Category Archives: Doula Training

Birth Ways’ Cheat Sheet for Doulas: When clients should go to the Hospital?

March 15, 2022

Many clients want guidance on when to go to hospital during labour, especially if they wish to do most of their labour at home or don’t want to get there too early. Doulas don’t talk people out of going to the hospital. However, many people chose to stay home longer if they are being supported and can be reassured that they are still early in the process.

One little trick is to ask the labouring person if they feel like eating. If the answer is yes, then it’s likely still early in the birth process. Most people will not feel like eating once they’re in active labour! 

Sometimes we urge our clients to get going!

When to go to hospital:

  • When labouring client feels safer/better there
  • Any concern about pregnant person or baby
  • Can’t walk or talk through sensations (combined with other signs in this list)
  • Decrease in fetal movement
  • 311 (prime) or 411 (multip); longer with a history of fast birth
  • Lots of pressure / pushing sensations
  • When waters release? 
  • Want pharmaceutical help coping with pain
  • If we hear grunting at the end of a contraction or any sounds that indicate labour is progressing into stage-2 (a.k.a. bearing-down, pushing)

Giving Birth in Hospital

Before Leaving Home

  • Provincial Health Card or Insurance docs
  • Prenatal records with Birth Plan
  • Prescription medications
  • Have a snack or juice - good blood sugar 
  • Pee!
  • Notice fetal movement

Tips for Hospital Arrival

Registration desk

  • Need health card

Assessment / Triage in Birth Unit

  • Health card, prenatal records & birth-plan
  • Lots of questions; no one should ask / talk during contractions
  • 3 questions:
  1.   Labour pattern - show app
  2.   Amniotic fluid - ROM? Colour?
  3.   Is Baby moving normally?
  • Cervical check - pee first
  • Can wear own clothes but be ready for maternal physical assessment 
  • No need to lay on bed until staff is ready to do physical assessment immediately; stay in positions that feel good.

Warning signs (during labour or anytime in preg): 

See your BWI Doula Training Manual or local health region’s list of warning signs. Below are some signs that doulas must know.

Call 911:

  • Frank (flowing) red bleeding or clots - 911
  • Sudden / severe / intense / sharp pain that doesn’t pass - 911
  • Cord prolapse - 911 

Seek medical attention today and in a timely manner but drive calmly:

  • Decreased fetal movement = seek medical attention TODAY
  • Visual disturbances
  • Maternal fever
  • Coloured/smelly waters; may = meconium, infection


Here is this cheat sheet as a downloadable PDF. Do you have tips to share on knowing when clients should go to the hospital?

PS: Sign-up for our Postpartum Doula Training and our Birth Doula Training are now open. Join the doula circle and help your community!

For more doula information and news, please follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Birth Ways International: Get to know the placenta

February 11, 2021

The placenta is amazing!  Let's take a moment to appreciate the jobs they do during pregnancy!   

The placenta attaches to the side of the womb, gets oxygen to your sweet babe through the umbilical cord and removes waste from their blood.

Remember, your birth is not complete until the placenta is also delivered, by you, so while you are holding your newborn, plan to stay warm, calm, and connected to your child so it comes out easily.   Do not let anyone tug on the cord!


Delayed Cord Clamping - do some research on this because the blood in the cord belongs to the baby so delaying the clamping allows that.  

Who cuts the cord? You? If you do not want to, then it is your choice to ask someone else to do this.

What happens after it comes out?   It will be set aside and examined later to make sure it is complete and healthy.  

Placenta tour - you can ask someone to show you the two sides of the placenta, the amniotic sac and the cord.

Keeping your placenta - it will be discarded unless you tell the staff that you wish to keep it - so plan for that!    Bring a container and keep it cool with ice if you are encapsulating it, or put it in some secure storage bags if you are taking it home.

‘Planting’ your placenta - you can bury or plant it in a garden, yard or special place and plant a tree over it.   There are many options for you here and many women follow their traditional practices with the rituals they use.  Freezing the placenta gives you time to decide what to do.

Making a print - many doulas do this but you can also do it yourself - a fresh placenta is easiest but if you are not going to consume your placenta you can use colors and paints!

Consuming your placenta - do your own research on this - I have had clients who enjoyed them with raspberry smoothies!

Encapsulation - this is a service we offer where we process the placenta carefully and very safely to capsules, which you take.   Most of our clients are repeat customers who thrived in the postpartum and swear that it was the iron, hormones, minerals and components in them.    Women request tinctures too.   We dry the cord as a keepsake!

Lotus birth - again, do some research as I had not had a client who did this so I cannot say.

PS: Sign-up for our Postpartum Doula Training and our Birth Doula Training are now open. Join the doula circle and help your community!

For more doula information and news, please follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

How birth and postpartum doulas can help parents of a premature baby

November 17, 2020

With the birth of a baby comes a mixture of emotions and a sense of celebration. When a premature baby arrives early the feelings of excitement and anxiety can be amplified, and any impulse to celebrate might be drowned out by worry over the child's health, especially if they are in NICU.

There are so many general ways that both birth and postpartum doulas can help the parent(s) of premature babies:

  • extra support through the birth and intensive care stay
  • specific resources for much-needed lactation support
  • listening as they begin to process their experience
  • specialized postpartum support that may start during the hospital stay
  • helping prepare for the transition back home

Premature Baby

What are some specific support tips specific to clients with babies who arrive early?

  • ensuring the mom has enough menstrual supplies for their time in NICU with baby
  • set up a nursing supply bag for her to take with her to that unit
  • reminding her of the benefits of any skin to skin time with baby
  • healthy meals and snacks, a handy water bottle rather than a styrofoam cup
  • listen to their memories of the birth and make notes as they speak
  • record any questions they have about their care

What other tips can you share from your experience with a premature baby?

PS: Sign-up for our Postpartum Doula Training and our Birth Doula Training are now open. Join the doula circle and help your community!

For more doula information and news, please follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Reasons to Become A Doula – Birth Ways International Doula Training

September 27, 2020

Could I be a doula? Where do I begin training? Who takes our doula training and what are their reasons?

Birth Ways International is often asked these questions by people curious about our Birth Doula Training, Postpartum Doula Training, and continuing education courses. We are very happy to answer them as there are many reasons why people want to become a doula.

Reasons to become a doula

Here are a few reasons to become a doula. Which one speaks to you?

  • Had a great birth and want more people to experience that.
  • Experienced a difficult birth and want to help others avoid that challenge.
  • Want to go to the birth of a loved one or community member informed and prepared.
  • Interested in making a career out of being a doula.
  • Want to support families and inform them of all their options.
  • Passionate about helping people during pregnancy, birth and their postpartum.
  • Want to be an advocate for women, babies and families.
  • Inspired to be an advocate for change in the system.

  • Are a healthcare professional and want to deepen their knowledge of the childbearing year.
  • Seeking work in a related field and want to add doula work to their menu of services.
  • Working or training as a massage therapist and are interested in the 6 credits from BDT.
  • Are pregnant and know that this weekend is the best prenatal class around.
  • Applying to midwifery school and know that many of our grads get into the school of their choice.
  • Retired from day job and want to do this awesome caregiving work.
  • Heard that our training is affordable.
  • Love that we blend evidence-based information with the experiences we have gathered in over 600 births and combined 40 years of birth experience.

All of these reasons are valid, as are yours!

Women of all ages and interests take Birth Ways International trainings - there is a space in our circle for you!

The next Birth Doula Training is happening October 23 to 25 and registration is now open! We also offer a variety of classes via video-on-demand as well as a monthly Online Doula Q&A. Please let Angie and Karen know if you have any questions and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Reasons to become a doula