I had the privilege to spend time this past weekend with the amazing Jenn Fontaine. She’s a DONA Birth Doula Trainer, but also is one of THE busiest certification package reviewers for DONA International.

When you complete all your requirements and you send in your completed certification package, it gets reviewed personally by an approved ‘reviewer’. I thought I’d ask Jenn about the top 3 most common mistakes she sees so I can help you to avoid them!

Here they are:

1 – Arrive at the onset of active labour

DONA wants to make sure you’ve been able to spend enough time with your clients in labour to be able to gain some valuable experience. For this reason one of the rules for your birth experiences is that you arrived at ‘the onset of active labour’. What this means is that if you met your client at the hospital and they were 8-9 cms dilated, this birth won’t count. Now let’s say you met your client at their home and then you spent 5-6 hours with them there and THEN followed them to the hospital where they were found to be 7-8 cms upon arrival. There is a very logical assumption that you were with them at the onset of active labour, even though there wasn’t a vaginal exam performed at home. Most births are long, so this doesn’t usually occur, but don’t submit a birth if you weren’t with them during active labour. Do another birth for more experience.

2 – Perinatal Health Provider Form

One of the other requirements of certification is to sit down with a perinatal healthcare provider and chat with them about the doula role. Following this chat, there is a form to be completed by this provider. This is NOT to be filled out by a doctor or nurse at a birth you attend. The goal of this requirement is to give you the opportunity to sit down with people and chat about the doula role, scope, benefits, value, etc. Part of growing our profession is that we are getting out there and spreading the good word about doulas. This gives you a structured opportunity to think about what you’d say and practice how to do this. Examples of great people to sit down with are chiropractors, naturopaths, massage therapists, midwives (in their clinic, not at a birth), and anyone else who regularly engages with expectant or new parents.

3 – Watch a Business Webinar

It’s easy to miss this little bit. This requirement specifies BUSINESS but lots of people miss that word and watch another DONA webinar. This requirement is to make sure you’re also gaining the valuable business info that is necessary in running a doula practice. Be sure you’ve watched one of the DONA BUSINESS webinars that can be found here to fulfill this requirement.

Hopefully these 3 ideas will help you to accurately complete your certification the first time so that the first call you get from Jenn (or another packet reviewer) is to congratulate you! Good luck!

In our next installment we’ll discuss other great topics about certification including “why certify?”, “how to get births”, “filling out paperwork”, and much more.

Happy doulaing!
Stefanie Antunes

Doula School #WorldDoulaDomination #DoulaBusiness #DoulaSchool