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By Sarah Branion

On 11/15/18, I shared the following with CAPPA, which is “an international certification organization for Doulas, Childbirth Educators and Lactation Educators”.  I learned in response that “the educational committee has let [the Manager of Corporate Operations] know that they will not be reviewing the information until after the new year” even though I requested a response before my certification lapsed 12/15/18.  What a disappointment that they could not respond in a respectful one month time period.

I wanted to share why I won’t be recertifying as a CAPPA doula and why I will encourage interested doulas to certify elsewhere. Please share my comments with the director of the Labor Doula Program.

I was reviewing the certification and recertificaiton requirements and found that CAPPA is still holding on to the archaic and discriminatory certification requirement that doulas attend 3 births, but none may be scheduled cesareans.  Yes, the skills of assisting a person through laboring stages are essential and even center to the profession, but learning how to educate, support and hold space for families that have to schedule a cesarean are no less important. These skills can be taught and reviewed just like laboring support.

[A CAPPA representative on Facebook] and I went back and forth on CAPPAConnection on Facebook and I wanted to share my feedback with the organization directly.

I think CAPPA needs to review and change this stance for the many reasons. By not allowing a scheduled cesarean for certification, CAPPA is communicating that cesareans are not real births and that doula support is not needed for births through cesareans. PERIOD.

CAPPA can claim they support all birth, but separating out this kind of birth’s support is a striking stance and discriminatory to our clients. Often certifying doulas are on a short timeline to finish and would have to turn away a client with a schedule cesarean. What does that communicate to the community we serve? No wonder doula support isn’t as often utilized in the [Operating Room], we aren’t seen as essential there, even from our certifying body. There are 3 births required, so allowing one to be a caesarean would allow doulas to showcase the prenatal, postnatal and in OR support (if applicable) they have learned. Cesarean births require DIFFERENT doula skills, not NO doula skill nor LESS doula skills.

It’s time that CAPPA update the certifying births requirement.


Sarah Branion

**originally posted at Wonderstruck Doula