas focus on preparation for childbirth. Students learn the physical and emotional support strategies often necessary during the birth process. Birth doulas can be responsible for relaying information to the expectant mother, as well as ensuring that the birthing experience is as pleasant as possible. Students in these programs also study topics like:

  • Pain management
  • Communication skills
  • Fetal development

Certificates for Postpartum Doulas

Assistance with breastfeeding, general housework, mood disorder management and infant care are typically the expected responsibilities of the postpartum doula. Training programs for postpartum doulas concentrate on subjects like:

  • Childbirth process
  • Hormonal levels
  • Breastfeeding
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