Continuing education is a necessity and a priority for anyone working in maternity care. As doulas we are also dedicated to educate ourselves, to update our skills, and be aware of the latest research. The Doula Association of Edmonton recognizes the difficulty and financial limitations of local doulas to access distant learning or to attract speakers to Edmonton. Because of this, the Doula Association of Edmonton is committed to make education opportunities more accessible to members through a self-run continuing education lecture series, google group, mentoring program and partnerships with other local associations, professionals and schools in the birthing community.
Continuing Education Lecture Series / Educational Meetings
The Doula Association of Edmonton created a continuing education lecture series in the fall of 2007. Each lecture is free of charge for members and meetings are held every other month (usually on the last Thursday of that month). Lecture speakers address specific topics announced to the membership every fall.
The Doula Association of Edmonton encourages doulas to read regularly and keep aware of the latest guidelines, techniques and health related news. The Doula Association of Edmonton is a lifetime member of ASAC and receives the magazine Birth Issues which it distributes to all of its members.
Many certifying organizations have established a number of educational opportunities for doulas. DONA, CAPPA and ProDoula each hold an annual conference where doulas from all over the world can gather, socialize, and listen to speakers. They also hold training workshops for doulas and childbirth educators. To learn more, visit the DONA, CAPPA and ProDoula websites.
Douglas College in New Westminster, British Columbia is the closest program providing college level education to doulas and other childbirth professionals. Their courses offer training in birth support, postpartum support, breastfeeding support and other childbirth education. To find out when the next available trainings are, visit the Doulas College website.
The Association for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth, which has been serving Alberta families since 1979, is a wonderful group for doulas to connect with. Being active members of ASAC enables doulas to be a useful resource for their clients because they can easily keep up to date with the latest developments in Alberta maternity care, acquire a wide variety of skills and be aware of local resources. ASAC has a lending library, monthly meetings, publishes Birth Issues and organizes both spring and fall prenatal lecture series for free at their office.
Edmonton VBAC Group
The Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Group, founded in 1986, is a valuable resource for educating both families and doulas about cesareans and VBACs. The association provides a safe place to learn more about the implications of cesareans, the kind of support needed after a previous cesarean, and what kind of support and resources are require for a VBAC. The group's monthly meetings and workshops as well as their affiliation with ICAN enables doulas to serve the growing number of women who have had cesareans and would like to have a different childbirth experience.
Le Leche League
Le Leche League meetings are an invaluable resource of committed and informed persons dedicated to breastfeeding their children. Monthly group meetings are organized in most cities in Canada. Leaders facilitate informal guided discussions. For doulas this can be a place to learn about breastfeeding and come to identify basic breastfeeding issues. It is an encouraging space and its leaders are often a wealth of local resources and information.
Volunteering and Mentorship
We encourage you to volunteer with a number of a local associations. You will have the opportunity to be part of a structure, gain birth experience and be mentored by more experienced doulas. With your mentor, make sure you clearly express what your needs are and ask what her expectations of you are. Mentors should not ask for any money, but may ask you to assist in visits or to carpool.