Virtual trainings for doulas and childbirth educators

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Wow, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing all of us to stretch in all the ways. We're learning a lot of new skills, and finding ways to keep working, connecting and growing from home. Fortunately, doulas and childbirth educators are great at adapting to new circumstances!

To support birth workers around the world, we are offering online DONA approved birth and postpartum doula trainings, along with virtual Lamaze childbirth educator seminars.

We know that the world needs doulas and childbirth educators more than ever before, and trainings should go on. Our trainers have expertise in using online platforms to keep your live training interactive, fun, bonding and full of real-life wisdom to help you in your birth career. Students tell us they've been impressed by how much they enjoyed the online training experience, even if they didn't think they liked to learn virtually.

Here are some answers to the questions we hear most, along with information to help you prepare for your virtual doula workshop or childbirth educator training.

FAQs ~ online trainings for doulas and childbirth educators

online postpartum doula training

Q. What kinds of trainings to do you offer?

We offer both virtual and in-person options for three types of training: birth doula (attends births), postpartum doula (takes care of families in the weeks and months after birth), and Lamaze childbirth educator (teaches families in the classroom about birth). Some people specialize in just one area and others take two or three trainings.


Q. What will my virtual training be like? 

A. The photo here is an actual screenshot from one of our virtual postpartum doula trainings. We use the Zoom platform, which allows us to interact, brainstorm on a virtual "white board," watch videos, break into small groups for activities, and more. Our online birth and postpartum doula trainings and virtual Lamaze trainings are live, engaging and fun. The doulas and educators tell us they're amazed by how bonded and connected they feel to each other and their trainer. Most of all, our online doula trainings and virtual Lamaze workshops prepare you for the real work of being a doula or childbirth educator.

Q. Do I need to have a lot of tech skills? I'm nervous!

A. Zoom is really easy to use. You just need a smart phone or a laptop with a camera, and you'll download the Zoom app. We'll give you a link to log on for the training, and that's about all you need to know! Your trainer will offer a quick Zoom tutorial on things like muting and unmuting yourself, and changing the way you see the other participants and your trainer on the screen. Still nervous? Just ask your trainer to do a special login with you before the online doula workshop or Lamaze training starts, so you can get familiar with the technology. We're always happy to doula you through!


Q. I don't live in (or near) the city listed for the online training. Can I still take the virtual training?

A. Yes! You can take one of our virtual trainings from your home in any city in the world. (So far, our furthest virtual student lives in Lagos, Nigeria.) The cities you'll see listed are where the trainings were originally scheduled.


Q. What are the hours of the virtual training? 

A. Virtual postpartum doula workshops generally run 8:30 - 5:30 p.m., and online birth doula workshops and Lamaze childbirth educator trainings run 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. There is a half hour break for lunch time at 1 p.m.

Please double-check the time zone listed for the training you choose, and check the timing of your exact workshop on the registration page.


Q. How do I know if my training will be in-person or virtual? 

A. You'll know when you register if you are signing up for a virtual or in-person training. The only way an in-person training would switch to virtual would be if there was a major shift in pandemic conditions.


Q. What equipment and conditions do I need to have for a virtual doula training or Lamaze educator seminar?

You'll need a cell phone or a laptop with a camera, able to download the Zoom app. If you can't get sound through your cell phone or computer, you can use the phone/laptop for video and also dial in for sound by telephone. You'll need a stable internet connection.

A laptop is much better than a cell phone (for example when we do activities that require you to type in the chat box, and also so you can see the other participants better throughout). ChromeBooks can be a little quirky so it's better to have a regular laptop if you have the option, but a ChromeBook will work OK if needed.

DONA International requires that you are alone in a room for the entire training, with the camera on. That means no other adults or children can be with you or behind you on the screen. Nursing babies can visit to nurse — expect the other doulas to melt a little when they see your squish in your arms. 🙂 These guidelines seem to work very well, so we ask that you follow them for the online Lamaze childbirth educator training too.

For the birth doula workshop, there is one four-hour stretch where you will need a demo model to attend the training with you, so you can practice hands-on skills. See below for those details.


Q. Are there any in-person requirements for a doula workshop? 

No, both the postpartum doula and birth doula trainings can be completed 100% online. The worskhop is the first step toward DONA International certification, and you can find the full postpartum doula certification requirements on the DONA International website. But don't worry, we'll explain the certification steps in detail during the training. You can start working as a doula right away after your training, while you complete the rest of the certification requirements.


Q. For the online Lamaze childbirth educator training, do I also need in-person training? 

No, just as with the doula workshops, the Lamaze training can be fully completed online. Next steps after the training include writing your curriculum and studying for the Lamaze exam.


Q. How will I learn hands-on skills at the birth doula workshop? 

A. We've got you covered. There is a four-hour stretch during each birth doula training where you will need a demo model/partner to practice hands-on skills (1:30 - 5:30 p.m. on the Sunday of the workshop, unless otherwise noted). This person can be of any gender and it is OK if they are pregnant. It should be an adult or a very mature older teenager. You'll get to practice hands-on comfort measures and techniques for malpositioned babies. It's been working remarkably well, because we're live and in real time together. Both the doulas and the demo models seem to love it.

If you cannot find a demo model, you can also attend the hands-on portion of any of our future virtual trainings (typically offered twice a year).

Another option if you cannot find a demo model is that we can also authorize you to do an in-person training in your home community with a DONA certified doula, or a certified childbirth educator (approved certifications, such as Lamaze International or ICEA). Expect that if you do the hands-on skills with someone else, you'll probably need to pay them. If a DONA certified doula does this mentoring for you at no cost, they can earn contact hours toward recertification. We'll work with you to figure out options! It's our goal for you to become certified, so count on us as partners.


Q. Does the online birth doula training still include Intro to Birth and Breastfeeding for Doulas? 

Yes, these two elements will be offered virtually along with the basic doula training. You will still complete three of the requirements needed for certification (childbirth education requirement, birth doula workshop, and breastfeeding requirement — full list of requirements can be accessed on the DONA International website). You can start working and charging for your services right away after the training, while you are completing the rest of your certification requirements. As a side note, the breastfeeding training offered with the birth doula workshop also counts toward certification as a postpartum doula.


Q. Will I receive a certificate after the workshop? 

Yes. You'll receive a certificate of completion after your online postpartum or birth doula workshop, as well as after a Lamaze virtual training. Birth doulas who don't complete the hands-on portion of the training with a demo model will also need the certificate of hands-on training to complete their certification, along with other DONA International requirements. (Check the DONA International website for a full list of birth doula certification requirements and postpartum doula certification requirements.) Lamaze childbirth educators will need to study for and take the Lamaze International certification exam. Remember that you can start working as a doula or childbirth educators right away after your training, while you are completing the rest of your certification requirements. Even with COVID-19 restrictions, most hospital will accept your training certificate to allow you to attend births.


Q. Will you talk about COVID-19 and virtual doula-ing? 

Definitely! This is a unique time in the history of birth and postpartum doula support. Most areas of the United States have opened back up to allow doula support. We'll talk through the current situation, give an overview of virtual doula best practices, and connect you with resources where you can learn more. We'll also cover the impact of COVID-19 on clients, and what protocol might be in place for their birth or postpartum time.


Q. With the online Lamaze childbirth educator training, will I be prepared to teach classes online and in-person? 

Yes! So many Lamaze educators had to scramble to quickly learn how to teach online when Covid-19 hit. You'll get to experience high-quality virtual learning and teaching right from the beginning. We'll explore how a wide variety of teaching activities can be adapted to either setting — virtual or in-person. You'll be in a unique position to consider offering virtual classes, in-person options, or a hybrid series for your own students. It's a crazy time and an exciting time all at once. We're in it together! Let's make the most of these unique opportunities.


Any other questions? Send them our way! Fill out our contact form and we'll get back to you just as soon as we can.

Let's get you registered, future birth pro!

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