CAPPA Labor Doula Required Reading List

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As part of your CAPPA certification process, you are required to read a minimum of five books in addition to the CAPPA Labor Doula manual (which you will receive at your training class). You should read at least one book from each section, and always the most current edition of each book.

You will eventually want to read as many of these books as possible, as each provides unique perspective on the work and will expand your knowledge and understanding.

Looking for suggestions on which books to read?
Check out my recommendations at the bottom of this list!

Doula Studies & History of Birth

The books in this category covers some of the background of maternity care in North America and research studies that support doula care.

The Doula Advantage
Rachel Gurevich

Special Women
Paulina Perez

The Doula Book
Marshall H. Klaus, John H. Kennell,
Phyllis H. Klaus

Birth as an American Rite of Passage
by Robbie E. Davis-Floyd

Birth
Tina Cassidy

Birth Matters
Ina May Gaskin

Labor Support Skills

The books in this category cover not only specific labor support techniques, but the art of providing labor support to the laboring woman and her family.

The Birth Partner
Penny Simkin

The Labor Progress Handbook
Penny Simkin & Ruth Ancheta

Pregnancy & Birth

The books in this category cover the process of pregnancy and birth, as well as information that will be helpful to you and your clients as they develop their birth preferences and make choices about their care.

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide
Penny Simkin, April Bolding, Ann Keppler, Janelle Durham, & Janet Whalley

Breastfeeding

This category includes some of the most useful and updated books written about breastfeeding, including successful initiation and topics to support breastfeeding through various circumstances.

Special Situations

This category covers some of the challenging situations doula will encounter, such as VBAC support, perinatal loss, and the impact of sexual trauma on the birth process.

Companioning at a Time of Perinatal Loss
by Jane Heustis, RN, Marcia Jenkins, RN

Ghostbelly
by Elizabeth Heineman

Ana’s Recommendations

Suggested for Beginners:

If you are fairly new to birth work, these books will provide a strong background as you begin your doula career. Ideal if you’ve not given birth yourself, if you gave birth only via cesarean, or if you’ve never attended a birth.

The Doula Book
Marshall H. Klaus, John H. Kennell,
Phyllis H. Klaus

The Birth Partner
Penny Simkin

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide
Penny Simkin, April Bolding, Ann Keppler, Janelle Durham, & Janet Whalley

Suggested for Advanced Students:

If you have already been attending births, have been teaching childbirth education classes, or otherwise have a professional background in which you’ve worked in maternity care, you will want some books that will build on your knowledge and experience. The books listed below provide a more advanced place to begin your doula career.

Not Required for Certification But…:

Love to read and hungry for more? Here are some books I think all doulas should read, as well as some videos you’ll find really educational! Remember these cannot be counted as part of your required reading for certification, but I guarantee that you’ll find them all valuable!

Organic Birth
(shortened adaptation of Orgasmic Birth)

Streaming | DVD

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