In the past, ‘doula’ was an ancient Greek word meaning female slave. Today, it stands for a compassionate person helping mothers through their child-birthing journey. Students can learn how to be professional doulas by enrolling in HLTH 1300: Doula & Childbirth Preparation.
Offered both in the spring and fall, the one-semester class is aimed at facilitating, educating and learning about the non-medical side of the childbirth process. The course covers pre and postpartum stages of pregnancy, labor and delivery.
To those students that want to become a certified doula, the class also covers the educational requirements for Dona International Certification.
The classes have been filling up since the beginning, thanks in part to its dynamic teachers, Kristi Ridd-Young and Kristy Huber. Both instructors are certified doulas.
“[Doulas] are at the head-side and midwives are at the tail-end side. They don’t do anything medical. They are there to help the mothers breath, help the mothers relax, make sure that when they need something from the doctor or nurse, they get it,” says Paula Nielson-Williams, Program Coordinator at Salt Lake Community College for Doula and Childbirth Education. “Sometimes [post-partum doulas] will come and check in and see how the mom is doing, sometimes bathe the baby, or cut the fingernails, which is always hard with new babies, and to ensure mom is doing well in the post-partum period.”
Some of the things learned in the class, such as relaxation techniques, can be used on teenagers as well as children, making it another benefit of taking the class.
Some of the students take the class as they proceed into careers as midwives or nurses, while other students get certified as doulas and begin working right away.
The class is highly recommended to anybody wanting to learn about the childbirth process, especially students who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or wanting to relax.
Partners or husbands are enthusiastically encouraged to take the class, which benefits them as well as the mothers-to-be.