Online Doula Training; Pros and Cons

Posted on: October 23, 2015 | Become a Doula, Doula, Doula Certification, Doula Inspiration, Doula Training

What an amazing resource the world wide web has become.

Through a simple Google search, the entire world can show up on your screen. It’s fascinating. The knowledge available is limitless and the level of information you have access to, is surpassed by none.

What the internet can’t provide you with is a personal experience. You know, an interaction with another human being that leaves a lasting impression on you. 

Online doula trainings are no exception.

At first thought, an online doula training seems to make perfect sense. While I have never taken one myself, I imagine there are some benefits to becoming a doula this way.

In order to provide a better and more thorough view of training in this way, I went directly to the sources! The doulas themselves who have taken online doula trainings.

This is what I learned.

The Pros

  • It was slightly less money and I was able to do all of it in my own time. –Annie Willems
  • I could work around my own schedule and do the reading/assignments that were easiest for me, while still reaching their deadline. – Jennifer Bredin
  • I didn’t have a time limit on when I needed to complete my course, which came in handy when it took me 4 years. – Meghan Nolan-Parker
  • I can train and get certified while being at home.Samantha Cousineau

The Cons

  • I didn’t feel prepared to support anyone at all. In fact most of the material was a lot of theory and not very practical. I was invited to shadow another doula and *only* felt like a learned anything about doula-ing from her. One can only describe in so many words where to apply counter pressure and such, and then it just bordered on being very medical. The owner of the training had a facebook set up but they were hard to get a hold of, and often her husband had to respond to questions (to be fair I think she had a baby during that time, but just kinda disappeared)

- Sunny Schaffer



  • While I read and saw pictures of how to physically support labor, I had zero demonstration or chance to practice it at all. There are so many techniques that I picked up along the way, but I still (5 years later) don’t feel as confident in that area as I want to. – Annie Willems
  • I wish there had been more comfort measures explained or even demos with YouTube videos. Thankfully I had prior knowledge of those things so it wasn’t a huge obstacle for me, but I’m sure it is for others. – Alecia Bragg Miller
  • The training was mostly read these books and answer these questions about said books. Interview women about their birth experiences. Observe a plant or animal gestating and giving birth. Observe weather changes. Write your observations down and submit them. Nothing really about actually supporting women during birth. – Kandyce Peveto
  • Definitely did not feel ready. It was very little practical information and a lot of “woo” stuff. I missed out on business stuff and on learning the hands on labor support. Did not have one relationship with anyone. Lots of pointless assignments. – September Phillips
  • The lack of in person, hands on demonstration. I still don’t know how to do a proper hip squeeze or belly sifting. I have a pretty good idea, but I’ve never phsycially done it. – Jennifer Bredin
  • My trainer is and always has been impossible to get in touch with. I over analyze everything so reading in a book and online didn’t give me the confidence I needed to support women. I had no idea how to properly apply counter pressure or perform a double hip squeeze. – Meghan Nolan-Parker
  • I have learnt next to nothing, a small bit of anatomy that is all. Most of my learning will be from the books I read. –Samantha Cousineau

After speaking with many doulas that trained through online doula programs, the resounding response was that other than convenience and cost, the cons heavily outweigh the pros.

I hope this is helpful, as choosing the steps you will take on a path as meaningful as this one, should be well thought and deliberate. Cheap and easy doesn’t always equate to better.