DONA International as an organization has been training birth doulas since their inception in 1992. The philosophy of “a doula for everyone who wants one” resonates with so many people starting their journey. You can read more about the history of the organization here, and more about what makes DONA special here. DONA is the reason that I first met Robin, who has been training new birth doulas for a long time, and I personally connected with not just the mission of DONA, but also the approach to professional birth work and the focus on learning the evidence-based way to help birthing families.
If you would like to read more about the process of becoming a certified birth doula through DONA International, here is a link to a PDF of their overview of it. I will say that while it may seem like a whole bunch of steps, breaking it down into bite size chunks is helpful. Robin even created a Trello board for anyone working on the process to use, so check that out if you think that might help you. Being a certified birth doula is more than just paying your dues to keep the organization going. Maintaining certification shows your clients and the other professionals you work with that you are serious about being a birth professional and that you take continuing education courses to keep improving your skills and knowledge.
As someone who personally could not wait to devour every single book I could get my hands on about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, I was also really excited about the reading list. In fact, I was so excited that I finished all the required reading before I even went to my training; I might be a bit of an overachiever too. (It was completely unnecessary to have done that by the way.) While reading 7 books and 2 position papers might sound a little bit intimidating, I promise that you will absolutely learn important things from these books for your birth doula practice, and each group focuses on some aspect of doula work that will help you be better prepared and more focused in your practice and business. You also don’t have to purchase all of the books for your certification; you can check your local library to see if they are available. In her post about the DONA Postpartum Reading List, Robin covered a few strategies for picking which books to read too, so you may want to check that advice out too.
So without further ado, here it is presented with some affiliate links:
Required Birth Doula Reading for DONA Certification
- DONA International’s Position Paper: The Birth Doula’s Contribution to Modern Maternity Care by DONA International (2012, or later) (FREE)
- DONA International’s Position Paper: The Postpartum Doula’s Role in Modern Maternity Care by DONA International (2008, or later) (FREE)
Group 1 – Read at least ONE of the following:
Group 2 – Read at least ONE of the following:
The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: an All-Canadian Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything in Between by Ann Douglas (2012, or later)
Group 3 – Read at least ONE of the following:
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin (2008, or later)
Natural Hospital Birth: the Best of Both Worlds by Cynthia Gabriel (2011, or later)
Group 4 – Read at least ONE of the following:
The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins (2015, or later)
Group 5 – Read at least ONE of the following:
The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett (2005, or later)
Group 6 – Read at least ONE of the following:
The Doula Business Guide: Creating a Successful Mother Baby Business by Patty Brennan (2014, or later) (Note: While not a part of the required reading, they also have a companion workbook.)