A Safe Passage


We are looking forward to our first MBC Doula School guest teacher who will be presenting A Safe Passage workshop on September 20 and 21, 2014.

A Safe Passage is an Advanced Practitioner Training program designed to help caregivers gain an understanding of the special needs of women survivors of abuse and learn the skills needed to support them through their pregnancy, labour & childbirth and the early postpartum period. This workshop is delivered from a strengths-based prospective, and honours the strength, courage and resilience of women survivors of abuse. This workshop has been approved for 11 LAMAZE contact hours (which DONA recognizes).

Caregivers who would benefit from this training include doulas, midwives, nurses, social workers, and other health and social services professionals caring for women during the transition to mothering.

Jodi Hall has worked with women through the childbearing year since 1996 and has been employed as a full-time counsellor working with abused women and their children since 2002. For more information about this training, please visit ASP here.

This workshop will comprise one component of the MBC Doula School certification program.

The price for this two day workshop is $250 for the public and $175 for MBC members or students. To register, please visit our registration page here.

As always, flexible payment plans are available and one scholarship will be offered.

MBC Doula School Suggested Reading

Here is the updated reading list for the MBC Doula School courses. I firmly believe that you should read everything that interests you, and then make your decisions and form your opinions. I will be updating a “Recommended Reading” list soon; in the meantime you can take this list as a guide and read as much as you can! Reviews and comments greatly appreciated!

Goodreads | Rivka Cymbalist’s bookshelf: mbc-doula-school-reading-list showing 1-20 of 46 sorted by: author.

Level One Doula Course

Here is the outline for the upcoming Level One course. I have added on hours… we never get to everything!

Doula Care Level I

This course is made up of 32 hours of class time, with an eight hour (minimum) practical component. For your practicum you will be shadowing a more experienced doula either during prenatal classes, postpartum support, or during a birth. You will take responsibility of volunteering to work with a doula and a client of your choice.

Classes take place every Monday evening from 6:30 pm to 10 pm, at 6767 Cote des Neiges, room number TBA. The course costs $400. See here for a registration form and payment details.

The next course will start on September 8 and runs until November 17, 2014.

Here is a general outline. Classes are intense, interactive, and sometimes take us places we hadn’t planned. Everything below will be covered, and probably more, but possibly not in this exact order.

Class One


“What is a Doula?”

Nutrition and Nourishment

Centering Exercise

Class Two

Introduction to the Childbearing Year

Bare Bones: anatomy of the mother, baby and the breast

Class Three

Questions and Review

The birth process, cardinal movements


Class Four

Doula Care A to Z, the process

Doula Tool Kit

Role Playing

Class Five

Doula Techniques – alternative ways for coping with the pain of childbirth


Class Six


Questions and Review

Class Seven

Labor Pain and the Epidural Epidemic

Induction and Natural Birth


Class Eight

Introduction to Common Interventions: C-Section, Episiotomy, Instruments, Internal Exams, Amniotomy


Class Nine

Presentations – Nutrition Guides

Class Ten

Final Review and In-Class Quiz

We will use my book The Birth Conspiracy for the main text, and there is an extensive reading list that I have complied at Goodreads. You can access the group here.
The Birth Conspiracy: Natural Birth, Hospitals, and Doulas: A Guide is available online from Chapters, and also in person at the Concordia Coop Bookstore

More MBC Doula School Programming

I have been working hard to bring this program to reality and things are coming together nicely now. I have invited several wonderful guests to lead us on our learning path and I have had lots of enthusiastic feedback from prospective students. To those of you who are far away, I am working on a web-based program that will retain the friendliness and community of our in-house classes.


Inspired Birth Attendant Taking Notes @3am.

The cost of the program will be based on credit hours (details to come) and, as always, I am happy to offer scholarships and internships to those who cannot pay. Please do not let your calling to this field be hindered by your cash problems!  

Remember, this program values self-directed study and practical work. I also believe that what we do teaches as much as what we say, so we at MBC Doula School are very respectful of the boundaries and limitations our students may have.

Practical work is fully integrated into the program, as an observer, a volunteer doula, shadow, or as an apprentice or mentor.

Here are the courses:

Doula Care Level I                                                                                                         

  1. Anatomy and Physiology for the childbearing year               
  2. Doula Care I.                                                                          
  3. Breastfeeding I.                                                                     
  4. Nutrition                                                                                  
  5. Practical Component   

Doula Care Level II                                                                          

  1. Doula Care II.                                                                          
  2. Reviewing Medical Interventions                                            
  3. Diagnostics                                                                           
  4. Practical Component                                                            

Introduction to Healing During the Childbearing Year  (Level III)                                                                                       

  1. Challenges During the Childbearing Year: An Overview      
  2. Overview of Healing Modalities                                                   


  1. A Safe Passage workshop                                                    
  2. Working with Families                                                            
  3. Language and Birth                                                             
  4. Informatics for Birth Workers                                               
  5. Singing Birth                                                                            
  6. Postpartum Intensive                                                              
  7. Healing during Pregnancy, Labor and Birth                          
  8. Healing during the Postpartum Period                                   
  9. Cranio-Sacral During Pregnancy and for newborns
  10. Yoga pre-and postpartum
  11. The Placenta  and Placental Encapsulation
  12. Herbalism
  13. Ribozo
  14. Homeopathy for doulas
  15. Massage: Prenatal, During Labor, Postpartum
  16. The Doula Business
  17. Birth Narrative
  18. Working with marginalized populations
  19. Childbirth Education Course (observe)  
  20. Winter Birth Retreat with Debra and Rivka                             

MBC Doula School Programming 2014/2015

Image   Doula School

Here are the programs we will be offering starting in September 2014. 

  1. Certificate: Completion of the Level One Doula Course (forty hours) will give you basic doula training and give you the knowledge and confidence to start volunteering as a doula.
  1. Diploma: Completion of the three required levels of the MBC Doula School training (200 hours) will give you the knowledge and confidence you require to practice as a doula anywhere in the world. This is also a good basis for those who wish to enter midwifery education. We will also provide an option to obtain DONA certification for those who wish to pursue it.
  1. MBC Doula School Certified Doula: This is a 400-hour program that gives an in-depth training for doulas who wish to practice as holistic birth attendants. There is a required component made up of the 160-hour diploma course, plus 100 hours practicum and a remaining 140 hours chosen from the Electives (everything from singing birth, working with survivors, herbalism, placental encapsulation, to the basics of doula care and birth activism) courses. Graduates will be proficient in teaching prenatal classes; attending births; breastfeeding support; alternative approaches to care during the childbearing year, and more. This certification will enhance your possibilities of entering midwifery school or medical school; allow you to practice with complete confidence with varied populations; provide you with the foundation to set up a private doula practice.
  1. Ongoing Events: MBC Doula School will be hosting guest speakers and workshop facilitators throughout the year. These are open to the public. 


Mama hands, baby hands

Please let MBC Doula School know what you are interested in! Thank you for your responses so far. A full description and registration will be coming soon!