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Pacific Rim College’s Doula Training comes to Vancouver

Heather van Mil1 comment3486 views

The highly acclaimed Holistic Doula Certificate Program from Victoria’s Pacific Rim College is coming to Vancouver this Fall, and we couldn’t be more excited to tell you all about it. We had the opportunity to interview Brea Segger, Pacific Rim’s Director, to learn more about this much anticipated program.


Tell us about where the idea came from for your Doula Program?

Childbirth is truly the most incredible, unpredictable, and rewarding experiences I have ever had – but I wasn’t always one of those people who wanted to have children, or who was particularly drawn to babies. This, of course, all changed when I gave birth to my first child in 2010. When I went into labour with my first child Ela, I had a plan for a homebirth, an accomplished midwife, and a very supportive partner. From the onset, however, my contractions were excruciating (due to what we soon learned was caused by back labour, likely from a spinal injury I had when I was 14) and over the next 48 hours, labour progressed slowly. Although the midwife checked in periodically, for the most part my partner and I were alone, increasingly exhausted and scared. The birth ended up being complicated and traumatic but the end result was a very special baby girl. I thought, there just has to be a better way to do this! After the birth, and perhaps because I’m the Director of an Integrative Medicine College, it seemed like everyone wanted to talk to me about birth, and particularly, support (or lack thereof) during labour, birth and postpartum. Many people I knew through Pacific Rim College had either received doula training but weren’t practicing as Doulas because they weren’t confident in their skills and knowledge or didn’t know how to start a business. Other people were researching Doula training programs but weren’t excited about the programs that were currently available. The same question kept coming up – How can I be a Doula after taking a couple of workshops and reading a handful of books? This just wasn’t sitting right with many of the folks who were expressing their concerns with me. So here you have it – a program that provides Prenatal, Birth, and Postpartum training in a unique, comprehensive, and practical way!

How long has it been running?

This program was first launched in September 2013.

What makes it different from other Doula Programs?

The message that we received from the Community when we started creating this program was that the current available doula training in North America is not comprehensive enough and doesn’t set students up with the confidence and skills that they need to start their own business and actually “charge money” after they have completed the training. So we changed this. We want our graduates to have successful careers in the field that they love. This Holistic Doula Certificate (which actually encompasses Prenatal, Birth and Postpartum Doula training) was created to provide Doulas with exemplary knowledge, skills and confidence to start practicing as a Prenatal, Birth and Postpartum Doula.

So what really makes this program different, besides being 270-hours in length (versus the standard 16-28 hour programs), is that students receive top-notch hands-on practical learning from experienced and inspiring instructors. They learn a vast array of tools and skills from Doula’s, Midwives, Herbalists, Nutritionists, Counsellors, and of course they also learn Business Skills – because at the end of the day our students need to create websites, business plans, marketing plans, and have the confidence to launch a business and be successful. They also learn how to navigate and work alongside Nurses, Doctors, Obstetricians and Midwives so that they can support their clients and at the same time not “step on any toes” and “get along” with the entire birth team. This also includes understanding and knowing how to navigate various family styles and the dynamics that can play a role within each family environment.

Our students also work together in both groups and individually to complete projects and research papers. They practice their skills with pregnant Mamas, gaining hands-on experience. They write books reports and create business plans. They practice things like massage techniques, communications skills, food preparation, and so much in nearly every class. They become so comfortable with the knowledge and skills that they learn that they can truly assist in making the birth experience better for any Mama.

What kind of classes are offered in the program?

An array of topics go into each course but I have simply listed the titles below as people requiring more information can find it on the website or by giving us a call.

Students are engaged in both practical and therapeutic learning, and all topics are specifically aligned to enhance the quality of services a doula provides. What follows are the course titles along with the number of hours dedicated to each one:
• Doula Training (48 hours)
• Intro to Midwifery & Primary Healthcare Providers (21 hours)
• Holistic Nutrition for Pregnancy & Childbirth (21 hours)
• Business Skills for Doulas (15 hours)
• Intro to Herbal Medicine for Doulas (24 hours)
• Acupressure for Pregnancy & Childbirth (10 hours)
• Thai Massage (15 hours)
• Yogatherapy (15 hours)
• Tai Qi (15 hours)
• Intro to “Family Support” for Doulas (15 hours)
• Anatomy & Physiology (45 hours)
• Research & Presentations (15 hours)
• Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Childbirth and Postpartum (11 hours)
• Practicum (each student must attend a minimum of two births)
• Post-graduate Mentorship (available to all graduates on an going-basis)

What training do the instructors have?

Each instructor is a specialist in their given field. For example, Michelle MacLean is a sought after Doula on the Lower Mainland that has attended well over 700 births. She also happens to be a fantastic instructor that connects well at a group and at an individual level. We also have Patti Thompson, a Registered Midwife (RM) who is not only a clinical instructor on the UBC Faculty in the Midwifery Department, but is also one of the most experienced midwives in BC. Sarah Juliusson is another experienced Doula who also happens to own a business in which she assists Doulas in growing and marketing their businesses. Cielo English heads up the Yoga Teacher Training provided at SFU and is an inspiring yoga instructor to all. Other faculty members included Naturopaths, Acupuncturists, Western Herbalists, Certified Nutritionists and a host of other experienced professionals. All of our instructors are extremely passionate about birth and supporting Mamas before, during and after birth. A complete Faculty Listing can be found at

Who can apply? Are there any prerequisites?

Students must be 18 or older to apply, and have completed high-school, or equivalent.

What else do you want people to know?

This program is for people that are serious about becoming a Professional Prenatal, Birth and/or Postpartum Doula, or for people who are so fascinated by the subject matter that they are willing to dive-in and commit themselves to comprehensive training. Once you have completed this program your life will absolutely change and you may suddenly notice yourself checking your phone around the clock, decreasing your vacation time and often staying closer to home… and oh, you will just be plain old exhausted sometimes. But the JOY you will receive and spread to others will be so so SO worth it!


Many people don’t understand exactly what a doula is or does, so we rounded up an awesome group of local bloggers to share their first hand accounts of being a doula, working alongside a doula or having a doula as part of their birth team. What we ended up with are an incredible collection of fascinating stories – follow the links below to read more!

Crystal Allan – Sew Creative: A Love Letter to my Doula
Andrea Firmani – Mama in the City: What is a Doula
Angela Santoro – Modern Mama: My A+ Experience with a Birth Doula
Brandee Foster – One Crazy Kid: What a Doula Meant to Us

Tell us in the comments: did you use a doula with your birth? What was the experience like?

If you are interested in receiving more information about this program, please visit Pacific Rim College’s website or call Toll-Free 1.866.890.6082. You can also find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter

All on the table disclaimer: While I did receive compensation for this project, all opinions are completely honest and totally my own. You know I would never share anything less than superbly stellar with all my fave readers

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