Here's what some of our attendees had to say about past DONA International conferences:

"Excellent conference and speakers. It was great to be able to interact with the Founders and BOD all were approachable and friendly. ... This convention has made me very enthusiastic about going home and promoting DONA especially knowing that DONA is standing behind me. Thank you for this great opportunity."

"Enjoyed the slide show and the entire conference. Quality of speakers were excellent!"

"This was my first doula conference. Already I can't wait until next year. It was so exciting to meet and hear from the Drs/ authors of the books I have read and continue to refer to. ... There were some speakers that I felt the clock played tricks on us. The time went by too, too fast."

"Great conference, learned a lot."

"Loved everything overall such a warmth and feel of community – nutritious food."

"I am so impressed with how this conference has been organized! It's the friendliest, most informative conference I have ever been to, and I can tell that the organizers worked incredibly hard and were very dedicated to making it run smoothly. THANK YOU!"

"My first conference, I will be back!!"

© 2012 DONA International

Conference registrants have access to all General Sessions listed below. All General Sessions will be translated into Spanish. Please see the Conference Brochure for General Session speakers' biographies.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Conference Welcome

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Opening General Session

Looking Back 20 Years to the Future of DONA International and Doulas
Presented by
Barbara Hotelling, BSN, MSN, WHNP, LCCE, CD(DONA) and DONA International Founders, Annie Kennedy, BA, CD(PALS); Penny Simkin, PT, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA); and Phyllis Klaus, MFT, LMSW

Let us come together to honor our past and celebrate our future. DONA International past president, Barbara Hotelling, will host Founders, Penny Simkin, Phyllis Klaus and Annie Kennedy as they share their musings on doulas and DONA International. What was it like to be there in the beginning 20 years ago? And what might be next? Be a part of history in the making!

Friday, July 20, 2012

8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – General Session One
Traumatic Birth, PTSD and the Doula
Presented by
Penny Simkin, PT, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA)
Seattle, WA

One in four women reports her birth as traumatic; many develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Ms. Simkin will explore the topic with research, women's art, and their words, and offer guidance for doulas.

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. – General Session Two
Breastfeeding and the Doula: How to be a Part of the Breastfeeding Team
Presented by
Teresa Pitman, B.Sc., LLL Leader
Guelph, ON

When you know how breastfeeding works and how to make the most of babies' innate abilities, you can help the mothers you work with overcome challenges and meet their breastfeeding goals.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – General Session Three
La Cuarentena: Traditional Mexican Postpartum Care
Presented by
Mexico D.F., Mexico

In this session, we will explore "La Cuarentena", traditional Mexican postpartum care. Families strictly follow the 40 days of care and pampering, consisting of rest, special diets and a variety of practices into promote healing of the new mother's body and soul. This knowledge will give doulas, childbirth educators, doctors, nurses and midwives a new vision of an ancestral tradition that can be easily incorporated into their professional practices. It has proven right for centuries and will benefit all new mothers around the world.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. – General Session Four
Natural Birth in a Hospital
Presented by
Cyntha Gabriel, Ph.D.
Ann, Arbor, MI

As an anthropologist, Dr. Gabriel observes details closely. She has noticed small but significant differences between planned natural births that succeed and those that end in unwanted and often unnecessary interventions. In this session, she will talk about what really makes a difference at a hospital birth.

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – General Session Five
The International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative: What is an Optimal MotherBaby Model?
Presented by
Debra Pascali-Bonaro, B.Ed, LCCE, BDT/PDT(DONA)
River, Vale, NJ

Explore the history, principles and 10 Steps of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (IMBCI), created by the International MotherBaby Organization (formerly the CIMS International Committee) and launched in March 2008. What is the doula's role on the path to change? The IMBCI is currently being put to work in eight pilot/demonstration projects and via the construction in many countries of MotherBaby networks (MBnets). A critical component of the IMBCI is that it highlights the fact that "women's and children's rights are human rights" and that "access to humane and effective health care is a basic human right."

For specific questions about the conference or registration, call the DONA International Home Office at 1 (888) 788-DONA (3662) or e-mail

*Subject to change without notice.