Doulaing the DoulaBirth Doula Training and Certification

Childbirth For Professionals – Course Preparation

Preparation Tasks

Welcome to your Childbirth for Professionals Class! There are three tasks you can complete before our first class meeting.

ONE: Stages of Labor Chart:

Review the stages of labor and make a chart for each phase of the first stage of labor: Latent phase, Active phase, Natural Alignment Plateau (download this pdf handout), and Transition.  On your chart, have a section where you list possible answers to each of these questions:

a.    What is happening physically?

b.    How might the person in labor feel?

c.     What do laboring people usually need or want?

d.    How can the Labor Support Person (LSP) help?

Some sections will have lots of items while others will have only one or two.  You won’t be handing this in to me so make it useful to you – scribbling it on scratch paper is fine.  The goal is for you to focus on this material in an organized way and prepare for a group exercise.  If you are taking the in-person class, bring it with you. If you are taking the online class, you will use it to complete the First Stage of Labor Activity included in your learning supplies. 


TWO: Learn About A Prenatal Test And Tell The Rest Of The Class About It

In your confirmation email, each person will be sent a different prenatal test. Look up the answers to the questions about your test in your pregnancy book or online: March of Dimes or Hopkins Health  You don’t have to memorize it, just have it easily available and be familiar enough with it to explain it to someone else.

Please come to class prepared to answer these questions about your assigned prenatal test:.

  • What is this test for?
  • How is it done?  When is it done?
  • What is controversial about this test?   (Yes, there are controversies about all of these tests, even the effects of ultrasound!)
  • Who benefits the most from doing this test?
Born In The USA movie - png


THREE: Watch a Birth Video that Compares and Contrasts Birth Practitioners

“Born In The USA” is a PBS funded documentary that explores the perspectives of a Philadelphia obstetrician, JoAnne Armstrong, who delivers babies in a hospital; a Bronx based certified nurse midwife, Jennifer Dorhn, who runs an out of hospital birth center; and the home birth practice of Washington state licensed professional midwife, Heike Doyle. The film includes several births and is about an hour long. While the HIPAA practices are outdated, the rest of the film is still very relevant to how birth and decisions are made today. We will discuss the film in the class. Streaming rental is available here:

The cost is $3.99 per rental.  If this is a hardship for you, let me know and I will reimburse you.


BONUS: Detailed Reading on Epidural Pain Medication and Cesarean (surgical) Birth

Many times, new doulas are looking for accessible and accurate information about birth practices.  These epidural articles are from the Lamaze blog for professionals.  There are two posts for you to read, one from Henci Goer and the other from Dr. Michael Klein.

Epidurals: Do They Or Don’t They Increase Cesareans?

Epidural Analgesia – a delicate dance between its positive role & unwanted side effects (Part Three)


Deeper Reading on Cesarean Birth

These pdf publications on cesarean birth are from the Childbirth Connection, a reliable source for statistics and information for professionals and for parents. I’m attaching several short pdf articles on cesarean birth.  Choose the topics that will round out your knowledge on the subject.

A.  What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know About Cesarean Section is written for parents and goes through the basics of the procedure and its implications for future health

B.  Why Is the U.S. Cesarean Section Rate So High?  explores the myths we may believe about the procedure and its popularity.

C.  New Cesarean Prevention Strategies provides the information that we ought to know as professionals.

I am looking forward to meeting you and furthering your knowledge about birth!

I invite you to enjoy this “preparation phase” of your learning!  Your doula training really does start NOW!


Dr. Amy L. Gilliland, Phd