Early Registration for 2014 Conference Ends Soon!

Register now and save $100 on the DONA International/Lamaze International 2014 Confluence in Kansas City, MO. Discounts are also available on pre-conference events, including birth and postpartum doula training workshops as well as advanced workshops for doulas and nurses (open to anyone). But hurry, early registration ends July 31!

The full schedule of sessions, including keynote speakers and concurrent sessions, is available at the confluence website: lamazedona2014.org. This year there are four tracks: Evidenced Based Teaching and Practice, New and Emerging Research in the Field of Childbearing, Using Technology and Innovation to Reach Childbearing Women, and Supporting the Needs of Childbirth Professionals.

I can’t wait to see you all in Kansas City!

– Adrianne Gordon, CD(DONA), MBA


Medicaid Now Covering Birth Doulas in Oregon

Doulas who have been registered on the Traditional Healthcare Worker Registry can now have their services reimbursed by Medicaid. The registration process requires both an application and background check. This is a huge development for bringing doula services to every family that desires labor support. Oregon’s move to support doula services follows research that found that doula supported births had lower cesarean section and pre-term birth rates.

A study published early last year in the American Journal of Public Health connected birth doula services to both improved outcomes and lowered costs for Medicaid recipients.

Results: The cesarean rate was 22.3% among doula-supported births and 31.5% among Medicaid beneficiaries nationally. The corresponding preterm birth rates were 6.1% and 7.3%, respectively. After control for clinical and sociodemographic factors, odds of cesarean delivery were 40.9% lower for doula-supported births (adjusted odds ratio = 0.59; P<.001). Potential cost savings to Medicaid programs associated with such cesarean rate reductions are substantial, but depend on states’ reimbursement rates, birth volume, and current cesarean rates.

Conclusions: State Medicaid programs should consider offering coverage for birth doulas to realize potential cost savings associated with reduced cesarean rates.

Thanks to Eva Bild, DONA International Western Canada Regional Director for sharing this information!

Source: “Doula Care, Birth Outcomes, and Costs Among Medicaid Beneficiaries” Am J Public Health, Feb. 2013

Ode to Alternative Contact Hours – Audio, Video & Online Options

Just like self-study via books or articles provides valuable learning, audio and online education can expand knowledge and enhance skills. The fourth post in The DONA Doula Chronicles series on Alternative Contact Hour options for recertification focuses on recorded sources of information. See our previous posts on Events, Reading, Writing, & Research and Teaching & Sharing for more ways to learn and grow as a DONA International doula.

Listen to a Conference General Session – Audio recordings of general sessions from past DONA International conferences are available from the website. The session must have taken place during your recertification period and have been purchased from either DONA International or the recording contractor. An essay about the session is required and each session provides one contact hour. (Alternative A-4)

Watch a Film – Just as our book libraries are often full, we doulas often also have a substantial film collection as well. A film or documentary related to the childbearing year produced by an organization recognized in the field can provide great insight and information impacting how we serve clients. You movie buffs can obtain up to five alternative contact hours per certification period. Grab some popcorn, take notes and enjoy the show! (Alternative A-5)

Online courses – DONA International has partnered with Evidenced Based Birth to offer continuing education contact hours (no Alternative form to complete!) for two courses:
Friedman’s Curve and Failure to Progress” provides 2 contact hours
Evidence-Based Care for Suspected Big Babies” provides 1.8 contact hours
In addition to research based up-to-date information, taking these courses also supports DONA International because Evidenced Based Birth is donating part of the registration fee back to DONA. Use the links above, no coupon code needed.

The full list and detailed descriptions of alternative options can be found on the DONA International website:

Birth doula recertification: http://www.dona.org/PDF/Birth%20Recertification_Alternatives%20to%20Continuing%20Education_0113.pdf

Postpartum doula recertification: http://www.dona.org/PDF/Postpartum%20Recertification_Alternatives%20to%20Continuing%20Education_0113.pdf

Ode to Alternative Contact Hours – Teaching & Sharing

Teaching is learningDoulas by nature are teachers. We educate our clients and, often, our communities too. These Alternative Contact Hour options for recertification capture the opportunities we have to learn and share about the role and benefits of doulas as well as topics relevant to our services. While most consider observing a midwife or doctor a learning experience, we know doulas are using those encounters to share about doulas too! We’ve outlined what teaching and sharing experiences can be counted for Alternative Contact Hours for DONA International recertification. In most cases, someone else will need to verify your activity, so be sure to check the Recertification Alternatives to Continuing Education on the DONA International website for all the details.

Presentation About Doulas – Many doulas, as part of their efforts to educate their communities about doulas, give presentations to parenting groups, the staff of hospitals and birth centers, as well as other doulas. Not only do these help spread the word about doulas and the work we do, but they require that we provide updated information and research — in other words, keeping up our own education! Each presentation/discussion session lasting an hour counts as one contact hour. You can count up to three per recertification period. (Alternative Option A-1)

Create an Approved Workshop – If continuing education events in your area are few and far between, why not develop your own and have it approved for DONA International contact hours? The investment in the research and curriculum development enhances your own continuing education to the tune of three contact hours for every contact hour approved for the presentation. (Alternative Option A-8)

Observe Another Professional – Four or more hours shadowing a midwife, doctor, lactation consultant, or certified doula working with clients can provide a wealth of information and resources for doulas, both new and experienced. This is a great way to network with perinatal professionals, particularly for doulas who have recently relocated. Up to four contact hours can be earned through this alternative. (Alternative Option B-2)

Mentor a New Doula – A certified doula can act as a preceptor to a DONA-trained, but not yet certified doula. This arrangement provides valuable observation experience for the new doula as she shadows an experienced doula offering labor support to her own client and is a strong manifestation of DONA International’s mission. Up to 10 contact hours are available to the preceptor doula toward the recertification requirement. (Alternative Option B-3)

Lead a Support Group Meeting - Doulas can provide very valuable information and resources to support groups. Research and develop a presentation on a topic, provide a 20 minute presentation and facilitate a short discussion afterward to a support group related to the childbearing year. Write a brief statement on how this experience assists your practice and have one participant sign the required form to earn one contact hour for each one hour meeting. Supporting families in this way can earn a recertifying doula up to five contact hours total. (Alternative Option B-6)

The full list of Alternative Options is available here:
Birth doula recertification: http://www.dona.org/PDF/Birth%20Recertification_Alternatives%20to%20Continuing%20Education_0113.pdf
Postpartum doula recertification: http://www.dona.org/PDF/Postpartum%20Recertification_Alternatives%20to%20Continuing%20Education_0113.pdf

photo credit: cybrarian77 via photopin cc

Ode to Alternative Contact Hours – Reading, Writing, & Research

We all know that continuing education is important to maintain and enhance our skills so that we can provide more effective support for families. The truth is, most doulas are constantly engaged in continuing education; it’s making sure to capture all that activity at recertification time that is the hard part!

Continuing EducationWhile events provide interaction, which can lead to a broader network and greater support for your practice, sometimes delving deeper into a topic on your own can provide significant learning. Individual study is also flexible to your schedule, but be warned that the lack of structure can be a challenge all its own. Study groups or partners can be a great way to clear that hurdle and continue your doula education.

Here are some of the Alternatives to Continuing Education for Recertification available for birth and postpartum doulas. Follow The DONA Doula Chronicles for more ways to earn and, most importantly, capture, contact hours outside of events.

Book or Article Packet Study – Most doulas have an extensive library of books related to the childbearing year or parenting. With new resources coming out all the time, this option is a great way to apply the continued reading most doulas are already engaged in toward recertification. Instead of a book, five researched based articles from medical or nursing journals can be substituted. DONA International requires that a written synopsis be submitted with your recertification application to receive credit. Up to five contact hours using this option may be submitted within one certification period. (Alternative Option A-2)

Book Comparison – We serve clients from all walks of life and with various interests and philosophies on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and parenting. Read and write a synopsis comparing two books on the same subject but with different perspectives. Each comparison essay counts as two contact hours. (Alternative Option A-6)

Write An Article for the International Doula – A feature article in DONA International’s quarterly magazine or another pregnancy or parenting publication based on research or a comparative study is a great way to share what you’ve learned with others in the field. For the writers among us, this option can provide up to eight alternative contact hours (two hours each for up to four articles). (Alternative Option A-3)

We hope this information on your reading, writing and research options for continuing education alternatives for recertification helps you conquer the contact hours. For the complete details and requirements for all of your alternative contact hour options check out:

Birth doula recertification: http://www.dona.org/PDF/Birth%20Recertification_Alternatives%20to%20Continuing%20Education_0113.pdf
Postpartum doula recertification: http://www.dona.org/PDF/Postpartum%20Recertification_Alternatives%20to%20Continuing%20Education_0113.pdf

photo credit: FutUndBeidl via photopin cc

Continuing Education for Recertification

I Learn - What's Your Superpower?There is no doubt that doulas lead very busy lives. Our schedules are made more hectic by the nature of what we do – waiting for babies who are not known to abide by anyone’s calendar. Finding time and opportunities to get the continuing education we need to stay up to date and certified can be a significant challenge. Thankfully, DONA accepts a number of activities for recertification.

To help you sort through them, The DONA Doula Chronicles will have a series of posts on options. We’re starting with attending events, which include conferences, trainings, workshops and meetings – anything that includes face to face interaction. Keep in mind that often the presenter or organizer of the event needs to sign a form for the hours to count and additional supporting documentation must be submitted with your recertification application. So read on to learn more about recertification contact hour options and requirements and conquer the contact hours!

Education Events Offering Contact Hours by Approved Organizations – An event doesn’t have to offer DONA International contact hours to qualify toward your recertification continuing education requirement. College and university courses, for example, may count as do events or workshops offering ICEA or National Association of Social Workers contact hours. Your local Area Health Education Center or community college could be the solution to your continuing education needs! See the full list of approved programs and organizations from which DONA accepts contact hours here.

Educational Events Not Offering Contact Hours – Workshops, seminars, and presentations for perinatal professionals that don’t offer contact hours from an approved organization can provide valuable learning and are great for networking. Events such as presentations on postpartum depression or pregnancy nutrition workshops may count for up to 5 hours of your continuing education. (Alternative Option B-1)

Support Group Meetings – Up to five contact hours may be earned through attendance at meetings of support groups related to the childbearing year or parenting. ICAN meetings, parents of multiples groups and pregnancy after loss group meetings can help doulas expand their ability to support families and increase awareness of community resources. (Alternative Option B-4)

DONA Approved Birth or Postpartum Workshop – Train in a second doula role to expand your practice or repeat a workshop with a different trainer to refresh your knowledge. Each doula trainer has a unique approach to her workshop, so going back to school again can provide new methods of explaining concepts to clients, updated research and statistics, and a renewed passion for your work after being surrounded by the enthusiasm of women embarking on their doula career. (Alternative Option B-5)

Tip: Before you attend an event, review the appropriate Alternatives to Continuing Education document on the DONA International website (links below) to determine whether you will be able to use it for your recertification continuing education, and if yes, print Form B and take it with you, so you’ll have it on hand for the required signature. Take great notes and get to learning!

Birth doula recertification: http://www.dona.org/PDF/Birth%20Recertification_Alternatives%20to%20Continuing%20Education_0113.pdf

Postpartum doula recertification: http://www.dona.org/PDF/Postpartum%20Recertification_Alternatives%20to%20Continuing%20Education_0113.pdf

photo credit: venspired via photopin cc

DONA International Press Release: Doulas Celebrate Recognition as Key Factor in Reducing Cesarean Rates

The doula world danced when the updated Obstetric Care Consensus: Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery was released in February by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM). Doulas were mentioned several times as an effective tool for reducing cesarean rates. DONA International has issued a press release celebrating the recognition of the role and effectiveness of doula support. The release begins:

“Every May since 1998, doulas and their supporters celebrate International Doula Month to recognize the role and benefits of professional labor and postpartum support personnel. This year, the celebration is particularly sweet since doulas have recently been described by two leading physician groups as playing an important role in reducing the nation’s cesarean birth rate and improving overall labor and delivery outcomes. Research indicates that continuous physical, emotional and informational support before, during and just after birth by a trained and experienced professional has significant benefits to both mother and child. Earlier this year the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal – Fetal Medicine (SMFM) issued a joint statement, ‘Obstetric Care Consensus: Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery’ to address the nation’s rising surgical birth rate. The statement provides new guidelines for maternity care providers for the management of pregnancy and labor aimed at reducing the rate of cesareans. Doulas were highlighted as both an effective and underutilized solution to improving labor and delivery outcomes.”

You can find the full press release on the DONA International website here: http://www.dona.org/PDF/ReleaseDoulasKeytoReducingCesareanRates_0514.pdf

Doulas for Doulas!

As birth and postpartum support professionals, we provide comfort, calm and help to new mothers and their families day and night in all types of weather and circumstances. But who supports us? DONA International is the doula for doulas providing support as we learn, establish our practice, assist our clients, navigate the health care system, grow as people and professionals, and connect with one another. Established by doulas and focused exclusively on the doula profession, DONA International has helped establish birth and postpartum support as a professional service and continues to evolve to support the doula community’s changing needs.

So what, exactly, does a DONA International membership provide?

Referrals – The DONA International website offers a searchable database of certified birth and postpartum doulas by location to help families find a doula.

References – The home office fields hundreds of calls each year from families seeking to confirm that a doula they are considering is a DONA International trained or certified doula.

Doula workshops – Comprehensive training by DONA approved trainers, which includes both the necessary information and skills to provide doula services as well as information on starting and operating a doula practice.

Continuing education – From DONA approved advanced doula workshops to the annual conference and webinars, on-going learning helps us keep our skills sharp, expand our practices, and be more successful. A quick search at dona.org is all that is needed to find an upcoming beginning or advanced workshop or the contact information for area trainers.

Communication – The beautiful quarterly International Doula magazine, regionally focused eDoula e-newsletters, Facebook page, Facebook group, and The DONA Doula Chronicles blog help us stay informed and connected across the globe.

Marketing support – From tips on how to hire a doula on the website and articles from the magazine that can be shared to topic sheets such as “Dads, Partners and Doulas” (also available online), DONA International provides information to inform families about the roles of doulas and the benefits of our services.

Professional recognition – As the most well-recognized doula organization in the world, DONA International is an authoritative source of information and guidelines on the doula profession. Being affiliated with DONA International can help provide legitimacy and respect for doulas in their communities with families and providers.

Should you ever have questions or needs, feel free to reach out. A full list of contacts at DONA is available here.

Happy Doulaing!

– Adrianne Gordon, CD(DONA)

Inspiration from Ina May Gaskin

As we celebrate doulas this month, let’s not forget that the work we do is HARD! Every now and again, we need a little inspiration. How about a 74-year-old world renowned midwife giving a TEDxTalk on minimizing fear of birth?

Ina May Gaskin, founder and director of The Farm Midwifery Center, winner of the The Right Livelihood Award and author of several books including Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta, Spiritual Midwifery as well as a guides to childbirth breastfeeding gave a wonderful presentation last year called “Reducing fear of childbirth in U.S. culture.”

Watch, be inspired, and share so that others may be inspired as well!

For more on Ina May, visit: inamay.com

– Adrianne Gordon, CD(DONA)

Help! I need somebody. Help, not just anybody!

Sometimes a doula needs a little help and not just from anyone, but someone with specific knowledge about our role or professional development. In our work, we know the value of having a trusted source of information. So that you can get the help you need, here is a list of your contacts at DONA International. You can find this list anytime at http://www.dona.org/aboutus/leadership.php as well.

State/Provincial/Area Representatives
These wonderful volunteers are often the best first contact, particularly for questions related to your local area or DONA International in general. Check the full list at dona.org (under About Us: Board & Leadership) to find your local contact.

Regional Directors
Feel free to reach out to your Regional Director with your questions about policies, procedures, communications or events. They can also help connect you with the right person to address your needs if you aren’t sure who at DONA to contact.

Tammy Ryan – MidwesternUSDirector@DONA.org

Virginia Rivenbark – NortheasternUSDirector@DONA.org

Patti Treubert – SoutheasternUSDirector@DONA.org

Linda Worzer – SouthwesternUSDirector@DONA.org

Eva Bild (Interim) – WesternPacificUSDirector@DONA.org

Jillian Hand – EasternCanadaDirector@DONA.org

Eva Bild – WesternCanadaDirector@DONA.org

Ana Paula Markel (Interim) – MexicoInternationalDirector@DONA.org

Board of Directors
The DONA International Board of Directors provides leadership and direction for the organization with each Board member focusing on her particular role or area of service.

Sunday Tortelli, President – President@dona.org

HeatherGail Lovejoy, President Elect – Presidentelect@dona.org

Johanna D’Aleo, Treasurer – Treasurer@dona.org

Cynthia Keillor, Executive Director – DONA@dona.org

Uta Mattox, Director of Certification – Certificationdirector@dona.org

Ann Grauer, Director of Education – Education@dona.org

Tracy Good, Director of Publications – Publications@dona.org

Ana Paula Markel, Director of International Development – InternationalDevelopment@dona.org

Ravae Sinclair, Multicultural Director – Multicultural@dona.org

Other Contacts: Coordinators, Chairs, Editors

Eva Bild, Grievance Chair – Grievancechair@dona.org

Tammy Ryan, Third Party Reimbursement Coordinator – 3prcoordinator@dona.org

Patti Treubert, Contact Hour Coordinator – SoutheasternUSdirector@dona.org

Susan Troy, International Doula Managing Editor – IDEditor@dona.org

Adrianne Gordon, eDoula Newsletter Editor – Newsletters@dona.org

Adrianne Gordon, DONA Blog Manager – Blog@dona.org

– Adrianne Gordon, CD(DONA)