Become A Doula
Understanding the importance of a doula’s work and its sizeable impact on people’s lives, the Doula Association of Ireland (DAI) requires all members to have completed an approved training course.
The DAI does not currently offer its own professional Doula Training, but if you are interested in becoming a doula, listed below are a few trainings that fulfil our criteria for membership. Whether or not you plan on joining the Association upon completing a training, here you will find advice on choosing a training body and an overview of curriculum content to look for.
Postpartum Doula Training
Combined Birth & Postpartum Doula Training
If you would like to complete a training that is not currently part of our list, and believe it should be considered for eligibility, please get in touch with our membership secretary to ensure it qualifies you to become a member of the Doula Association of Ireland.
Choosing a Training Body
It is important to find a training that resonates with you, but when considering training as a doula, we advise you look for an in-person training that is at least two days long, whether you are undertaking birth or postpartum training.
We have preference for a combination of formal learning, hands-on practice, and group dynamics. Importance is also placed on develping technical as well as non-technical skills, such as a doula’s self-awareness and enthusiasm.
Doula trainings/certifying bodies often require additional self-study projects, a required reading list, and written dissertations to be completed. The DAI considers those to be important aspects of becoming a professional doula, as both research and effective communication are an essential part of a doula’s work.
We recommend that you look for a training that will equip you well to work here in Ireland, so the more culturally relevant the better. It is ideal to have an instructor who knows the medical system you will be helping clients navigate and who understands the local customs and challenges.
In addition, the DAI firmly believes in a doula’s commitment to a lifelong of learning. So we encourage our members to further their knowledge and skills by attending at least two CPD events per year and making use of our mentorship programme, where more experienced doulas share their learned experiences with newer members.
Curriculum Content Overview
- understanding basic anatomy of pregnancy
- normal physiological process of birth and how it can best be supported
- Signs of labour, phases, and stages
- caesarean birth
- Instrumental delivery
- different birth settings
- common discomforts of pregnancy
- comfort measures for labour and birth
- Pain relief options
- emotional changes and support during labour
- partner support during childbirth
- normal newborn characteristics and procedures
- possible complications of pregnancy and birth
- common interventions and concerns of the pregnant or birthing person
- Unexpected outcomes
- Prenatal contact
- How to provide the best evidence-based information
- History and development of the doula role
- how to support the new parent and other family members in recovery and in developing self-sufficiency
- understanding of basic newborn care
- basic understanding of the physiology of birth and typical interventions
- Understanding and working with cultural diversity
- Expected Adjustments and Normal changes in family dynamic
- Supporting the primary clients and their extended family
- Normal infant feeding cues and behaviour
- SIDS and safe infant sleep guidelines
- Baby settling and dealing with reflux and/or colic
- Basic breastfeeding support
- Basics of bottle feeding, including paced-feeding
- Suporting babies with additional needs
- Birth recovery ans self-care for new parents
- Understanding of noraml baby blues and postpartum mood disorders
- Food handling and practical support with meals
- Home organisation and practical tips
- Self-care for doulas
- Basic debriefing for doulas
- a doula’s scope of practice, ethics, standards, and limitations
- remaining up to date on evidence-based best practices
- providing local referrals and resources
- the basics of building and maintaining your new doula business
- contracts, paperwork, and record-keeping
- dealing with challenging situations and practising self-care as a doula
- Active listening and language choice
- Communication Skills and empathy
CPD & Events
The DAI offers a range of Continued Professional Development opportunities for Birth and Postpartum Doulas, usually held in February and September.
Want to stay up to date on our educational events?
Would I Be a Good Doula?
We believe that anyone who has the desire to become a doula, probably has what it takes to learn and develop the necessary skills. The beauty of this profession lies precisely in our diversity and individuality. Some of the main qualities of a doula are:
– a respect and fascination for pregnancy, labour and birth, or new babies and families
– a calling to whole-heartedly support people through a transformative life event
– a non-judgmental, empathetic listening ear
– and a desire to keep up to date on research and evidence-based information