I am putting together some information on becoming a doula here. Perhaps you love the idea of supporting women in birth or perhaps a sister or friend or cousin is pregnant and wants you to come with her when she gives birth to her baby.
There are many ways to become a doula and you do NOT NEED to be certified in order to help a woman in labor. As my mentor in Russia said, “Being with women in birth is as old as humanity. No one needed to be certified to do this for hundreds of thousands of years!” That said, in our technological and accreditation-hungry age, many novice doulas feel better prepared if they have taken a training workshop before attending a birth. There are several large organizations which specialize in training doulas and childbirth educators. Each one has its own set of rules and its own philosophies of birth. You can learn more at their websites. The two biggest organizations are DONA and CAPPA, but that does not mean they are the best. Many of the smaller programs are wonderful, too.
Here are some resources if you are thinking of traveling this path.
For DONA International birth doula training workshops this summer, check out this web page with 69 offerings across the United States. You can also search in Canada or other locations at DONA’s website: http://www.dona.org/workshops/workshop_results.php?doulas=birth®ion=Show+All+in+US&start_month=06&start_day=07&start_year=2011&end_month=09&end_day=01&end_year=2011&sort=City&x=17&y=8&workshop_type=1
Birth Doula Skills Workshop, June 21-24, 2011 ABOUT BASTYR UNIVERSITY Bastyr University, located north of Seattle, Washington, is an accredited institution, internationally recognized as a pioneer in natural medicine. visit http://www.bastyr.edu or http://www.bastyrcenter.org.
CAPPA labor doula training workshops across North America: http://www.icappa.net/index.php?option=com_mc&view=mc&mcid=8
Birth Arts International workshops (and distance learning options): http://www.birtharts.com/classdates.htm#june
I wish you well on this path to helping women in birth!