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Interviewing A Doula Who Isn't Certified

I've read several "interviewing doulas" guides today and I noticed the 1st question invariably centers on certification. Well what of the uncertified doula?

Many questions will actually remain the same but there are a few things you'll want to ask a doula who hasn't certified with a doula organization. The 1st question is "Why?" There are several reasons a doula may choose not to certify.

It may be that the cost of certification is prohibitive. She may be planning to certify down the road when it is affordable for her. It may be that the doula in question hasn't found a certifying organization in line with her philosophy of birth work. Some doulas may not want to be limited to just doula work if they have other training say as an herbalist, lpn,etc. Or she may have been doula-ing for years already and sees no need to pay for a piece of paper.

Depending on her reasons for not certifying you'll want to ask other questions.

If certification is not financially feasible right now, is she passing the savings on to you? Is she completing the portions of the certification process (such as reading, observing, building her network) that don't require a financial commitment? Is she spending money on marketing, building a lending library or other learning opportunities?

What if she hasn't found the right organization to certify with yet? You'll want to find out what it is she likes or dislikes about the different organizations. What is her philosophy?

What if she objects to the scope of practice of a particular certifying agency? Find out what skill set she has and how she aquired the knowledge that she feels is outside the scope of practice. Ask what her personal scope of practice is and why she practices that way. Ask yourself if you want/need her skill set.

Suppose she has been a doula for years. Ask for references. If she's been around for that long she should have references not only from other clients but from other birthworkers.

I'm sure there are other good questions. I'd love to hear from you if you are uncertified or if you have interviewed or hired an uncertified doula.


Book Review - "So That's What They're For"

Just wanted to pass along my review of the book "So That's What They're For" by Janet Tamaro.

This is the best breastfeeding book I have read yet. It's so down to earth while presenting clinically accurate info. Was a bit heavy handed regarding alcohol/drug intake while nursing but other than that, GREAT! Everybody who works with mothers and mothers-to-be should have several copies for lending.

I was pleased to see two new books at my local library also. They've aquired a copy of "Adventures in Tandem Nursing"

I haven't read this one but I think its great the Library has recognized how common it is to find yourself contemplating the idea anyway.

They also have a new edition of "Hypnobirthing: The Monegan Method"


dads, doulas and birth

Been thinking about dads and birth lately. Started with this article where Orlando Bloom joked that he wanted an epidural during his wife's recent birth.

Then @nashvillebirth tweeted a link to her article about doulas and dads .

And who can forget Childbirth Ed .


"I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin" no babies"

The LA times recently spotlighted a study led by Dr Michael Klein which shows most women don't know much about childbirth.

In particular over 15% of the 1,318 women who were part of the study answered "I don't know" to 8 questions about the risks and benefits of 3 common interventions: epidural anethesia, cesarean section, and episiotomy. While much of the commentary I read seems to point the blame for this ignorance on the women themselves I believe Doctors must bear a large portion of blame. Doctors practice with an obligation to provide informed consent and informed refusal to their patients.

It is interesting to note that fewer women under the care of midwives gave "I don't know" as a response.

In a follow up piece I'll shed some light on the interventions that recieved IDK responses.