The New Year may yet bring new opportunities to many Red Deerians and one such opportunity is training to be able to become a certified doula.
A doula, as explained by course leader and experienced doula Elaine Montgomery, provides emotional, physical and informational support during pregnancy, labour, birth and immediately postpartum.
“The class includes talking about what a doula is and does,” said Montgomery.
The course runs Jan. 20 from 1 – 8 p.m. and again on Jan. 21-22 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Family First Chiropractic and Wellness.
“Really a doula doesn’t give any medical advice; we’re just there for support to help the mother get the information she needs and help her cope with labour and birth, and talk to the dad.”
Montgomery said the course is open to anyone interested in becoming a doula and that some mothers also take the course when their daughters become pregnant.
“At that point it’s been so long since they’ve had their own baby it’s a good refresher. We’ve even had mothers and daughters take the course together.”
The weekend training looks at the details of what it takes to be a doula and what the duties are of a doula. “We do some theory; even though doulas do not actually provide medical information they need to know what the different stages of labour are and what the mother is going through.”
Montgomery said that part of the doula’s job is to keep the labouring mother calm and to be able to give her advice regarding when it might be time to head to the hospital or to rest and save their energy.
“As a doula we are available 24 hours a day from 28 weeks on. If at 3 a.m. they can’t get a hold of a doctor they can call us. Sometimes they just want to talk.”
Montgomery said the course can be a good way to learn how to take care of a labouring mother whether that training comes in handy for a daughter, sister, friend, or even to take it on as a job.
The course also teaches what some of the complications can be that sometimes come with pregnancy and labour so that a doula can recognize, assess, and deal with the expecting mother in an appropriate fashion. “There is all kinds of information out there, and a doula is someone who can listen and help the mother find the right information.”
Montgomery has been working as a doula for 15 years. She worked in labour and delivery before that only after having taught prenatal classes early on.
“I found it was very frustrating as a nurse to not be able to provide labour support. Mothers need someone who is there for just them and no other reason and who is not going to get called away.”
Montgomery said the doula training can be very helpful for anyone and that having a doula present during birth can be a great addition as fathers often don’t know what to expect or are intimidated by their labouring partners.
The course does not provide the certification process but once the course is completed, an exam can be completed so that a person can become fully certified through Doulas of North America (DONA).
The cost is $450 with $200 of that required to secure registration. Full payment must be received by Jan. 15.
For more information, call 403-252-4683 or Elmont@shaw.ca. Visit www.dona.org.