Frequently Asked Questions
about CBI trainers
CBI trainers come from all walks of life. They have a wealth of training and experience in birth and breastfeeding work. All CBI trainers have completed the Childbirth International courses themselves and understand the challenges of studying by distance learning. They’ve also worked as birth professionals, some for more than 30 years, and run successful businesses. They’re leaders and activists in their own communities, striving to improve the health and well-being of mothers and babies across the world. You can read more about each trainer in the team biographies below.
Your trainer will be working from home, just like you. She may be living nearby, or she may be living in a different country from you. She’ll understand the challenges of communication across different time zones. She’ll be offering you her unique perspectives based on the work she has done within her own community.
All CBI trainers have previously completed and graduated from the Childbirth International course for which they provide training! Graduates who show exceptional reflection and communication skills, together with a high level of competency in their work and extensive experience in their community, are invited to apply for a trainer position. We don’t accept requests from students to become trainers – they’re always invited because of the skills they demonstrated while training.
CBI trainers go through a stringent interview process. As a group, we review each candidate to determine their potential fit with the team and their abilities in working with clients, community and future students.
When a potential trainer is offered a position they commit to a six-week-long training program. This introduces them to the assignments they’ll be required to review and assess. They learn how to provide effective feedback to students, how to resolve problems, and how to guide and motivate students through flexible learning.
Once they become a trainer, they are part of a strong team and have extensive peer group support. After their training, every new trainer is mentored by a more experienced team member for up to six months. This provides them with the opportunity to develop their skills in giving feedback to students and continually reflect on the work they are doing.
Once a month the whole training team participates in continuing education. Covering diverse topics on pregnancy, birth and parenting, as well as exploring adult education and distance learning techniques. CBI trainers always striving to improve skills and knowledge through continuing education.
The way CBI trainers support and guide you is one of the things that truly sets us apart. Usually, a trainer runs a workshop for a couple of days, and then you are on your own to complete all the certification requirements with minimal support. This is NOT the case with CBI!
Your trainer is with you on your journey from beginning to end. She’ll contact you within the first few days of you starting and introduce herself. She’ll see every assignment that you submit, and will give you guidance on each one. She’ll continue to support you for as long as it takes for you to complete your course and will still be there for any questions you have or for guidance after you graduate.
We believe the assignments you submit are crucial to your growth and development. They’re not simply a checklist that will be marked of by a nameless person in our admin team. Your trainer will give you suggestions and feedback on how you are progressing. She’s invested in your learning and truly cares about your success.
Adele is Italian and was always passionate about different languages and cultures. At 18 she travelled to the UK where she met a Korean boy who stole her heart, and they started a long-distance relationship while she completed her education as a conference interpreter and translator for English and Chinese. After graduation, Adele moved to China on a scholarship, and went on to spend several years working in marketing and administration for international companies.
While her work was demanding and exciting, Adele always felt it wasn't meaningful, and wanted to start a family. She married her sweetheart and moved to South Korea; a few months later Adele became pregnant and, living in a town away from the cosmopolitan Korean capital, was faced with the harsh reality that health care in her area tended to be high-intervention. Adele found she had to fight for her right to have the birth she envisioned and probably wouldn't have made it without extensively educating herself, as well as the invaluable support of a doula. She decided to pursue certification as a birth doula and childbirth educator, and chose CBI, as its focus on reflective practice resonated with her.
Ever since, Adele has been providing support to couples in Korea during such crucial and challenging times in their lives as pregnancy and birth, and believes she's found her true calling. Adele began working as a trainer for CBI in 2015. In addition to her birth professional qualifications, Adele trained as a HypnoBirthing Practitioner and has a Master of Arts in Conference Interpreting. Adele also speaks Italian, English, and Mandarin and is a mother of two.
Originally from the US, Amy began her journey into adulthood intending to go to law school and become a child advocacy lawyer. Since the time she was little, she held a special place in her heart for caring for the young and those whose voices weren't heard. Before she could finish that goal, she became a mother herself, and realized that child advocacy didn't just have to take place in a law office or a courtroom, but could take place in her own home. As a mother to four children, she had to learn to speak up for each of them, and they have taught her to speak up for herself at the same time. After hiring a doula for her second birth, Amy's passion for mothers and babies was born. She saw how much this intimate world was a place in which advocacy was limited.
Amy became a doula in 2003, and a childbirth educator in 2004, in order to help women discover their amazing abilities, to find their voices, and to consider the unspoken voices of their children. Since being introduced to Childbirth International, she's been delighted to expand her scope of practice by adding the role of postpartum doula and breastfeeding counselor. Amy was drawn to CBI because of the extensive training, and especially the focus on communication skills. As a CBI trainer, she loves the opportunity to get to know women from all over the world, to understand their own passions and concerns, and to help them grow in empathy and understanding. In addition to her qualifications with CBI, Amy is a Bradley Childbirth Educator, and is currently studying her Bachelor of Science in Midwifery. Amy has been a trainer with CBI since 2011 and is a mother of four.
April started as an acupuncturist with an interest in women's health. During her first pregnancy, she became increasingly interested in working with women during pregnancy. April decided to pursue becoming a doula after the birth, and since then has combined her two passions (birth and acupuncture).
April certified with CBI as a birth doula, childbirth educator, postpartum doula and breastfeeding counselor. The CBI philosophy and the importance of reflective practice has changed the way she interacts with everyone in her life (not just her clients) and has shaped who she is.
In addition to her birth professional qualifications, April holds an Advanced Diploma in Health Science (Acupuncture), a Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture), and a Certificate IV in Remedial (Oriental) Massage. April has been a trainer with CBI since 2011 and is a mother of four.
“CBI training is a one of a kind course that has helped shape who I am – and what better way to say thank you than to give back to students some of what I have been given!”
Growing up, and as a young adult, Bekah didn’t understand birth or babies (nor had much interest in them) and her half-hearted attempts to learn about either were largely unsuccessful... until she had her own! Bekah's passion for birth began in 2009 after she had a daughter by cesarean, in 2011 a son by HBAC (home birth after cesarean), and in 2016 had her second little boy in another HBAC. With parenthood came a steep learning curve, and her insatiable appetite for birth related literature was born. It soon matured into a desire to help other women experience... better.
After attending International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) meetings faithfully from almost the beginning of her area's chapter, the women there inspired and helped Bekah, and she wanted to be a part of it. Childbirth International was perfect for her needs and she loved the multi-cultural perspective and high quality of the learning program. In early 2012 Bekah began attending births, certifying as a birth and postpartum doula later that year. She's part of a fantastic doula group, Birth Chattanooga, but gets to spend most of her time with her three little people.
Bekah enjoys triathlons to stay motivated and to keep moving, loves sweet foods, and has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications that she has repurposed for birth work. Bekah finds it a privilege to be part of the global, growing birth community! Bekah has been a trainer with CBI since 2015 and is active in her community through being a leader of Doula Share.
“I really love connecting with my students and creating space for them to branch out and explore what being a birth professional means to them.”
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, USA, Bethany has had a lifetime love for the outdoors. Some of her favorite activities are camping and gardening, which she is often found doing with her 5 kids who are aged teenager to toddler. Bethany came to Childbirth International as a student, hoping to one day become a birth doula. As she began working her way through the 4 courses, a whole new world opened up and she quickly discovered that her greatest love was in working with postpartum and breastfeeding women.
Bethany loves joining women on their journeys into motherhood, helping to educate and support them to make their own choices, and watching them discover who they are as a parent. She has a background in parenting education where her philosophy is that learning happens in a relationship. She brings that relationship-focused learning style to CBI in her role as a trainer. Bethany really enjoys connecting with her students and creating space for them to branch out and explore what being a birth professional means to them. She's proud to be a trainer with Childbirth International!
Billie is the mother of 7 wonderful children and a Nana to some adorable grandchildren. She began supporting birthing families in 1984. After a traumatic first birth, Billie found a group of women who shared their happy birthing and breastfeeding experiences with her. As they became friends, they taught each other about healthy pregnancies, positive births and newborn care, and helped take care of each other through the childbearing years whilst supporting each other through their homebirths. It was woman-to-woman and family-to-family support that made a difference. In some ways it was a return to traditional birth and in others it was the beginning of our modern doulas. It also ignited her deep passion for studying the science of birth and what makes it safe and joyous.
During those years, Billie homeschooled her children, became a La Leche League leader, served as a lay pastoral counsellor and supported hundreds of families. Several years ago, she thought it would be a smart business decision to become a certified birth and postpartum doula. When Billie looked at the many programs offered, she wasn't sure any of them would teach her much that was new but she joined CBI because of the flexibility and training approach. She was so thrilled to be wrong!! CBI provided a comprehensive education with an emphasis on reflection along with an international community that added richness and depth. As an elder doula and childbirth educator in her community, she has seen how an education with CBI lays the foundation for being a more effective birth professional.
Billie continues to serve at homebirths, facilitate a peer-support group for mothers who've had a traumatic birth, and enjoy her growing family. In addition to her qualifications with Childbirth International, she has a Bachelor of Arts (Mathematics), was a La Leche League Leader for many years, founded the Kitchener Waterloo Doula Collective and is co-founder of Birth Trauma Ontario. In Billie's current role, she is really the engine behind CBI. She oversees all administration tasks, encourages our students and trainers, handles any problems that arise with aplomb, and holds the rest of us together.
Carmen has been in love with birth since she was very little. It started around the time her mother was pregnant with her little sister. 'I was two years old and was walking around the house with dolls in my shirt pretending to be pregnant too. I didn't stop there though; I even went so far as to hide in my room and 'give birth' to my babies. Ever since then I wanted to do something for birthing women.' When Carmen discovered doulas and the amazing work they do, she knew that it was what she was meant to do. She has since completed all four CBI certifications and offers Childbirth Education, Doula services, Postpartum services, Breastfeeding services, Mother Blessings, and Placenta Encapsulation to families in her area.
Carmen is the proud mommy of two beautiful boys and one adorable little cat. She has been married to her amazing husband since 2009. They live in the Metro Detroit area of Michigan and spend a lot of our time cheering on their local sports teams. Carmen loves reading, watching horror movies, sewing, crocheting, or doing pretty much any crafting, and spending as much time as possible with her family. She has volunteered for the Detroit Improving Birth rally, coordinated the Big Latch On for Southeast Michigan for three years, is a member of Metro Detroit Doulas, and founder of the Catholic Birth Network. In addition to her CBI qualifications Carmen has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing.
Claire has 3 children and has been working in the community as a nurse for many years. She joined CBI in 2011 for the birth and postpartum studies. Claire loves her work as a doula. She loves seeing a family grow through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum and greeting that new little soul who has come into the world. Claire enjoys helping families stand on that threshold between the worlds with dignity, courage and love, and then seeing who they become afterwards. It’s the only time that she's delighted to be woken at 3 a.m. and go to work!
Claire was drawn to Childbirth International, after realising that doula work was really where her heart lay, because of the flexibility and respect she felt from the first web page. She considers herself a practical person, so liked the common sense that was built in to the way the course was delivered and helping doulas after certification.
Becoming a trainer with CBI means she gets to help people achieve their dreams of supporting families - whatever those families look like - and considers this a joy and a blessing. In addition to her CBI qualifications as a birth and postpartum doula, and a trainer, Claire has 12 years of community nursing experience and a Bachelor of Nursing degree. Claire is also a core member of Birthrites, a cesarean support community group.
Fran realised her calling to work with pregnant and birthing women after working with a wonderful independent midwife in Newcastle, UK. Not long afterwards she moved to Bangkok, Thailand with her husband and undertook her training with CBI. Training as a doula with CBI opened so many doors for Fran and she has loved becoming part of the community of birth workers in Bangkok, whilst still remaining connected to CBI birth workers worldwide!
Fran currently has her own birth doula practice and coordinates a bumps and babies support group for pregnant women and new mothers. Many of the families she works with are expats and they often find that maternity care in Thailand is very different from their home countries. Although they may initially feel overwhelmed, watching families exploring their options for birth and going on to advocate for themselves and their babies fills Fran with happiness.
When the opportunity to take the trainer program came up she knew she had to grab it with both hands! Fran is excited to be on this new path as a CBI trainer, playing a small, supporting role in the journeys of students as they move into birth work. Within her local community, Fran is the coordinator for the Bangkok Mothers and Babies International's (BAMBI) Bumps and Babies Group and the New Moon Postpartum Support Group. BAMBI is a non-profit organisation which is part of the Childbirth and Breastfeeding Foundation of Thailand (CBFT). In addition to her Childbirth International qualifications, Fran has a Diploma in Health Science and is a certified HypnoBirthing practitioner.
Childbirth hadn't crossed Grace's mind until she unexpectedly became pregnant with her first child. Much of that pregnancy was spent frantically reading, trying to learn as much as possible before her baby arrived. What she didn't expect was that she would fall in love with birth. 'I couldn't get enough of birth stories! After our third child arrived, my husband suggested that I become a doula. At first this was going to be a stepping-stone on the way to becoming a midwife. Instead, doula work became my passion.'
After training through another organization and practicing for four years, Grace decided to certify with CBI. Not only was she looking for better communication training, she also wanted to belong to an organization that fully supports a woman's rights to make her own decisions. Grace was blown away by the quality and thoroughness of the training material. The continued emphasis on reflection, ownership and options has impacted not only her doula practice, but also how she interacts with those around her.
In addition to being a CBI trainer and her doula practice, Grace facilitates a peer-to-peer support group for those recovering from birth trauma, homeschools two of her children and laughs as much as possible.
Childbirth International is remarkable in its focus on reflective practice and how students are encouraged to explore their biases in order to better support their clients. I couldn’t be more proud to be a trainer for CBI!
Jeanne has been a trainer with CBI since 2006, making her one of our longest serving trainers. She is mother to 6 children and nanny to 9 beautiful grand babies. Thirty eight years ago, when she married a Minnesota farm boy, Jeanne was transplanted from 'up North' to Alabama, where she and her husband taught school for several years. They then began homeschooling their children - 27 years of learning for all of them.
Jeanne began providing support for her friends more than 20 years ago, before she knew what a doula was. She enjoys talking about birth and doulas at local seminars, lectures, and events and is currently introducing natural birth and doulas to obstetric residents from UAB.
Jeanne grows herbs, makes soap, and cares for her backyard chickens. Together with her daughter, she has set up a business called StolaSpa. 'Who knows, I may be practicing to live off the grid someday. :-)'
Jeanne hopes that the training experience of her students is all they want it to be and that their learning will go on forever.
Jill was one of our first students and is one of our longest serving trainers. She has always been a bit of a research and education junkie. So when she was battling infertility, understanding her test results, her cycle, her options, was her way of handling it. Jill became really good at advocating for herself, and fairly soon people started coming to her asking for help understanding what was happening to them as well. Next thing she knew she was running a support group for women going through secondary infertility (trying to conceive after previously having a child), and the people in it started asking her to attend their births.
Three years later, Jill had attended 20 births, and had her own very empowering birth, when someone finally told her that she was a 'doula.' Until then she had no idea that such a career actually existed! Jill quit her job as a project manager for medical research studies, enrolled in Childbirth International, and never looked back.
Jill's training at CBI literally changed her life and her whole way of thinking. The skills she learned impact all facets of her life. Jill became a CBI trainer in 2005 and believes it is the best job she's ever had. Jill loves helping her students reach their full potential, and hopes that their training will be the life changing experience for them that it was for her. In her personal life, Jill lives in central Massachusetts with her husband, 4 children and 3 cats. Jill works with the Worcester Doula By My Side Program from Pettaway Pursuit Foundation - a non-profit providing doula support for low-income, high-risk women during their childbearing year. In addition to her qualifications with Childbirth International, Jill has a Bachelor of Arts in Women's History & International Relations, a Master of Public Health in Women's Health Law, a Bachelor of Science in Natural Health, is a Master Herbalist and a Reiki Master.
Johanna lives with her wife in Southern Ontario. She was not always interested in pregnancy and birth, but started on the path to being a birth professional with grand plans to enter midwifery school. Preparing to apply to school really inspired her to look at other paths and options available, which is where she found Childbirth International.
'I've learned so much about the birth, obstetrics, and midwifery worlds since going down this path; I never expected to be where I am now!' Johanna believes that Childbirth International is remarkable in its focus on reflective practice and how students are encouraged to explore their biases in order to better support their clients. Johanna could not be more proud to be a trainer for CBI!
In addition to her qualifications with CBI, Johanna also has a Diploma in Animal Care and is a Certified Bereavement Doula. Johanna and her wife have recently become the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl.
Kelly is a self-proclaimed birth enthusiast. After reading all things birth related, collecting a rather large library of birth books and giving birth twice, she decided to put her knowledge and energy into a career as a birth educator, breastfeeding counselor and doula. Kelly found CBI and immediately felt at home with the philosophy and curriculum. She's completed the Childbirth Educator and Breastfeeding Counselor courses and now thoroughly enjoys mentoring and supporting other women as they work through their courses.
Kelly finds that being part of the international community at CBI is such a rich and rewarding experience for her because of the diversity of perspectives and insights it provides. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, two girls and two dogs. In addition to her work with CBI, Kelly teaches childbirth classes locally and provides doula and breastfeeding support to new moms.
What Kelly enjoys most about her work is helping new families discover what kind of birth experience they want for bringing their baby into the world. Kelly has been a trainer with CBI since 2011. In addition to her Childbirth International qualifications, Kelly has a Bachelor of History, a Master of Education in literacy and teaching English as a second language, a Master of Education in Elementary teaching, and is a La Leche League Leader.
“Being part of the international community here at CBI is such a rich and rewarding experience for me because of the diversity of perspectives and insights it provides.”
As a young woman Kit was always drawn to pregnancy. After finishing a graduate degree in counseling, she worked for several years in college residence halls and student conduct. In 2005, Kit had the opportunity to make a career change and attended a conference hosted by CBI. The community of strong women and connection to birth work was where she found her true calling.
Kit then took the CBI doula course and began attending births that year. Since then she has completed the CBI Birth Doula, Childbirth Educator and Breastfeeding Counselor courses, had two wonderful children and became a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
Kit enjoys the philosophy of CBI, the community, and how her work as a trainer can help to foster support for growing families. When she's not working with her CBI students, she's teaching childbirth classes at her local clinic and hospital, doing in-home breastfeeding support, and facilitating new parents groups. In her spare time, Kit loves hanging out with her family and running! Kit is one of our longest serving trainers, having been guiding students since 2004. In addition to her CBI qualifications, Kit has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Education in Counseling, is IBCLC qualified, and is a car seat technician.
Kristie's passion for all things birth took off when she began studying midwifery in her late teens. She married young and hasn't stopped birthing babies of her own long enough to pick up that interest again! Kristie is the mother of 2 girls, and then 5 boys in a row. Each of her births profoundly affected how she mothers, as has her relationship with other strong moms. This is why she loves interacting with mothers during the delicate and defining seasons of pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding.
Though Kristie has supported families for many years, her studies with CBI gave her more confidence and grounding, providing the skills she was looking for to communicate compassionately and effectively.
In addition to her work as a CBI Trainer, Kristie offers doula support, classes, and in-home consultations in her local community. She is the Education Director at the Bastrop Pregnancy Resource Center, a local non-profit that offers free classes, counseling, referrals, and material provisions to mothers in need. Her life is very much centered around mothering and she thinks of her work as an extension of that – an opportunity to nurture, encourage, and learn alongside other women. Kristie has been a birth doula since 2008 and a postpartum doula since 2012.
The first birth Kristina attended was that of her teen best friend, a single mother, when she was 15 years old. 'I can't say the birth or baby bug bit me, by any stretch! A few years later I found myself pregnant and realized that I knew nothing about the adventure before me.' When the realities of the impact of birth support, care provider, birth location, etc. hit her, suddenly she was smitten. 18 years later, she hasn't fallen out of love!
Kristina has been attending births since 2002 and teaching childbirth classes since 2004. It is only recently though that she found her home in a professional organization. Kristina is very proud to be a CBI educator & doula! With her background in grassroots community organization, she is energized to support new birth professionals on their own course for success.
Outside of birth work, Kristina is active in human rights and LGBTQ issues, food policy, public health, and of course her sweet family who puts up with it all.
“I am fascinated by the wide variety of backgrounds and experiences my students bring to their work as a doula, and I love watching them shape their professional identity.”
Leigh is the mother of two wonderful boys, with Honours Bachelor of Music degree and a passion for hospitality. After working many years in the hospitality industry, she found her new role as a mom reinforced her desire to make informed and clear decisions about nutrition, education, birth and life… with her family, and for her family.
Leigh has been working at CBI since early 2015 and has proven herself to be indispensable. Leigh handles all of our customer enquiries, orders every student's manuals, manages all the payments and generally just keeps the whole organization running smoothly.
When asked what she truly loves about Childbirth International, Leigh says it is the dedication to communication and education to all of its students.
Moving halfway around the globe and having her first baby far away from home was an enormous culture shock to Linda. The presence of her doula made a huge difference and it was exhilarating to carve out her own path and to discover her strength. Birth had her hooked. She gave birth to three more babies and in the meantime became a doula herself.
Linda always finds it a privilege to be there for her clients, to witness their births and their own unique stories. Becoming a Childbirth International doula trainer in 2011 was a natural extension of her profession. Linda is fascinated by the wide variety of backgrounds and experiences her students bring to their work as a doula, and she loves watching them shape their professional identity. She also loves being a part of the very diverse community of Childbirth International as it continues to expand her horizons.
Originally from the Netherlands, Linda currently lives in Singapore with her four children. She has recently completed her Bachelor in Psychology and is finding that her CBI doula values serve her well with any client she supports.
One of Maggie's first vocations in the 1960's was as a birth supporter and, despite life taking many different directions since then, she has remained passionate about women having a voice and advocating for themselves.
Maggie feels fortunate to have worked closely with CBI since its inception, and to witness the organization grow into the recognized leader it is today. An opportunity to travel has enabled her to experience a variety of cultures and to see firsthand, that as mothers we share the same aspirations for our births and our families.
Maggie has been an integral part of the growth of CBI - managing all administration tasks in our early days and with us since the beginning! Recently, Maggie and her husband settled in rural Tasmania where she continues to enjoy her work as a CBI trainer, supporting students who feel inspired and passionate about birth. In her free time Maggie loves to spend time in her organic garden and drumming on her djembe.
Maggie is a talented artist, photographer and author. In addition to her studio work, she has taught workshops and exhibited internationally. For a number of years she wrote articles for a Singapore parenting magazine and was a highly successful events organiser. Today, along with her husband, Maggie enjoys public speaking: inspiring audiences to step outside their comfort zone and follow their passion.
Mairead grew up within a huge extended family in Ireland. With a mother from a family of 14 and a father from a family of ten, the oldest of 68 first cousins and three siblings she lived the proverbial ‘….it takes a village.’ Surrounded by bumps and suckling babes she soaked up the sights and sounds, mystery and magic of birth. In the telling of these stories, four generations of women articulated just how variable the experience of birth can be. Albeit unwittingly, they revealed how each and every decision made on life’s journey leads to the next.
It wasn’t until years later when pregnant with her first child that Mairead realized the power of her heritage. Separated by oceans from her family she initially followed dominant practices and discourses around pregnancy and birth. It wasn’t long though until she realized that something was missing; the decisions being made about her pregnancy and birth didn’t include her. The story being told wasn’t hers! This was the prompting she needed to exercise her voice, to make the decisions that needed to be made to achieve the birth experience she wanted, to write her own story.
This is Mairead’s passion, to support and encourage your voice, to celebrate your story. And this is why she loves her work with CBI which connects her to web of voices and stories that transcend borders and oceans and celebrate the universal experience of birth.
Narelle had always hoped to work with children and families but her decision to work in the realm of pregnancy and birth was rather unexpected. After training as a psychologist and a number of early job changes, she finally settled into the child and family sector. It was when she joined the rank of 'mother' that she became aware just how much she hadn't understood the needs of the pregnant and postnatal families she had been working with.
Narelle's initial plan to train as doula and childbirth educator was to up-skill as a psychologist - but she hadn't anticipated just how much she would be captivated by the birth world and how much she would enjoy the work.
Narelle lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and 3 boys. As a professional, she provides doula support and perinatal psychology services in her own private practice. Having found the training provided by Childbirth International to be outstanding, she was thrilled to be able to join our team of trainers and support others on their learning journey. In addition to her qualifications with Childbirth international, Narelle has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Psychological Practice, a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology, and is a registered Psychologist (APHRA).
My CBI training changed my life and my whole way of thinking. The skills I learned impact all facets of my life. This is the best job I have ever had!
Nikki first became interested (obsessed?) with pregnancy and birth when she had a miscarriage with her first pregnancy. She found the lack of informed choice, the poor communication, and the lack of support all just made the experience that much more difficult. She knew there had to be a better way.
When she returned to the UK, Nikki had her first baby in a beautiful waterbirth with midwives. This inspired her to then work with a newly established miscarriage support group, advocating for better care for women experiencing loss in pregnancy. Shortly afterwards, a friend talked her into training as a childbirth educator. Clients began to ask her to support them during their births and she discovered a whole new world. She was smitten!
Nikki later moved to Singapore with her family and established the first doula practice there. Working with doctors and nurses who'd never heard of a doula, she realized the importance of effective communication and reflective practice. Clients began asking her if they could train to do the job she did, and Childbirth International was born. Originally the courses were taught face-to-face. However, the Internet had just become available and Nikki could see that there were women across the world who wanted to become doulas and childbirth educators, but the training was out of their reach - for financial or geographic reasons. Being in the midst of studying for her Bachelor of Nursing Science degree by distance, Nikki realized that online training could open up opportunities to thousands of women.
Nikki is passionate about the importance of birth professionals learning how to communicate effectively with clients and using these skills to build relationships with their peers and caregivers. Having real skills to pass on to new families meant that they are able to make informed decisions that are right for them, long after we've been involved in their journey. Those working in this field need to have a strong support base to enable them to cope with the emotional nature of our work, and develop a network of other birth professionals who come from diverse backgrounds and cultures to give us a breadth of knowledge and perspectives.
Nikki's vision for CBI has always been to provide a global network of highly qualified and passionate birth professionals who can truly make a difference in the lives of the families they work with. When not supporting our incredible, talented team, Nikki can be found relaxing with friends, enjoying a glass of red wine, or reading research for fun! After a lifetime of avoiding exercise, Nikki has recently started yoga and kickboxing as a way to manage too much good food and wine! With 23 years of experience in supporting women through pregnancy, birth and parenting, Nikki is stretching her wings and will begin a Masters in Clinical Education in 2016.
Rebecca lives and breathes motherhood. She adores pregnancy and birth. She's passionate about breastfeeding. Rebecca comes to CBI with a background in education (BEd), and a BA in Sociology, majoring in women's studies. The experience of women is an area that she's always been passionate about.
As a mother to two little loves, the mothering caper is close to her heart. Rebecca's personal journey there, and since, has been transformative. She was struck by societal expectations of her, which seemed to remove the heart and soul from the process. Empowerment, informed choice and evidence-based care were missing from the conversation, at least on the surface level. This was the catalyst that drew her to Childbirth International for training as a Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula; to work with, and in support of, women and mothers - her sisters.
Central to CBI is the concept of reflective practice. Rebecca is committed to the development of those navigating their way through to their CBI studies, not only in relation to their knowledge and understanding of the physiology of birth and beyond, but also in terms of their reflective ability and communication skills. These underpin the role of a confident and competent birth professional who is able to provide opportunities for empowerment, informed choice and evidence-based care for mothers seeking education and support. As a CBI trainer, Rebecca is here to bring back, and strengthen, the village that mothers deserve.
In addition to her CBI qualifications, Rebecca has a Cert IV in Breastfeeding Counseling, a Diploma in Clinical Nutrition, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and a Bachelor of Education. Rebecca is scheduled to complete her Postpartum Doula course with CBI in 2016, together with an Advanced Diploma in Nutrition, certification as a Bereavement Doula and certification as a Placenta Specialist.
Samantha's first birth experience was when she attended her aunt’s birth in 1999. She felt so privileged to be invited, eager and excited to help her! She loved all the practical things she could do - rubbing her back, encouraging her and bringing her drinks. She didn't realize at the time that women attended births professionally, or learn about what a doula was, until she became pregnant herself.
Samantha hired a student doula to attend her first birth and she helped Samantha to have a wonderful experience. Samantha discovered what a positive difference a doula could make firsthand, but didn't consider becoming a doula herself until after her second baby was born, in 2012, and she had completed her Masters degree in anthropology. Samantha started training to become a birth doula with CBI in 2013 and was so impressed with the knowledge and wisdom within this online community.
During her time as a graduate student, Samantha also worked as a teaching assistant at her university. In 2015, she was thrilled to be selected to become a trainer for CBI! In this new role, she's able to combine her teaching and doula skills. She feels blessed to have a job where she can do the things she loves best! Samantha has volunteered at a residence for young and homeless pregnant women and trained as a facilitator for Birth Trauma Ontario. In addition to her qualifications with CBI, Samantha has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Master of Arts in Public Issues & Anthropology.
Unlike some of her colleagues, Sandy had absolutely no interest in pregnancy or birth until she had her own first baby. Then things changed. Lots of things! Sandy had worked in publishing until that time, but found that going through her own first pregnancy and birth opened up a whole new world for her. Sandy couldn't get over this 'new' idea that there were many perspectives out there about pregnancy and birth, and she had the opportunity to decide what she wanted, along with her husband, instead of just expecting to be told how things would go. And so she left publishing behind, and trained as a birth doula and childbirth educator with Childbirth International.
Now, more than a decade later, Sandy is expanding her fascination with birth into graduate studies in health communication and public health. She's particularly focused on decision-making in health care – and it all began, and continues, with CBI!
Sandy is one of our longest serving trainers (since 2004). In addition to her Childbirth International qualifications, Sandy has a Bachelor of Arts with honors, a Master of Arts, a Masters of Science, and will complete her Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health in 2017.
Tamrha's been passionate about pregnancy, childbirth, family support and women's reproductive rights since the births of her two boys. Birth, midwifery and everything involved, amazed and fascinated her, yet her births were not ideal. Tamrha sought to help other women obtain the births they wanted with the tools and skills necessary to do just that.
In 2007, she became a Certified Doula through Childbirth International and then a CBI Doula Trainer in 2011 for women across the globe. She's also working towards certification in Calm Birth, a childbirth preparation program based in mind/body medicine and meditation science. Tamrha works with Indy Doula associates, serving the Indianapolis and surrounding areas.
Tamrha is originally from New York and co-founded the Long Island BirthNetwork, a chapter of BirthNetwork National in 2009, where it continues to grow and serve local families.
Within her community she offers doula services, placenta encapsulation, Red Tent gatherings, Mother Blessing Ceremonies, Belly Henna and Belly Castings. Tamrha feels that walking with students at CBI is always amazing and rewarding. Knowing that more and more women are looking to affect their communities in a positive way, and that she has a small hand in that journey, is remarkable. In addition to her qualifications with CBI, Tamrha has degrees in Photography, Display & Exhibit Design, and she is a Homebirth Midwifery Assistant with Neonatal Resuscitation & S.T.A.B.L.E. certificates.
Frequently Asked Questions
how we are different
Because we believe there is a better way! As birth professionals you’ll need a lot of in-depth knowledge, the chance to build skills and opportunities to practice these. All the best research tells us that real learning takes place over time, in a supportive environment, with ongoing guidance from mentors.
With Childbirth International you’ll receive course materials that look at communication skills, comprehensive information on physiology, establishing and growing a business, as well as the physical support aspects. In total, 150 contact hours just in the course manuals and activities alone for the doula courses, and more than 600 contact hours for the childbirth educator and breastfeeding counselor courses. Added to this will be the practical experience you’ll gain as you work through your certification requirements.
Being able to complete your course online means you have no additional costs, no need to travel, no limitations on when or where you can study, no time limits and the time to be able to really absorb what you are learning.
CBI course materials cover everything you need to be a birth professional. The reading list is to provide different perspectives… of which there are many… hence the broad list. We want you to be able to read on topics that you have an interest in and are relevant to you and your clients. We provide 150 books to choose from and it is up to you which books you read from this list.
We are truly an international organization. Our registered office is in Singapore. Our administrative team is in Canada. Our trainers live all over the world. Our students and graduates come from 112 different countries. The course materials you will study look at birth, parenting and breastfeeding from an international perspective. We explore culture and how it affects the way we work and the experiences of our clients. We share ideas in our active discussion groups that enable all students to learn about different beliefs, values and practices. We present research and readings that come from a wide variety of countries.
Although our courses are delivered through distance learning, our students feel more supported and connected than they do in face-to-face workshops! A big part of this is the relationship you build with your trainer. Rather than just teaching you over a couple of days, she will be the one reviewing and assessing every piece of work you submit – from your first assignment to your last evaluation. She’ll give you guidance throughout your course, no matter how long it takes. Our Facebook and discussion groups provide a bridge for you to connect and network with other birth professionals. You’ll be exposed to birth and postpartum doulas, childbirth educators and breastfeeding counselors, meaning your peer learning is broad and extensive. The discussions on these groups reflect the essence of who we are as an organization – they are always respectful, kind and supportive.
We were the first organization to specifically focus on business issues relevant to birth professionals – our courses have always included an introduction to business. In 2009 we launched a Business of Birth course that provided more depth and helped students to get a more solid understanding of marketing and finances.
In 2016 we took Business of Birth and gave it a facelift. Providing 34 hours of business specific topics, Business of Birth is now included in every training program. You’ll work through a simple step-by-step process to examine your own goals and objectives, develop a strong brand and a marketing approach, analyze your customers and competitors, understand the products and services you want to offer, and get on top of your finances and legal issues. Rather than being daunted by the business side of your work, Business of Birth will help you to easily produce a plan and a clear path for starting and growing your business. This is an optional module – meaning you’ll receive it but it is up to you how much you focus on it. You could just choose the topic areas you’re interested in or use it as a reference document for when business issues arise in the future. You also have the option of completing assignments and having your trainer review your business plan and website, providing suggestions on how to improve them both.
We provide training – and we’re really good at it! Similar to a university program, you deserve to have your hard work acknowledged for life! We’re not going to charge you every three years to prove that you still have the knowledge and skills that you built.
If you need to show recertification in order to belong to a local organization (e.g. DASC) can do so – you can submit the required documents for proof, we will review them and reissue your certification – showing it is a recertification. And we’ll do this for a minimum fee that just covers our costs.
While we don’t require recertification, we also recognize that some of you may want to join local organizations that require recertification as part of their membership. To address this, we have optional recertification available if you would like it. You can submit evidence of ongoing learning and experience every three years, together with a fee to cover our costs, and we’ll review your documents. Once everything is validated we’ll then reissue your certificate, showing clearly that you are now recertified.
There is no need for continuing education. And there never will be. We are a training organization and not a regulatory body. Other professions (accountants, doctors, lawyers etc.) require continuing education as part of their membership of a regulatory body. Their original training organization doesn’t require it. If you go to University you get a degree. You don’t have to go back every three years to show you’re still learning, or pay money in order to keep your degree. You have it for life. We are the same and make no apologies for that.
At the heart of every CBI training and certification program is reflective practice. But what exactly is “reflective practice”?
At its simplest, reflective practice is looking at what you have done, or didn’t do, and reflecting on it. In relation to CBI training, though, it is so much more. Reflective practice is about examining choices and decisions, considering them from different perspectives, thinking about alternatives, learning from them, and then applying that learning to your work. It’s a part of best practice in continuing education, increases confidence and professionalism. It’s an incredibly valuable skill that you can pass on to your clients and help them to assimilate their experiences.
All CBI training programs have an ongoing reflective practice focus. In every assignment you submit, this will be evaluated by your trainer. She’ll give you feedback on this aspect and help you to see your own growth in this area. You’ll be encouraged to reflect on the language you use, your participation in discussions and how you approach every aspect of your work.
In the Communication Skills section of your course you will learn how to use the CBI Reflective Practice model and will finish this module by writing an assignment using the model.
Frequently Asked Questions
legal and insurance
This is very much a personal choice. Some birth professionals feel more comfortable with a contract, while others are very happy working without one. A contract between a birth professional and a client generally covers your role and responsibilities, discusses backup in case you are unavailable, and goes through the payment agreement. It can be helpful for making sure that each of these issues are discussed with clients. It’s better to leave a contract with a client, or email a copy of it to them before you meet them, so they have an opportunity to read it thoroughly and ask any questions before signing it. We provide sample contracts that you’re free to use with your clients and edit accordingly. Many birth professionals work without contracts and have no problems with this. Whether you choose to have a contract or not, it’s important that the terms of payment and the responsibilities are clearly understood by the client in order to avoid any problems later on.
Many insurance companies are aware of the improved outcomes and subsequent cost savings that come from using a birth professional. Many of them are already providing coverage for doulas, childbirth classes or breastfeeding counselors. If a client’s insurance company doesn’t include birth professionals as one of the services they can claim for, the client can write to the insurance company, quoting the improved outcomes and cost savings. An insurance company will usually require an invoice issued by the birth professional to the clients. They might also require specific information to be included – the client can find out what’s necessary by contacting their insurance company directly. Some birth professionals bill insurance companies directly. If you’re living in the United States, and wish to do this, you may be required to comply with HIPAA guidelines. We provide information about this on our student website.
FAQ: CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
None at all! Being a birth professional is about using your skills to help parents have the births they desire, be the parents they wish to be and communicate effectively with their caregivers. The skills required to enable you to do this are covered in your training. You don’t need to have experience as a nurse or midwife in order to be a great birth professional. Some students have had children themselves, others haven’t. There are no prerequisites for you to study with Childbirth International. It doesn’t matter how many children you have had (or maybe you have not had any), it doesn’t matter if you’ve never experienced a vaginal birth, or if you’ve never breastfed.
Anybody can study with Childbirth International, whether they are aged 16 or 65 (or older!) We recognize that everyone has unique skills and experiences that can make them the perfect birth professional for a specific type of client. For example, in the Birth Doula field, as a younger doula you might be the perfect support for young women looking for peer support. As an older doula, you might be the perfect support for someone looking for life experience. Every birth professional has something different to offer.
Your previous experience can be enormously beneficial in your training as a birth professional. Perhaps you’ve completed other doula training programs, or have been working as a birth professional for some time. You might have experience as a nurse or a midwife. Whatever your experience or previous training, it can help you to understand some of the concepts covered in your birth professional training.
If you’ve certified with another organization, or have experience as a birth professional, you may be able to gain credit in our training programs. We have many experienced professionals who join us – some of our graduates chose CBI even after they had 20-30 years experience! Our goal is to build on what you already know, and help you to become a more knowledgeable and effective professional. If you would like to apply for crossover certification please contact us.
We’re often asked whether the training that you complete will be recognized by hospitals. If you’re self employed, and have been hired directly by parents as an independent practitioner, this doesn’t appear to be a problem anywhere in the world. If you come across a hospital that requires a specific training organization, we can provide you with written details of the training you’ve undergone with Childbirth International, indicating the depth and quality of training. To date, no Childbirth International student or graduate has been denied the opportunity to work in a hospital because their training didn’t meet hospital requirements.
All students submit a communication assignment to demonstrate their proficiency in reflective practice. Your trainer will provide feedback and guidance on your draft assignment and then you’ll submit a final version.
Each course has a series of online physiology exams to demonstrate your knowledge of both normal and abnormal conditions. These are open book exams.
Once you’ve worked with women in your role, you’ll submit evaluations, completed by yourself, to outline your learning from the experience and how you will apply that to your future work. You don’t need to submit evaluations from clients or medical caregivers. We’re interested in the learning you took from the experience! Every student carries out a survey of resources in their local community.
Each course has a number of books that must be read and a book review completed. There are more than 150 books to choose from on the reading list. There are no compulsory texts that you have to read – you can choose the books from the list that appeal to you and are relevant to the women you will be working with. Books must be read after you start your training and must be new to you – you cannot write a review about a book you read previously, even if you re-read it. You can view the reading list here.
Finally, the Childbirth Educator and Breastfeeding Counselor courses have a number of smaller assignments for completing a teaching plan (Childbirth Educator) and case studies (Childbirth Educator and Breastfeeding Counselor).
We don’t require you to pay membership and recertification fees in order to stay certified.
We provide training – and we’re really good at it! Similar to a university program, you deserve to have your hard work acknowledged for life! We’re not going to charge you every three years to prove that you still have the knowledge and skills that you built. We also will not charge you to continue to belong to CBI – your membership is lifelong.
If you need to show recertification in order to belong to a local organization (e.g. DASC) can do so – you can submit the required documents for proof, we will review them and reissue your certification – showing it is a recertification. And we’ll do this for a minimum fee that just covers our costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
When you first register as a student you’ll have access to all your course materials online, meaning you can be up and running within a few minutes. All your training materials are provided to you online through our unique learning system. At the time of enrolling, you can decide whether you want to work online (Green option), or have printed manuals as well. If you choose the printed manuals they are sent once your payments are all completed and become part of your professional library for future reference. Each study workbook contains information on the topic, together with activities for you to work through to grasp a deeper understanding of the topic.
During your training you’ll work with women in order to gain experience. You’ll use these experiences to develop and practice hands-on skills that you learn about in your study workbooks. The peer group support that you receive, and the strong trainer and mentor support, will reinforce your learning. You’ll be directed to online readings that give you new ideas on ways that you can support women through pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.
Within a few days of registering as a student we’ll assign a trainer to you. Your trainer has direct experience with flexible learning and has developed many strategies for helping you learn the practical skills you need as a birth professional. She’ll be a certified and experienced birth professional herself, who has also studied our courses, and can guide you through your training. In addition to your student manuals, you’ll be given access to our student discussion forums, providing you with peer group support from other students around the world.
At the end of your training, on successful completion of all course requirements, you’ll be a certified birth professional and receive a certificate to recognize your hard work. There is no need to pay for membership or recertify with Childbirth International – your accreditation is for life!
We encourage you to continually learn new skills, develop your own understanding of issues related to pregnancy, birth and parenting, and to keep up-to-date with research. You might choose to take advantage of our ongoing advanced training programs. Or, once you have established your business as a professional, you might like to expand your skills and services. For example, as a birth doula, you can train as a childbirth educator, a postpartum doula or a breastfeeding counselor. Our training is flexible enough to fit around your other commitments. All students and graduates receive a 15% discount on their future courses.
All the assignments and evaluations that you need to submit for certification are uploaded through our student website. These are automatically passed to your trainer who provides feedback and assesses your work. You can follow your progress through your course and see how much you’ve got left to complete. Your trainer can help you with suggestions for study and organization skills if you’re new to distance learning or find it difficult to stay on top of your training. There are no time limits for completing your course. You’ll continue to have access to the student website for as long as you’re a student, and once you’ve certified you’ll still be able to access all the materials online.
Don’t worry about having to have in depth Internet knowledge or specialized computer skills in order to complete your course. Provided you’re able to send a basic email you’ll be fine. Our student website is very easy to use and you’re guided through the course every step of the way. If you choose the printed option when you enrol your student manuals will also be posted to you (once your final payment is made) so you don’t need to have access to the Internet all the time. The website has the additional materials like online readings, and with just a few clicks you can find everything you need.
You’ll always have online access to your course materials, but many students prefer working from a paper version of their course materials. Unless you choose the green option when you enrol, your course manuals will also be posted to you.
For the Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula courses there are four manuals – Communication Skills, Physiology, Birth/Postpartum Doula Skills, and the Business of Birth module, comprising more than 750 pages of information. For the Childbirth Educator and Breastfeeding Counselor courses there are four manuals – Communication Skills, Physiology, Counseling/Teaching Skills, and the Business of Birth module, comprising more than 1,000 pages of information.
When you first register for a course, we’ll ask for your delivery address and will calculate the shipping cost. If you choose to pay for your course in one payment, you’re manuals will be ordered once you register (allow about 1 week for delivery within the USA and Canada and 2-3 weeks for other countries). If you choose to pay by installments you’ll receive your manuals when the final installment is made. You can pay the balance of your account early if you’d like to receive your manuals sooner.
We also offer a “Green” option for students who prefer to work online and not have the additional costs of printing and shipping.
You could complete this course without having full time access to a computer and the Internet. One of our students completed her studies while traveling around the world on a yacht! You’ll need Internet access to submit course work and to view the online readings. If you’re paying by installments, you’ll need Internet access until your payments are completed and your printed course materials are sent to you. Some students use the local library for Internet access on an occasional basis whenever they need to submit work. Others go once a week and print off all the online readings for the section they’re covering that week. Some use a friend’s computer. You could also use a smartphone or tablet if it has word processing functionality, although it is more difficult to do a lot of reading from a smaller screen. You’ll need to have an email address in order to register and for us to generate a username and password to give you access to the student website.
If you choose the Green option when you enrol you will have to have a computer to access all your course materials. Please note, the online course manuals cannot be printed off.
Frequently Asked Questions
Calculating your training costs is easy. The cost includes all your training materials, trainer support, and access to the student website. Course costs are all inclusive. There are no hidden fees, no workshop fees, no examination or certification fees, and no membership or recertification fees. You don’t need to purchase additional videos or materials. You can pay with Visa, Mastercard, American Express or PayPal.
If you choose more than one of our training and certification programs when you register you’ll be given a discount.
- Two courses: discount of 15%
- Three courses: discount 20%
- Four courses: discount 25%
Our Green options give you full access to your course materials through the student website and eliminate the printing and shipping costs of paper manuals. If you decide at a later date that you’d like the manuals, you can purchase them and have these shipped to you. The Green option is available as both one payment and as monthly installments, paid over five months.
Our Printed options give you full access to your course materials through the student website, and we also send you a printed version of your course materials. The Printed option is available as both one payment and as monthly installments, paid over five months. The cost of shipping is calculated when you enroll in your course and is dependent on where you live. If you choose installments, your printed manuals are sent to you when the final payment is completed. You can always choose to pay off the balance of your account and receive your printed manuals straight away.
- Printed One Payment: $630 (+ shipping)
- Green One Payment: $600
- Printed Five Installments: $131/month for 5 months (+ shipping)
- Green Five Installments: $125/month for 5 months
- Printed One Payment: $630 (+ shipping)
- Green One Payment: $600
- Printed Five Installments: $131/month for 5 months (+ shipping)
- Green Five Installments: $125/month for 5 months
- Printed One Payment: $915 (+ shipping)
- Green One Payment: $885
- Printed Five Installments: $188/month for 5 months (+ shipping)
- Green Five Installments: $182/month for 5 months
- Printed One Payment: $915 (+ shipping)
- Green One Payment: $885
- Printed Five Installments: $188/month for 5 months (+ shipping)
- Green Five Installments: $182/month for 5 months
We don’t offer financial aid or scholarships. If paying for your training is a financial struggle, there are several options open to you. First, we offer installment plans so you can pay over 5 months. You’ll have immediate access to all the course materials through the student website, and if you chose the printed option, your written training materials will be sent to you as soon as the final installment is made. If you decide to pay the balance early, you can do so at any time to receive your written materials straight away. If the installments are out of your reach financially, consider starting with two clients and using the income from that to finance your training.
It can be scary to commit to a full training and certification program online. To help you decide if this is the right training program for you, we offer a refund option. As soon as you register for a course you can view the course materials through the student website. If you decide the course isn’t what you’re looking for, contact us in writing within 48 hours of registering and we’ll issue a full refund (less a $50 administration fee).
We aren’t able to process a grant directly with the organization. We can accept payment through a credit card or a bank transfer via PayPal from the organization at the time you register. Alternatively, you can register using your own credit card and be reimbursed directly from the grant organization. You’ll have an invoice from CBI for this purpose.
For three or more people taking the same course we offer a 15% discount. If you work for an organization and have ten or more people who would like to register for the same course together, we offer a 20% discount.
If you would like to take advantage of bulk pricing, please contact us for a coupon code so your discount can be applied.
Provided your employer has a credit card or PayPal account, they can pay for your training. If that’s not possible, you can pay for your training and we can provide an invoice so your payment can be reimbursed by your employer.
We use PayPal and Worldpay to process all our payments. Your payment information is encrypted on their secure website so your credit card details are safe. We don’t store your credit card information on our site at all, so no-one is able to access your account or take your credit card information from our records.
If you don’t have your own credit card someone else can pay for your course on your behalf. Alternatively, you can process a bank transfer through PayPal.
Frequently Asked Questions
about the courses
Childbirth International is the only training organization for birth professionals where you have immediate access to all your training materials as soon as you register. Within a few minutes you can be logged on to the student website and starting your journey! Once you’ve chosen a course, and your payment has been processed, you’ll be sent a confirmation email. This will contain confirmation of your order, together with links for logging on to the student website. You’ll then be taken directly to the student website where you can log in and access the student materials.
If you choose to pay by one payment with printed course manuals, your student materials will be posted to you. Within the USA, they usually arrive within 5-7 days. Students living outside the USA usually receive their student materials within 2-3 weeks. If choose the Green option, you will immediate access to your course materials through the student website. Please note, online course manuals cannot be printed out. If you pay by installments, your written student manuals will be sent to you once the final installment is made. In the meantime you’ll have access to all the student materials online through the student website. You can choose to pay off the balance on your account at any time to receive your written manuals straight away.
Yes. You can choose any combination of our courses and receive significant discounts of up to 25%. If you start with just one course you can add courses later and receive the student/graduate discount of 15%.
Supporting students is the most important thing we do! Once you’ve registered as a student you won’t be forgotten. Your trainer will be assigned to you once you start and she’ll contact you within a few days to introduce herself. Every time you submit a piece of work it will be your trainer who reviews it, provides feedback and guidance and assesses it. She’ll continue to review and assess every assignment you submit, no matter how long it takes you to complete your course.
We also provide a number of discussion groups for you to participate in and connect with students, graduates and trainers from all over the world. These groups will encourage exploration of new ideas, respectful debate and support new birth professionals with suggestions.
Once you’ve completed your training, Childbirth International will still be there to support you. If you experience a tough birth, need help and guidance on some aspect of your business, or experience personal difficulties, you can contact your trainer or the Customer Support team anytime.
If you’d like more support, trainers are available for private mentoring. You choose how many hours of mentoring you’d like and a trainer will contact you via Skype. Mentoring can be helpful if you’re looking for more support in completing your course work, ideas for motivation or better organization, or guidance in issues related to your clients or business.
It depends on how much time you have available. If at any time you need to take a break, you can. There are no time limits imposed for you to complete your course by.
As an estimate, if you study for 10 hours each week, the birth doula and postpartum doula courses will take you 4-7 months to complete. This would include the time it takes for you to complete the study workbooks, and assumes that you complete the course requirements for supporting women in that time. This is similar to other programs once you take into account attending their workshops, supporting at your certifying births and completing their certification requirements.
As an estimate, if you study for 10 hours each week, the childbirth educator and breastfeeding counselor courses will take you 10-15 months to complete. This would include the time it takes for you to complete the study workbooks, and assumes that you meet the support and class requirements for these courses in that time.
There are no international bodies that recognize a standard of training for birth doulas, postpartum doulas, childbirth educators or breastfeeding counselors at this point in time. The only accreditation or recognition bodies that exist have all been established by training organizations and therefore cannot be seen as truly overseeing birth professionals in an independent way. However, we believe that our training program is of the highest standard and the most comprehensive available. With all our materials focusing on evidence-based care, you can be assured that the information you’re receiving in your training is accurate and up to date. We ensure that students learn not only the knowledge they’ll need in their chosen profession but also develop their communication skills and the information they need to establish a successful business. Our materials are regularly reviewed and updated as research provides new information.
We are beginning to see national government bodies show an interest in accreditation of doulas. To date, the standards they require can easily be met through our training programs. We’ll continue to monitor this and ensure that we exceed their standards.
We don’t have a policy that places restrictions on how much you can charge or whether or not you have to charge. This is an individual choice. We encourage you to look at your costs and determine a fee that would be appropriate for you and your clients.
If you choose to offer “free” services, you’ll still have the costs associated with running your business (childcare, telephone etc.) and some clients might not value your service as much as they would if they were paying for it. Having said that, this is your business, and you can run it however your choose, whether that is a full fee, a reduced fee while training, barter or sliding scales. No boundaries!
You can contact us by phone or by completing the “Get in Touch” form below. We’ll get back to you, in most cases, within 1-2 business days. Our team are active birth professionals who may be out working with a client when you call. If we’re unavailable, leave a voicemail and we’ll call you back as soon as we are available.
Frequently Asked Questions
A Birth Doula describes a person who provides information, emotional and physical support for a woman during pregnancy, labor and birth. At every birth you support, your role will be slightly different, depending on the needs of your client. For some women your role will be one of loving support and comfort. For another it will be assisting her to empower herself and advocate for her own choices. For another woman it will be to provide information. Most women you work with will want a combination of different things from their doula.
Generally, you’ll perform the following, depending on what your client’s looking for: massage, relaxation, and other comfort measures, information on options available, some childbirth education, a listening ear, reassurance and encouragement. You might also help a mother to develop skills that enable her to communicate more effectively with her caregivers, understand research related to different interventions, and build her decision-making skills.
A postpartum or postnatal doula helps the mother in caring for her baby and in running the household. You might be employed by families who have just welcomed their first baby or who are adding to their growing family. You might be employed to help with twins or even triplets. You might work with one family for several months or for just a few weeks to help ease their load. You might work overnight to enable the parents to get some much needed rest or you might work during the daytimes.
Depending on what the mother needs, you’ll support her in a number of ways. You can assist the new mother with breastfeeding, help care for and play with older children, help the mother find ways to organize her home so it better suits her needs, prepare healthy snacks and family meals, provide an extra set of hands for the new baby so the mother can rest and recover, help her with comforting or bathing the baby, or carrying out some household tasks like washing and light housekeeping. As you guide parents through those early days with their new baby, you’ll help them to find what works best for them and support them in finding their own parenting style.
Childbirth educators, or antenatal teachers, may run a variety of classes to suit the needs of your clients. You might offer childbirth classes for expecting parents, early pregnancy classes, pre-conception classes, classes specially designed for teens, siblings, fathers-to-be, single parents or mothers planning a VBAC, a cesarean, an epidural or who might be experiencing a high-risk pregnancy. You can also teach parenting classes or breastfeeding classes.
As a childbirth educator you can determine the format of the classes that work best for you and your clients while pursuing opportunities in your local area. Childbirth International will help you by providing sample curricula for teaching your classes while you also have the freedom to teach the content that best benefits your clients in the style and format that works for you. You’ll learn how to teach classes that are interactive and fun, focusing on adult teaching techniques throughout your training.
A breastfeeding or lactation counselor helps women who want to breastfeed. You may be working with a mother in late pregnancy to teach her the basics and identify potential problems. You may be working with mothers who are just getting started with their newborns and are experiencing difficulties or with mothers who have older babies or children.
As a breastfeeding counselor you are likely to encounter a range of challenges and difficulties that might include positioning problems, nipple or breast pain, thrush, engorgement, mastitis, or low supply or oversupply. You might be working with mothers who want help with weaning, who are returning to work, whose baby is hospitalized or who would like to continue breastfeeding through a pregnancy and after the new baby arrives.
There are large differences in how much birth professionals earn. It depends on where you live, the women you are supporting, and the package of support that you provide. The following amounts are based on a birth professional working in a city in a developed country. Birth professionals living in remote areas or developing countries may have very different payment schedules.
As a general guideline a birth doula who provides 2 prenatal visits, support during labor and birth, and 2 postpartum visits could expect to earn between US$600 and US$1,200. If the women you’re working with are of low income or experiencing financial difficulties, you might charge a lower rate or offer alternative forms of payment, such as reduced fees, sliding scale or barter of services.
Postpartum doulas generally charge an hourly rate of between $15-$45 an hour. If you’re working overnight with a family, or providing support for older siblings or twins, you might charge a higher fee.
Childbirth educators usually charge around $150-$750 for a full course. If you’re providing private classes, or specialist classes, you might be charging more.
A breastfeeding counselor will typically charge per consultation which may range from $50-$100 per hour. If you’re providing long term breastfeeding support for a mother you might offer a package fee for a fixed number of hours.
When you first start you might be concerned about how you’re going to find your clients. Formulating a plan of how you’re going to advertise and promote your business starts you off on the right foot. The Business of Birth module, included in all our courses, provides a thorough understanding of establishing and building a business. If you live in an area where women haven’t heard of doulas or childbirth classes, your first step is going to be to publicize the role and importance of a doula or childbirth educator within your own community. Woman might like the idea of having someone else to assist them during labor, but have no idea about how to find that person. It’s hard to explain, but clients seem to find you when the time is right, or when you’re ready to start taking them on. This seems odd, but somehow, the clients appear when you feel prepared enough to begin working with them. This has been the case for all our students to date, whether they’re living in New York City, or an African town!
You are your own best advertisement. Tell everyone you meet what it is that you do. Remember that every person you meet could know someone who’s pregnant, or have a pregnant partner, daughter, sister or friend, or be planning a pregnancy themselves in the future. Focus on promoting the role of a doula, childbirth educator or breastfeeding counselor. Most people you meet will never have heard of a doula, or have thought about one for themselves. The first impression you make could be the difference between getting a client and not! In addition, your trainers are available on discussion forums for additional ideas that are unique to your situation.
Not at all! You can complete all your training through Childbirth International with your trainer’s support, using your written student manuals, and the student website. We believe you need time to absorb the amount of information and develop the skills you need to be really great at what you do.
Our written study guides walk you through the techniques available to help the women you will work with. The discussion groups provide you with a peer support network to explore different issues related to your work, and provide you with support from other students, graduates and trainers.
Your trainer will provide feedback on all the work you submit, supporting you no matter how long it takes to complete your course. Most of the hands on skills that a birth professional learns are built over time and with experience. Every woman you work with will have different needs and preferences. As part of a worldwide network of birth and postpartum doulas, childbirth educators and breastfeeding counselors you’ll be able to access ideas, tips and strategies for helping you in your work and in building your business. In addition to the Childbirth International training, trainers in your area may offer study days. These are a complement to the training course and focus on some of the hands on skills and topics that can be beneficial to learn in a face to face environment.
If you’d like more direct support, our trainers are also available for private mentoring. You can choose the number of hours of mentoring that you’d like and your mentor will contact you via Skype to answer all your questions and guide you through any challenges you are experiencing.