The value of certification status is fiercely debated among birth workers. I often hear people complaining about the time and expense involved with completing doula certification. They often do not see a need to get certified, especially if they are practicing doulas with a steady stream of clients. Here are 4 reasons why certification matters.
“Doula” is an unregulated profession with no state or federal oversight. Anyone can call themselves a doula, even someone with no formal training, education, or experience. Today, consumers have more tools than ever to research who they hire, and it is estimated that 88% of consumers spend time researching before selecting a doula. They often come to interviews asking about advanced training, certifications held, and experience. Being backed by a major certifying organization lends credibility to doulas and assures people seeking doulas that they are hiring a qualified individual.
Doulas are not medical personnel and do not perform medical tasks or make medical decisions for their clients -- at least they shouldn’t. When a doula acts outside of her scope of practice and her client suffers injury, the doula may be found liable for damages. Untrained doulas do not always understand what is within their scope of practice and what is outside of scope. In a quest to make one practice more exotic than the next, an untrained doula may inappropriately use tools and techniques that may harm the client. Quality training by a reputable organization defines what is considered inside and what is outside of the scope of practice. Acting within scope, protects clients and doulas.
Successful completion of training and certification produces more confident practitioners. Doulas who have undergone formal training understand birth from a variety of viewpoints and know how to competently serve individuals and clients. Professionally trained and certified doulas have often received hands-on instruction and are frequently involved in ongoing education.
It’s Worth the Investment
If you aren’t willing to invest in your education and your credentials, why should a consumer invest in you? Ongoing professional development makes you a more skilled doula. When you hold a certification, an organization stands behind you and certifies that you have successfully completed the program and have demonstrated the skills necessary to provide physical and emotional support to the families you serve.
Kira Kimble is a certified doula and doula trainer for Birth Arts International. She travels throughout the country offering doula training as part of Birth Arts International’s Doula Certification Program. To sign up for a doula workshop, visit TrainWithKira.com
If you would like to bring a doula training workshop to your area, email Kira at 4myDoula@gmail.com
Last week, Charlotte was in the path of Hurricane Florence. The whole city was in a panic, preparing to be without electricity for several days or even weeks! I stocked up on non-perishables, made sure we had flashlights and batteries. Then I took a trip to our local library. If we were going to be cooped up without WiFi, I wanted to make sure we had plenty of reading material!
One of the books I picked up was Lady Day and Mister by Amy Novesky. It was an unexpected look at the life of Billie Holiday. My 9-year-old was already familiar with Lady Day and had even dressed up as her during her school's celebration of Black History Month last year. We had only known her as a singer. We did not know about the special relationships she had with her dogs and how they traveled with her. It was fun to get a glimpse of this Hollywood Star and her personal life. It brought Billie Holiday to life and made her relatable.
Living the JACK'd Life
I am a certified birth doula (BAI) in Charlotte, NC . I provide information and support to pregnant individuals and couples so they can have satisfying and empowering births. I am a married mother of 4 trying to navigate life, unafraid of sharing my truly JACK'd up missteps.