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Our Story

About Childbirth International

Childbirth International was born in 1998. There were few options for training as a doula, childbirth educator, or lactation counselor at the time. You could choose a two-day workshop, but we saw many birth and lactation professionals who felt unprepared and ill-equipped for the challenges of their role. We wanted to up the game. To help people feel confident in their skills and knowledge and to be able to learn in a supportive environment. And we wanted to make training and certification more accessible for those with families, jobs, and lives outside their work!

A Different Way of Training

But how to do this? How could we reach people who lived in areas where training wasn’t available? People in rural areas, people who worked full time or didn’t have childcare. People who wanted more than just the basics and to feel prepared, confident, and professional in their role. We examined what skills and competencies were important in working with birthing families. What made the difference? We discovered that birthing families feel strong and empowered when they have knowledge. But they also needed tools to know how to use that knowledge effectively. And birth and lactation professionals need to have time not just to absorb knowledge or practice a double-hip squeeze but to reflect on their work, their clients’ choices, and their feelings about those choices. The time just isn’t available in two days! We realized that our training would need to be different. We didn’t just change the rules. We changed the game!

Our story began with deciding that training is a journey rather than a destination. A journey where the focus is on personal growth and building competency rather than simply receiving a certificate. A journey that pairs students and trainers to walk the path together for as long as it takes and access to a global peer community even after you complete your training.

Childbirth International’s Growth

Our first courses in 1998 were for Birth Doulas and Childbirth Educators. In 2008, we added Postpartum Doula and Lactation Counselor courses. Over the past 20 years, maternity care has changed. More technology and interventions are used, and more rules exist within the healthcare system.

Technology has also allowed clients to become aware of their options, seek out support, and communicate faster with others. The birth professional world has changed, with people wanting to learn ways to make their businesses successful and take part in lifelong learning to become even more skilled in their work. Childbirth International has risen to these challenges by expanding our course offerings and giving our students more options. Our Business for Birth Professionals course supports you in growing your business (included in our birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, and lactation counselor courses). Advanced modules on various topics provide continuing education opportunities to develop specialist skills and build your professional portfolio. We have also seen a growing interest in health professionals – midwives, nurses, and doctors – wanting to learn more about supporting families effectively and we have responded to this with the launch of professional development programs.

The most exciting development of 2019 was recognition of the high quality of our courses by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). On January 28th, 2019, we were awarded accreditation with distinction, the only organization globally that provides birth and lactation training to be given this honor!

In 2019, we expanded our offering of professional development courses as we saw limited opportunities for birth and lactation professionals to develop their skills in specialist areas. In 2020, we launched our Safety and Infection Prevention and Control course and, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, made this course available on a “pay what you can basis” throughout 2020 and 2021 to enable every person to access and complete it.

We focus on providing professional development and advanced learning programs for all birth and lactation professionals who recognize the importance of continually learning, building knowledge, and developing skills.

Leading the Way

Childbirth International has always focused on providing leadership in our industry. From utilizing the latest technology to deliver our courses to recognizing the global issues affecting all birth and lactation professionals.

In 2019, we began developing the core competencies for all birth and lactation professionals. We have been conducting extensive research and surveys from experts in the field to determine the competencies for birth and lactation professionals at the foundational, core, advanced, and expert levels. We have mapped our courses to these competencies to ensure that our course materials address these. In 2023, we will launch a comprehensive website that outlines the competencies and allows all training organizations to map their courses so that birth and lactation professionals can identify their current competency levels and plan for professional development in areas that need strengthening. Our story continues with recognizing what our students and graduates need, addressing those needs using the latest technology, and providing the personal support that birth and lactation professionals are looking for.

Our Core Values

We have stayed true to our core values through all this growth.

  • Inclusivity: Childbirth International’s core values have always included the goal of offering a learning platform that is welcoming and inclusive of all individuals. We strive to develop reflection and empathy so our students can interact in their community with dignity and respect for all persons. We use inclusive language in all our courses and believe in the right of every individual to be treated with equity and kindness.
  • Diversity: We recognize the disparities in health care and outcomes for minority and marginalized groups and seek to be part of the solution to eliminating these through listening, understanding, dialogue, and education. We embrace and celebrate the diversity of humanity and continually seek out diverse perspectives. Read our Equal Opportunities Policy
  • Sustainability: We are committed to social, cultural, environmental, financial, and personal sustainability and look for ways to minimize consumption of natural resources, support individuals in fostering healthy communities, and encourage a maintainable work/life integration through flexible employment and study arrangements. Read our Sustainability Policy

In designing our training programs, we consider flexibility, affordability, and an appreciation for the individual and unique needs of each student. We want to ensure that in choosing your training program, you can define what your business will look like and how that business will be run. You can be successful in your training in a flexible way to adjust to your priorities and lifestyle, using online learning and adopting new technologies to make this easier for you. CBI training enables you to feel supported and strengthened by your peers and trainers as you complete your learning and continue to grow for years to come.

We will always provide courses that identify best-practice, and teach skills that build competencies to support families in a way that enables them to have empowered, positive experiences through the childbearing years. We endorse the World Health Organization in their goal to “ensure that not only do women survive childbirth complications if they arise but also that they thrive and reach their full potential for health and life” (WHO, 2018). Parents who are educated, supported, and respected through this period are more likely to be strong advocates for themselves and their families. When families are healthy, communities are healthy.

You have a vital role to play in this process!

Who Are Our Trainers?

Our team of trainers are the people you will get to know during your training. We are all parents. Some of us are grandparents. We all have established businesses as doulas, educators, and lactation counselors. We live on four different continents and have extensive experience with different cultures, different families, and different outcomes. We all know firsthand what it is like to work in hospitals, birthing centers, and at homebirths. We understand the challenges of balancing study with work and family. All of us have been through the courses as students ourselves. We are committed to seeing maternity care that puts families first.

When you begin, your trainer will be in touch with you in the first few days to introduce themselves. They want to make sure you don’t feel isolated and will encourage you to make connections within the Childbirth International community and your local network. Each time you submit a piece of work your trainer will contact you with feedback and suggestions. Your trainer will review and assess your assignments and evaluations throughout your course. Rather than an anonymous person checking your assignment submissions off a checklist, you will receive personalized feedback with each assignment from your trainer – the person who has got to know you and established a relationship with you. (Because you can take as long as you like to complete your training, your trainer may change during your course.)

You can read a personal introduction from our trainers here

In summary, we will be beside you every step of the way – our goal is for you to succeed. Childbirth International is always looking to grow and develop – we never stop learning. With a strong team of trainers worldwide, we are exploring new courses and ways to make your training journey even more rewarding. Together we all stand with parents, their babies, and families across the world. Birth matters.