The Importance of Birth Doulas

by Debra Tolson RN, BSN, ICCE, IBCLC, CPST

Since the first article on birth doula care was published by Klaus and Kennel in JAMA in 1991, research has continued to reinforce the many benefits.  In recent years, two US states (Minnesota and Oregon) allow Medicaid reimbursement for doula services. New York is piloting a program that will offer similar reimbursement, and ICEA is aware of other states that are considering Medicaid reimbursement as well. Hospital-based doula programs continue to spread across the US. Many have data that show a significant decrease in the cesarean birth rate and a marked increase in customer satisfaction. ICEA applauds these measures that improve care for childbearing women. ICEA has the second oldest certification program for birth doulas. The Birth Doula program (as all other ICEA certification programs) is frequently updated with new research, evidenced based materials and resources. Certification ensures that there is a minimal level of knowledge to practice. Birth doula work requires constant learning. No two women are the same. No two births are the same. ICEA recertification is every three years and requires continuing education hours. This certification is the only birth doula program whose education hours are approved by ANCC for nursing continuing education. ICEA often hears of those who have been practicing in the field, yet do not have credentials. They find themselves in a position of needing those credentials and frustrated that they do not have them. It impacts where they practice and the reimbursement received. Certification is being required by many hospital-based programs and for Medicaid reimbursement. ICEA is proud to set the standard for Birth Doula certification and offer a strong evidence based program that is ANCC certified! Check out our program that offers two day workshops, a study guide that helps you to prepare for the exam, and a mentorship program. Enroll today! 

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