As a professional doula, you might wonder if you should also become a childbirth educator. After all, both sort of go hand in hand. You might also be wondering if you need to become a childbirth educator to teach classes. After all, don’t doulas have extensive training in childbirth?
While not all doulas become childbirth educators, some find it beneficial to their career. Here’s what you need to know:
Should Doulas Become a Childbirth Educator?
Every doula’s career path is a unique one. Some doulas jump right in, attend many births, and have a schedule which allows that. For other doulas, the passion for childbirth support is strong. However, their schedule only allows for attending a certain number of births per year.
For the former, becoming a childbirth educator can allow them to provide unique prenatal education to their clients. More than what a doula provides, but not requiring them to also take a separate childbirth class.
For the latter, if they become a childbirth educator, they can expand their birth work without adding more on-call time. By scheduling classes, they get to spend more time doing birth work, even if it is not attending more births.
Does a Doula Need to Become a Childbirth Educator to Teach Childbirth Classes?
Much like doula work, there are no federal regulations related to childbirth education. This means that anyone can teach a childbirth class regardless of their credentials. That said, much like doula work, certification and proof of training opens professional doors. Training also ensures you know what you are doing.
Doula training requires some basic understanding of the birth process and how to support families through it. This can help clients make informed decisions about their birth plan and support preferences.
However, to become a childbirth educator, the training is more in-depth in how birth unfolds. There is more focus on understanding anatomy and physiology, how to read scientific papers, and how to stay up to date with trends in birth.
In addition to knowledge, there is training in teaching methods, how to create an engaging class, and how to encourage critical thinking. Childbirth educators also learn how to create a class. They learn how to encourage open discussion, present information, and provide extensive resources for their class participants.
Doulas can absolutely relay information to parents about labor basics. However, childbirth educators have more knowledge specific to teaching rather than hands on support and birth planning.
If You Become a Childbirth Educator, Where Can You Work?
Like a doula, a childbirth educator can work independently, with an agency or organization, and they can also work for a hospital. Every hospital system is unique. Some work with RNs who have their childbirth educator certification. Others will work with any childbirth educator who is certified.
If you are an active doula, providing private, in-home classes is a great way to expand your current business. For those who work with or are interested in working with an agency or organization, being a certified childbirth educator allows you to offer another service for the company.
There are many doula agencies who strive to provide full-service care from prenatal education to birth support, and postpartum support.
Some doulas are also able to become employed through hospital systems, OB offices, midwifery offices, and birth centers. If not employed, they might be contracted with them to provide classes.
Is it Worth It to Become a Childbirth Educator?
This answer is going to depend on several factors, such as your career goals and interests. However, if you are looking to expand your current business offerings and knowledge, it is very worth it!
A childbirth educator can improve the birth experience for many families even if they cannot attend everyone’s birth. Knowledge is power. By providing comprehensive childbirth classes, you can give many parents the power to make informed decisions about their birth experience.