Top Ten Challenges for the Doula Profession

Audience: Perinatal Professionals

In this inspiring and comprehensive talk, Dr. Gilliland weaves the history of the doula movement and today’s challenges into an interactive presentation for hundreds of people. She covers how the doula movement as a vehicle for social change has won and lost, comparing the priorities of the First Wave of doulas (1980’s to 2007) and the Second Wave (2008-present).  Dr. Gilliland aims to propel the movement forward by examining the role of the doula training, and asking critical questions about the doula profession.  She has a strong belief that a doula’s presence at a birth raises oxytocin levels of everyone present; strengthens parental bonding and infant attachment; and thus changes society by increasing the number of human beings who were deeply cared for at their birth. 

Teaching Methods:  Lecture, Discussion, Large and Small Group Activities


  1. Participants will be able to compare and contrast the early aims of the doula movement and the current aims of the established doula profession.
  2. Participants will be able to describe the power of witnessing and the path of service as integral parts of the doula’s role for both birth and postpartum doulas.
  3. Participants will be able to illustrate six of the ten main challenges facing the doula profession today and in the near future
  4. Participants will be able to develop at least two strategies towards resolving common professional challenges.
  5. Participants who identify as White will be able to list two effective strategies for identifying internalized racism and white supremacy.

Sign-Up for access to Research, Articles, and Skills Development Tips

By signing up, you will receive access to free printable handouts, our newsletters, and more!