Doulas and Education Ideas

Written by Katie Nyberg

I remember attending my doula training as a brand-new doula eager to learn “all the things”. My instructor shared the names of her favorite birth books and I eagerly made a list of titles I wanted to purchase. My goal was to have a library full of books I could loan out to my future clients, and for many years, I loaned out a lot of books! 

Do I still loan out those books fourteen years later? Not at all. My books sit on my shelf collecting dust and occasionally get opened by myself when I am looking for something specific. 

Birthing families today have different needs and styles of learning. Over the past few years, I’ve changed my approach to offering education to the birthing people that I support. 

What is the importance of prenatal education? 

Many studies show that childbirth education has a positive effect on birth outcomes. In one 2019 study, the researchers compared birthing people who attended childbirth education classes with people who did not attend. They found a higher rate of vaginal delivery and lower rate of vacuum extractions for those who attended classes. (1) 

One specific reason I think community-based childbirth education is critical now relates to the very high induction rates we see in the United States. In an article published in The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, the researchers looked at the inductions rates for those who attended birth classes and those who did not. They found that birthing people who attended birth classes where induction methods/risks were included were less likely to have an induction of labor. (2) 

As doulas, we know the importance of evidence based, unbiased information. 

Are Doulas also Childbirth Educators? 

As doulas, we just do not have the time to provide the quality and quantity of education that expecting parents need to have. I view our role as helping the parents apply what they learned in class to their upcoming birth. For example, we can help them write their birth plans/preferences, practice labor positions, and/or talk through what their baby’s first feeding is going to look like in their place of birth. 

When clients ask me, “When do we have our next prenatal appointment with you?”, my answer is usually, “Let’s do your next prenatal appointment after you finish your birth class!” While my clients know that I cannot require them to attend a birth class, I highly recommend that they attend a class that works for their lives and their birth goals. I even have a list of great class options they can choose from! My list includes In-person, online, hybrid, express, multiple weeks, free, cheaper, full price, etc. 

What can Doulas do to educate their clients? 

Here are some methods I’ve added over the past few years to increase access to great evidence-based education for my clients: 

  • Social Media: I have a list of great Instagram accounts ready to share with clients. We have some amazing CAPPA members sharing great evidence-based info online! 
  • Podcasts: Whether it’s a great episode or a great podcast channel, some clients love adding your recommendations to their queue. 
  • Digital Library: I found some great pdfs that are available for free distribution that I put into a Google Drive that I call my “Digital Library”. I have folders for “Before Birth”, “During Birth”, and “Lactation” to make it easy to find the pdfs. 
  • “Drip” Email: Through my CRM software, I can schedule emails to be sent at various points in their pregnancy. I share links to my Digital Library, information about preparing for labor, and end of pregnancy tips. This is a great way to share bits of educational content throughout their pregnancy without being overwhelming. 
  • Modern Community Based Birth Classes: I have a list ready to go for our clients! 

What are some ways you can add little bits of crucial information to your clients in ways that are practical and applicable to them? 


  1. Gluck, Ohad & Pinchas‐Cohen, Tally & Hiaev, Zvia & Rubinstein, Hanny & Bar, Jacob & Kovo, Michal. (2019). The impact of childbirth education classes on delivery outcome. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics. 148. 10.1002/ijgo.13016. 
  2. Simpson, Kathleen Rice PhD, RNC, FAAN; Newman, Gloria MSN, RNC; Chirino, Octavio R. MD, FACOG, FACS. Patient Education to Reduce Elective Labor Inductions. MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing 35(4):p 188-194, July 2010. | DOI: 10.1097/NMC.0b013e3181d9c6d6

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