Roles and Responsibilities

Birth Professional refers to the role of a Birth Doula, Childbirth Educator, Postpartum Doula or Lactation Counselor (Breastfeeding Counselor).

A Childbirth International Birth Professional:

  • recognizes that their role is defined by their client, not by themselves; they will actively identify the needs, values, and expectations of each client, including their client’s individual definition of their role
  • supports the client’s choices, regardless of their personal views (limits to this are discussed under Ethics and Values below)
  • recognizes they work within an integrated support system, including the client’s family and medical care providers, and encourages their clients to consult medical caregivers on any areas of medical concern
  • works to avoid an adversarial stance with other supporters, including medical staff and family and to promote open and respectful dealings with all persons they come into contact with in the course of their work
  • provides physical and practical support, emotional support, and information and perspective; they do not provide prescriptions, advice, or recommendations, including regarding use of “natural” remedies or complementary (“alternative”) therapies such as homeopathy or herbal medicine in their role as a Birth Professional
  • recognizes that it is always the client who makes decisions, and that it is not the Birth Professionals responsibility to advocate with caregivers on behalf of the client; the Birth Professional may discuss options, or remind a client of her previously stated wishes, but it is the client’s responsibility to state her preferences and intentions, and to determine whether to accept medical interventions
  • does not provide clinical care, medical assessment, diagnosis, or advice, and is not expected to assist the client in any clinical manner in the actual birth of the baby

Evidence-Based Care

A Childbirth International Birth Professional:

  • promotes evidence-based care as the standard for all women and babies
  • has a duty to provide clients with information on the medical evidence for or against any practice, in as far as they are aware of it, to the extent desired by the client – where the Birth Professional provides information that is not in line with current best-available evidence, or where evidence does not exist, this should be clearly stated to the client
  • recognizes that clients may choose care that is not evidence-based, and supports them in that informed choice
  • emphasizes teaching of tools and skills, including those in research, evaluation, assertiveness, communication, and decision-making, not just providing passive information, so that the client has the practical means to achieve their goals and further reinforcing the responsibility of clients to make their own decisions

Professional Ethics and Values

A Childbirth International Birth Professional:

  • maintains the highest standards of honesty, integrity, respect, courtesy, and professionalism when dealing with any other persons in their professional capacity, including clients’ family members and medical caregivers
  • is punctual for client appointments
  • does not promote products that undermine breastfeeding (e.g. bottles, teats, pacifiers, formula milk) to clients, does not recommend such products, provide samples of such products or use teaching materials or equipment that contain the brand names of such products.
  • communicates their terms of service, availability, back-up arrangements, limitations of service, fees, refunds, cancellation policy to their client – we suggest that this is in a written agreement signed by both the client and the Birth Professional
  • makes themselves available continuously during an agreed on-call period; if a situation arises that prevents them from being available, they will make every effort to communicate this orally (in person or in a live telephone call, not solely by voicemail, email, or text message), and to ensure a back-up is available
  • makes every effort to disclose as soon as is practicable, including on first meeting, any circumstance in which they are unable to provide service including because of ethical or personal conflicts
  • maintains client confidentiality and will not discuss any personal details of a client except with a back-up, and only such information as is necessary for the back-up to provide appropriate care; the Birth Professional may discuss details with others if expressly permitted by the client, or as required by law
  • keeps all records confidential, except where disclosure may be required by law
  • recognizes their own limitations and clearly communicates to a client when the client’s needs or questions are outside of their own area of expertise and knowledge and refers a client to appropriate services in this case
  • clearly communicates to a client that they are not yet certified and are currently in training if they have not yet completed and graduated from their course

Intellectual Property

A Childbirth International Birth Professional will respect copyright and intellectual property at all times, including as set out below.

All written work authored by Childbirth International or their agents is protected by copyright, including books, articles, study guides, online articles, websites, business forms, personal emails, posts to an Internet discussion forum, and any other written work, regardless of how formal it is, or whether it has been “published” in a recognized book or journal.

Distributing or reposting copyrighted material on paper or online without the express permission of the author or copyright holder is illegal and unethical. This includes acts such as posting an article from a medical journal on an Internet discussion forum, photocopying an article to include in a set of handouts for clients, or using another person’s page on “what is a doula/childbirth educator/breastfeeding counselor” or another person’s registration form on one’s own website without express permission.


Plagiarism is the use of the written work of another without giving credit. Plagiarism is not acceptable in student assignments, handouts or other materials created for clients, websites and promotional materials, discussion in personal communications such as email or posting to discussion forums, or any other written work. Plagiarism includes such acts as quoting any material from another source without credit, or passing off someone else’s idea as one’s own where the original idea is identifiable and the originator known.


No written work is 100% original; all work builds on ideas from elsewhere. It is permissible to build on the ideas of others so long as the original work is credited where those ideas are still identifiable. Changing a few words to make a work or an idea appear slightly different from the original is not adequate. Work must be completely rewritten with significant transformation or new elements added, or else credit must be given, even if direct quotes are not used.

Training Materials

Childbirth International students and certified Birth Professionals may use CBI materials when working with clients. They may not train other Birth Professionals with CBI materials, provide workshops using CBI materials, or distribute the material to persons other than clients without the express written permission from Childbirth International.


If a student or graduate subsequently establishes a Birth Professional training program that is deemed by Childbirth International to be in direct competition to Childbirth International, access to the student website and any discussion forums or websites managed by Childbirth International will be terminated. If the Childbirth International training program has not been completed at the time the student establishes such a training program, the student will be terminated from the Childbirth International training program and will not be eligible for certification. In such cases, Childbirth International will not be liable for a refund of any training or membership fees.

Full Disclosure

At no time will a student claim to be graduated with Childbirth International unless they have received their Certificate. Graduates cannot claim to be graduated with Childbirth International unless they completed all the requirements of the course they are claiming certification in and have received their certificate.

Professional Development

A Childbirth International Birth Professional:

  • uses reflective practice in their daily professional practice
  • pursues continuing education as part of their professional development
  • once a certified Birth Doula, if identifying themselves as a certified Labor Doula, they will acknowledge Childbirth International as the certifying body by using the initials CBD (CBI)
  • once a certified Childbirth Educator, if identifying themselves as a certified Childbirth Educator, they will acknowledge Childbirth International as the certifying body by using the initials Dip CBEd (CBI)
  • once a certified Postpartum Doula, if identifying themselves as a certified Postpartum Doula, they will acknowledge Childbirth International as the certifying body by using the initials CPD (CBI)
  • once a certified Breastfeeding Counselor, if identifying themselves as a certified Breastfeeding Counselor, they will acknowledge Childbirth International as the certifying body by using the initials CBC (CBI)