Our Story

About Childbirth International

Childbirth International was born in 1998. At the time, there were few options for training as a doula, childbirth educator or lactation counselor. You could choose a two-day workshop but we were seeing 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, knowledgeable, and to be able to learn in a supportive environment. And we wanted to make training and certification more accessible for those who had 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 wanted to feel prepared, confident, and professional in their role? We looked at what skills and competencies were really important in working with birthing families. What really made the difference? What we discovered was that birthing families felt strong and empowered when they had knowledge. But they also needed tools to know how to use that knowledge effectively. And birth and lactation professionals needed to have time to not just absorb knowledge or practice a double-hip squeeze, but to reflect on their work, on the choices their clients make and their own feelings about those choices. Time that 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 making the decision 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 health care 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 too 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, you, 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 a wide range of topics provide continuing education opportunities for you to develop specialist skills and build your professional portfolio. We have also seen a growing interest in health professionals – midwives, nurses, 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 the 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 organization to be given this honor!

In 2019, we began expanding our offering of professional development courses as we saw that there were limited opportunities for birth and lactation professionals to develop their skills in to 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 are focused on continuing to provide 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 the importance of providing leadership in our industry. From utilizing the latest technology to deliver our courses, to recognizing the issues that affect all birth and lactation professionals globally.

In 2019, we began developing the core competencies for all birth and lactation professionals. We have been carrying extensive research and surveys from experts in the field to determine what the competencies are for birth and lactation professionals at the foundational, core, advanced, and expert level. We have been mapping our courses to these competencies to ensure that our course materials address these. In 2022, we will be launching a comprehensive website that outlines the competencies and allows all training organizations to map their courses to them 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 and addressing those needs using the latest technology and providing the personal support that birth and lactation professionals are looking for.

Our Core Values

Through all of this growth, we have stayed true to our core values.

  • 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 for 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 are able to define for yourself what your business will look like and how that business will be run. That you can be successful in your training in a way that is flexible enough to adjust to your priorities and lifestyle, using online learning and adopting new technologies to make this easier for you. Training that 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 in four different continents and have extensive experience with different cultures, different families, 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 as well as your local network. Each time you submit a piece of work your trainer will contact you with feedback and suggestions. Your assignments and evaluations will be reviewed and assessed by your trainer 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 there beside you every step of the way – our goal is for you to be successful. Childbirth International is always looking to grow and develop – we never stop learning. With a strong team of trainers across the world, 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.