Birth Doula Reading List

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Doula Reading List Annotated

DONA International has a reading list that they use in the birth doula certification. What I love about their reading list is that unlike so many other things in life, you have options! While not every category is going to give you tons of options, the ability to choose can be beneficial. It is a great way to personalize the reading list to the type of doula that you want to be and the spirit in which you wish to run your business. It is also helpful in terms of being able to have options when it comes to finding books to borrow either from your local library or local birth professionals. I highly recommend borrowing as a great way to save money during the certification process. It allows you to find that book that really speaks to you and later you can invest in the book and put it on your shelf if you would like to do so. There are a couple of exceptions, and I hope you’ll take note of those as we talk about each of these books.

Straight up I will tell you that I have not read every single book on this list. I will give you practical advice about when a book might be better suited for a certain type of practice based on personal opinion and based on knowledge of many, many trainees opinions over the course of many years. There are a few affiliate links in here. With that – let’s get to the books!

Required Birth Doula Reading for Certification

The main staple of the birth doula training is The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin (2013, or later). This is one that you will want to buy. This book is not in one of the groups because DONA asks that everyone have this book personally and that they bring it to their birth doula workshop. This is also a book that I recommend that you consider spiral binding (see below). The other papers below are suggested to be read prior to the workshop, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Group 1 – Read at least ONE of the following:

Group 2 – Read at least ONE of the following:

Group 3 – Read at least ONE of the following: 

Group 4 – Read at least ONE of the following:

Group 5 – Read at least ONE of the following:

Group 6 – Read at least ONE of the following:

Other Tips About Doula Certification Reading Lists

If you have a book that you love or use a lot, consider having it bound with a spiral binding. You can take it to a printing store, like FedEx Office and they will put a spiral binding on it. (I would also splurge for about $2.00 more and ask that they put clear plastic covers on too.) It costs about $5-6 but allows the books to lay flat which is very helpful.

There are many ways to save money on these books. Do not forget about yard sales, particularly when they advertise as having baby things. There are also stores that sell used books at a lower cost. This is also a great place to find books. As a doula trainer, I’m always scouring for books on the list. I lend them out or donate them to various organizations locally who are trying to help get doulas trained.