How to Become a Childbirth Educator

Teacher helping pregnant woman to practice breathing technique in antenatal class

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Becoming a childbirth educator is an exciting thing to do. Many women become childbirth educators because of their birth experiences, positive or negative. They want to help educate families on the process of birth and bringing a new baby into their lives. Or perhaps this is simply a field that has always interested you and you are not a parent.

Questions to Ask Yourself

One of the first things you must do to become a childbirth educator is to figure out which of the many training and certifying organization is best for you. To do this, I would suggest answering these questions:

  • What kind of time do you have to devote to training?
  • Can you travel to attend a training?
  • Do you have a nearby mentor?
  • What is your philosophy of birth?
  • Is there a certification exam?
  • Do you have to student teach?
  • What are the requirements for continuing education?

Once you have answered these questions, you may have a better idea of which organization is best suited for you.

Questions to Ask Each Organization About Training

  • Do I have to travel to attend the training?
  • How long is the training?
  • What will I be taught during the training?
  • Will I need additional materials? If yes, what?
  • What is the average time to complete the training and become certified?
  • Other than the training fee is there a fee to be certified? Recertified?
  • Is there a certification test? Is it in person or mail in?

Choosing an Organization With Which to Certify

There are many organizations that offer certification for childbirth educators. You will need to figure out which fits your philosophy of birth, your budget, your time frame as well as your needs. For example, if you are already a teacher, you may not need a course that has adult education principles taught as a part of the curriculum. But if you are a nurse working in labor and delivery, you might need the adult education but not require the observations of births. You may also know what is accepted where you live or know that if you certify with a specific organization, then you can have a job.

Talk to Other Childbirth Educators

Before you finalize your decision talk to other people. Talk to people who have taken these types of classes to become a childbirth educator. Did they get the support that they needed? Were their needs met both during and after the certification process? Did they feel that they got their monies worth? Are there any hidden costs or things that surprised them about the training or post-training support?

How much money do you make as a childbirth educator?

It is not, for most people, a way to earn a living, though many women do supplement their incomes or pay for certain things with this money. The vast majority of women are teaching childbirth classes because they are passionate about the information and helping birthing families.

Some childbirth educators will supplement their income by teaching additional specialty classes like breastfeeding or infant care. They may also be certified as doulas or as lactation consultants.

Major Childbirth Educator Certifying Organizations

There are some major certifying organizations training people to become childbirth educators. These include:

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.