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Now You Can Combine Doula Training With Bodywork Therapy

22 Jun 2015

As more and more people are moving toward natural health care approaches, we are excited to announce a new elective that students in any of our three diploma programs can add to their course schedule: Birth Doula & Bodywork Therapy.  Many pregnant woman who have included a doula as part of their prenatal care are able to experience a more natural childbirth without the need for medication.  A doula who is trained in bodywork therapy has an extra edge, as massage has been shown to enhance the body’s release of natural oxytocin (often given synthetically to promote labor) as well as raising the pain tolerance threshold. 

While many are familiar with the term ‘midwife’ in connection with childbirth, the concept of the doula is catching on. Though it may be unfamiliar to some Westerners, the doula is a tradition that is centuries old. Doulas are becoming more and more common among modern pregnant woman, and many are opting to have both a midwife and a doula.  Although both provide care for the pregnant woman and their duties often overlap, there are some significant differences:

  • 06jun09b2a15A midwife is considered more like a health care provider, while a doula functions more as a coach.
  • Midwives offer the medical support a pregnant woman needs, while doulas focus more on emotional support and physical comfort.
  • In many localities midwives are licensed to provide obstetrical care in a hospital setting and are often considered the woman’s ‘primary physician’; a doula provides a different unique type of support to the mother. 

Since our focus is on natural, holistic health care, we are excited to now include doula training as a part of our curriculum.  A doula who is trained in bodywork therapy has an additional tool to offer clients.  Massage therapy is extremely beneficial in helping women cope with the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy and the postpartum recovery period.  This class includes training in bodywork specific to both pregnancy and labor, but it will also provide training that meets the DONA International Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics so the student can apply for DONA certification.  (DONA was formerly known as Doulas of North America.)

If you’re considering a career in the natural health care field to provide care for pregnant women, perhaps training as a massage therapist as well as a doula is the path for you!  Nurse-midwife training usually takes four years, but in as little as 12 months you could be on your way to providing much-needed natural support for pregnant women.  For details on this elective course, click here

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