5 Tips for Choosing an Online Doula Training Program (Plus a Few Favorites)
At the time this post is published, it’s June of 2020, several months into an unprecedented pandemic. As with other industries, birth workers have not only been impacted, they’ve adapted so they are still able to support their clients and students. Babies are still being born and new parents are now, more than ever, in need of support.
One thing that cannot be easily replaced during a period of mandated social distancing is live training workshops. Up until now, aspiring birth workers often looked to online training options if going to a live weekend workshop was prohibitive due to cost or distance. But with live gatherings in and of themselves being a risk to our health at the moment, it’s hard to know right now not only when live workshops will resume, but whether they will be safe to attend.
If you’re currently considering an online doula training workshop and overwhelmed by your choices, here are five quick tips to help you narrow down your list:
1) Make a list of what’s important to you in an online training program. What’s your personal philosophy about birth preparation and birth itself? Is price a big factor? Is continuing education and recertification important to you?
2) Look at the experience of the trainer. Longevity can be important to you, but also look at the kind of professional background they have, as it will impact the tone and focus of the training.
3) Can you see an overview or a listing of the modules for the training or course? This can help you understand what you’ll learn. Will the course content check off a lot of boxes for you? How does the content compare with other programs you’re considering?
4) One way to get to know more about an organization is to search for free online content they’ve created. Do they have a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel or have they been guests or contributors on anyone else’s program or blog? What are they sharing on social media?
5) What are others saying about an organization? Read their website testimonials or look at what people are saying about them in doula Facebook groups. Listen to what both their evangelists and critics are saying.
Today, I’d like to share some online training options with you. Most are for birth or postpartum doula training, but there are a few teaching resources for you as well as some business help. I’ve known many of the trainers for 10 or more years, either as a student of theirs or as a colleague, but I’ve also met some of the owners who became guest contributors on Inspired Birth Pro. I’ll share links to their programs as well as any guest posts they’ve contributed to IBP.
ABG Postpartum Doula Training – Long-time postpartum doula Allison Coleman recently launched a self-paced online version of her postpartum doula training and certification program that she began offering in 2015. The training focuses on three main areas: The significance of Postpartum Doula support, practical hands-on support techniques, and the steps on how to create a business. Take advantage of the program’s special pricing!
bebo mia – Based in Canada, bebo mia offers a wide range of online training certifications. In addition to their maternal support practitioner course which encompasses doula training to support clients through fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum, bebo mia offers courses to be certified as a childbirth educator, fertility specialist, infant sleep educator, pre and postnatal fitness, and breast/chestfeeding educator.
Another valuable course is their Diverse Families Certification which helps educate and prepare birth workers to be a supportive ally to clients of different races, class, sexual orientation, gender, ability, body size, and family structure. Finally, bebo mia offers a monthly membership program to help teach and support doulas to grow a sustainable business.
- Guest blog posts: How to become a doula: A Quick Guide from the #bebobabes, Love to Doula but Hate to Sell? 3 Simple Strategies for Loving Both
Better Birth Graphics – Lauren McClain offers a number of beautiful printable resources on a variety of topics related to pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum in her online shop. These are perfect for client handouts and childbirth education classes. She also offers resources on breech babies, including a certification course that helps you familiarize yourself with the options for women with breech babies.
- Guest blog post: How to Help Clients with Breech Babies
Birth Arts International – Demetria Clark is a midwife and herbalist and has been offering live and distance learning options for 20 years. You can find training and certification programs to be a birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, breastfeeding educator, or midwife assistant, and there are additional training courses available for bereavement support, aromatherapy, anatomy, nutrition, and business.
- Guest audio post – Client Attraction for Birth Professionals
Birth in the Know – For postpartum doula training and mentoring, long-time postpartum doula and trainer Betsy Schwartz offers the Fourth Trimester Journey Course. Postpartum Doula certification is also available through Contemporary Doula International. Contact Betsy directly (email found at the link above) for a discounted rate.
You can find additional courses on communication, fourth trimester, adding fun to learning about birth, and more on Betsy’s course portal and you’ll find her board game, Down the Canal, on Amazon.
- Guest blog posts: Ten Secrets to Being a Successful Postpartum Doula, The Business of Being a Postpartum Doula
Grow Your Birth Business – Emily Fontes – birth pro, graphic and web designer, and business coach – is currently offering two courses: Learn how to setup one of the most popular CRM systems for your doula businesss with Dubsado for Doulas, and finally get the help you need to get your website ranked at the top of Google with the Simple SEO Keyword Toolkit.
Hypnobabies – Become a Hypno-Doula and learn how to support Hypnobabies students by learning more about hypnosis for childbirth and the Hypnobabies method. In addition, you can visit (and refer your clients to) the Hypnobabies store where there are a variety of downloadable hypnosis tracks to support your clients through pregnancy and postpartum, with specific tracks for twin pregnancy, cesarean and vbac preparation, birth partners, and even peaceful sleep!
Inspired Birth Pro – If you’re new to this website, you will find a ton of business tips for growing your birth business, free resources in the library, and a variety of business forms for birth doulas and other resources for birth professionals in the shop.
Mamas on Bedrest – Darline Turner’s AntePartum Doula Training Program gives students the tools to support clients on bed rest.
- Guest blog posts – What is an Antepartum Doula?, Midwives and Doulas: A Historical Perspective
New Beginnings Doula Training – Rachel Leavitt is a labor and delivery nurse who offers a 100% online birth doula certification program. A unique aspect is the program’s low-cost monthly subscription that lasts as long as it takes for you to become certified.
- Guest blog posts: Don't Sell Doula Services, Help Support Childbirth, Doula Websites as a Community Resource
Tiny Love Doula Training – Created by midwives and former birth and postpartum doula trainer Jessica Atkins and Kristen Downer, Tiny Love Doula offers certification for both birth and postpartum doulas.
- Guest blog post – The Birth Doula's Role in Preventing the Spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections on the Job
Do you have a favorite online program you'd love to rave about or find out what other programs birth pros like? Comment below and share!