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DouLA-Birth Partners of Los Angeles was founded in 1995. It received DONA approval in 1996 which means completion of this program fulfills one requirement toward DONA certification as a birth doula. Presently, over 40 workshops have been held making it the most experienced training program in Southern California.

The one-day introduction to labor support allows applicants to acquire the necessary basic information prior to the doula training. It covers the role of a doula and basics of support during the normal birth process. Those who want to pursue a career as a doula go on to attend Level II. Either completion of Level I or proof of completing observation of an approved Childbirth Education class is required prior to Level II training

Birth educators and nurses with recent birth experience may come directly into Level II. The two-day workshop covers in-depth labor support strategies, working within the medical framework to improve women's birth experience, guidelines for doula contact with clients and tips for setting up practice as a doula. DONA Certification procedures are clarified. Local doula networking groups provide support for beginning doulas and continue with educational programs for established doulas.

Participants continue to give excellent reviews of the Level I and II workshops. Every effort is made to keep the heart of doula work present in the presentations. The educators skillfully use years of doula experience and the most current teaching materials to enhance the learning environment.

About Ellie

Ellie Shea is director of DouLA-Birth Partners of LA. Her background as a mother of 3 gives her personal experience with birth. As a Registered Nurse she has cared for women and babies in a clinical setting and she stays abreast of current issues in obstetrical care. As a Certified Lamaze Educator and Hypnobirthing Educator she empowers childbearing women with knowledge and confidence in their ability to give birth normally.

Following her doula training under DONA co-founder Penny Simkin, she earned her certification. In 1996 she fulfilled the steps toward doula teacher training and received DONA approval for the program offered through DouLA-Birth Partners of LA.

Ellie is the founder of Doulas Association of Southern California (DASC) and has served on the Board of Directors of both DONA and DASC. She is a NGH Certified Hypnotherapist trained in HypnoFertility. Ellie also provides Advanced Doula workshops for continuing education of doulas. She welcomes any opportunity to educate the public about the role and value of doulas at birth.

Philosophy of Birth

Ellie's philosophy regarding childbirth evolved as she taught expectant couples the necessary tools and concepts to help them through birth only to find that knowledge was not enough. The kind of support during birth determined how well that knowledge was applied. The presence and support of the woman's partner is naturally very important. In addition, a doula (or another calming mother figure) brings her continual presence, reassurance and a focus on the normalcy of the feelings surrounding birth rather than perceived dangers often conveyed through medical staff (whose job it is to prevent, detect and treat problems). All are important members of the birth team and all contribute to a safe and fulfilling birth.

Whether a woman chooses to give birth at home, in a birth center or hospital, she deserves skilled, respectful care and the very best support possible. Through excellent training, guidance and experience, doulas can and do improve women's satisfaction during birth. They also have the potential to increase healthy outcomes for mothers and babies by avoiding unnecessary medical interventions. Doulas model caring and compassion for the woman in labor who in turn passes caring and compassion on to her baby. It would be difficult to find more rewarding work than this!


© 2011 Doula Birth Partners of Los Angeles