Doula Training Class Description
Bay Area Doula Training program consists of five Saturday meetings in addition to the online self-study of the following lessons:
Lesson 1: Physiology and Anatomy of Birth
Do you know what triggers birth to begin? What is the chain of commands that takes place in our brain, or our hormonal system, and how this chain of commands leads to birth and to birth progress? As a birth coach, not only do you want to understand the physiology of birth, but you also want to be able to explain it to your clients. Many moms are more likely to learn and practice labor support tools when they understand how these are related to the physiology of birth and can support their birth progress. Understanding our emotional and physiological reaction to fear and pain, known as the Fear-Tension-Pain reaction, will assist you in coaching your clients to break through the FTP syndrome that leads to FTP of another kind- Failure to Progress. When teaching the anatomy of birth, our focus is always on your role as a coach.
Lesson 2: Prenatal Care and the Most Common Complications in Pregnancy and Birth
At the Birth Coach Method, we focus on prenatal coaching. We believe that you should use this time to build rapport, deepen your relationship, create intimacy with your clients, and earn your leadership position by coaching them for a while. We know that coaching comes before the performance, and continues throughout the experience of childbirth to increase satisfaction, and allow the best possible outcomes. This means that you need a body of knowledge about types of caregivers, medical tests and procedures, and common complications which might appear for your clients prenatally and during birth. This lesson is designed to give you a deeper understanding of these and to hand you the best coaching tools to coach your client around this topic.
Lesson 3: Stages and Phases of Labor
We encourage you to think about birth as a process and to be patient while allowing the body to do what it needs to do in its own pace. We also want you to know that birth has distinct stages and phases that differ from one another in their physiological and emotional symptoms, in length and in terms of labor progression. During these stages, the birthing mother feels and behave differently, and needs different types of coaching tools and comfort measures. As birth coaches, we hold a holistic philosophy and make no medical interventions, like vaginal exams. Therefore, birth coaches analyze the progress of birth by relying on the symptoms of these different phases in accordance with the time frame. This lesson is a must if you want to be able to analyze your client’s birth, use your tools appropriately, and together with your client make good decisions during birth.
Lesson 4: Early Phase of Labor
This lesson is the first of four practical lessons introducing the hands-on labor support tools and comfort measures to be used by birth coaches during birth. These are very practical lessons, and we made sure to accompany each one of these with images and videos to enhance your understanding and allow you to practice. These labor support tools and comfort measures are the core of the birth coach practice; therefore we encourage you to practice them until you own them, and are ready to lead your client confidently during birth.
The early phase is the longest phase, and the one usually spent with your client at home. We invested many hours to make sure we teach you everything you need in order to maintain supportive communication prior to your arrival at your client’s home and to continue coaching her with confidence after your arrival until it is time to bring her to the hospital. (Assuming she chose a hospital birth).
Lesson 5: Active Phase of Labor
This lesson is the second in our Hands-on Series, in which each lesson, from lesson 4 to 7, is dedicated to a different phase. The goal of lesson five is to help you become an expert in the physiological and emotional symptoms of the active phase of labor. This mastery will allow you to choose the right labor support tools and coaching techniques for this phase. By taking this class you will be able to help your client cope with the stronger contractions that are part of this phase, help her overcome moments of crisis, and most importantly – facilitate her labor progress.
Lesson 6: Transition Phase of Labor
Just as the name suggests, the goal of this lesson is to teach you how to coach, lead and support your client in the most intense phase of labor – Transition. This phase is the one in which your client is most likely to give up on her ideal birth experience, ask for an epidural or just stop being accountable for her birth and take decisions or actions that are clearly deviating from her wishes or are against her belief system. This is the phase that mothers are most in need of your leadership skills. In order to take the lead, you will need to think and act fast, as this is the most rapid phase in birth. We made sure to introduce the physiological and emotional symptoms of transition, to hand you tools to overcome moments of crisis, and to enrich you with labor support tools that you can practice as many times as you want with the video segment introducing the hands-on techniques for the transition.
Lesson 7: Second Stage of Birth Pushing and the Birth of the Placenta
This is the last lesson in our hands-on series, and it is dedicated to the second stage of birth- the delivery of the baby and the placenta. This phase is probably what gave labor its name- this is hard work for both the mother and her baby. By coaching the mother during this phase, you can make a huge difference; facilitating a change of positions can invite progress and make this phase a lot shorter and by being mindful and accountable about the moms’ perineum you can help the mother give birth with having intact perineum. You can inspire the whole medical team by creating a warm, quiet, and tranquil atmosphere to welcome the baby into the world.
Lesson 8 & 9: Common Medical Interventions in Labor and Delivery
We wish we could skip this and teach you how to support birthing moms and their partners and lead them all the way to healthy and active births. But in reality, birth management is the routine care these days in Labor and Delivery. Unfortunately, the medical model of care is accepted by the majority of birthing mothers, who are led to believe that it is lowering maternal and fetal mortality rates. We dedicated lesson 10 to the historical process of the medicalization of childbirth, but before that, lessons 8 & 9 are dedicated to introducing and understanding the most common medical interventions that might appear during your clients’ births. We provide you with the information, and with the coaching tools which you will work with when the situation calls for medical interventions. We want to reassure you that we strongly advise against advocacy or having a tug of war in labor and delivery between you and the medical team, and therefore we make sure to focus on the respectful and professional way of coaching around medical interventions.
Lesson 10: Pain, Fear, and the Medicalization of Birth
This lesson is a historical review of the rise of obstetrics-gynecology and the medicalization of birth. It is a common knowledge that women used to give birth at home, surrounded by other women in their community and being cared for by the town midwife. We can find references to this in the bible, in movies, in novels and poems. What most of your clients do not know is why and how did we end up giving birth in hospitals. Moreover, the spread myth is that maternal care is safer than the midwifery model when in reality there were other modern developments like blood transfusion, family planning, antibiotics, hygiene and sanitary conditions who made childbirth safer in the modern era.
This lesson will inspire you and strengthen you as a woman and as a birth coach. It will provide you with the information you need in order to conduct a knowledgeable discussion with your clients when they doubt themselves and rely on the information given to them by a medical authority.
Lesson 11: Relationships in Labor and Delivery
As a birth coach, you are in the business of group coaching; a couple is already a group, and you are working with couples. In the birth arena, there are more agents, like family members, best friends, medical caregivers, and the medical staff. Your birth clients will sometimes find themselves between a rock and a hard place, trying to navigate between their beliefs, wishes and needs and the other agents, and it is your role to coach them and resolve these situations. Most often these conflicts will show up around medical interventions or the philosophy of care that the caregivers hold. Having a tug of war at birth, or even during the prenatal period, is no service to your clients, as the mother can’t feel safe to give birth in this atmosphere.
Transformational coaches will tell you that it is all about relationships- with food, with money, with your profession, as well as with people around you. We dedicate lesson eleven to provide you with coaching tools around relationships, and we believe that practicing these tools will enable you to create teamwork with everyone involved at the birth, for the benefit of your birth clients.
Lesson 12: The Baby during Birth and in the Postnatal Period
The baby goes through major changes during birth and during the first few days of life. Understanding these in depth will help you support the parents when their concerns or goals revolve around their baby. With this knowledge, you will be able to be a resource and coach your clients around decisions that have to do with their newborn. In addition, you will know how to explain moments of emergency that might show up with the arrival of the baby in labor and delivery. The first few days after birth, when the baby is home, could be an overwhelming experience for the parents. Even when they have family support, they might still tend to rely more on their birth coach as a resource of information.
Lesson 13: Physiological and Emotional Changes in Postpartum
Your relationships with your birth client do not end right after birth. There is an obligatory one postpartum visit you pay your client at her home, preferably as soon after the birth, and sometimes even more than one. The purpose of this visit is to get a closure around the birth experience, to answer questions regarding the birth or to resolve emerging issues relating to breastfeeding or baby care. You also need to know how to asses your client’s well being, and by this, we mean the level of support she has her physiological and emotional healing.
In this lesson we went far beyond providing you with the basic knowledge of postpartum changes and concerns, to include coaching tools around unexpected outcomes like the loss of a child or the loss of the dream of a healthy and perfect child.
Lesson 14: Breastfeeding Basics
This lesson is an introduction to breastfeeding. As a birth coach, you will sometimes be called to coach your clients around the decision of whether or not to nurse their baby. If your client chooses to nurse, then you have the honor of supporting her at the very first experience of nursing her baby as soon after the delivery. The research shows that a successful beginning of breastfeeding is a prediction for a long and satisfying nursing experience for both mother and baby. When difficulties emerge around breastfeeding, there is a great chance that you will be the one to give first aid, before the mother contacts a breastfeeding specialist. For all these reasons and more we thought that you want to be knowledgeable about breastfeeding.
Lesson 15: Establishing Your Birth Coach Practice
Congratulations! You are done with your training program, and it is time to establish your practice. We found that just as much as our students are excited and passionate about birth, they are intimidated by the idea of going into business. In this lesson, we are coaching you to become a successful birth support practitioner. Here you will find information about networking, elevator pitch, how to find clients and turn them into referees, your basic package of marketing tools, relationship with a back-up doula, liability insurance, insurance claim codes and more.
- Complete all 15 audiovisual classes and the studying materials attached to each class.
- Complete the workshop’s reading list and study through the program’s resource guide.
- Actively participate in the five Saturday classes.
- Attend 25 hours supporting birthing clients at the hospital.
- Submit a full report of three births you have attended.
- Pass the final exam- the exam consists of a case study which you will analyze, and a terminology quiz.