This is a collection of doula training organizations and programs I’ve collected over the years. If I have any personal knowledge of the program, it’s indicated in the description. Most of them come from referrals from readers.
These listings are not an endorsement of the training–you should do your own research before deciding to enroll in a program. You could ask for contact info for past participants and talk to them directly.
Aboriginal Doula Training
AMANI Birth Teacher and Doula Training
Ancient Song Doula Services
Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Care
Birth Arts International
Birthing from Within
Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA)
Commonsense Childbirth Doula Training (the JJ Way)
Cornerstone Doula Trainings
Doulas of North America (DONA)
EnCircle Doula Workshops
International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC)
International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)
Mothering the Mother Inc
stillBirthday Birth & Bereavement Training
Know of other doula trainings? Fill out this form with more information.
Heard about this one on Facebook. Hosted by the First Nations Health Council. Specifically for First Nations people in British Columbia, Canada. Details here. All costs covered by the program.
“AMANISM Birth is an Islamically based childbirth education and doula certification program designed to prepare professionals in the field of natural birth. Our primary goal is to teach trust in Allah first and foremost and that birth is a form of worship. We do not provide medical advice or services and recommend that all expectant parents seek out proper attendance for their birth.” More info here, trainings available across the US and internationally.
Known for being centered on doulas of color, Ancient Song is based in Brooklyn, NY. “Ancient Song Doula is a Social Profit organization which functions to serve the community at large on a low cost/ free basis all earnings go right back to the organization. Donate and help us to reach more Women of Color and lower the Infant Mortality Rate.” Information about their birth and postpartum doula trainings is here.
“This course is a starting point for people who are seeking careers in Certified Lactation Counseling, Certified Birth Doula Support, Certified Postpartum Doula Support, obstetric nursing, maternity nursing, midwifery, or public health education with a specialization in maternal child health. A two-part, 36-hour, 5 day course in lactation education and counseling, childbirth education and labor doula and postpartum doula support.” More info here.
Also don’t know much about this group, it was forwarded along. From their site:
Birth Arts International was originally founded in 2000 by Demetria Clark as the Green Mountain Doula Guild. Since then the organization has expanded and grown into Birth Arts. We have gone from a regional body to one that is working on a national level, offering extensive doula, postpartum doula and advanced doula trainings.
They have distance learning and workshops. More info here.
A group in Alabama that provides DONA doula training twice a year, with scholarships for prospective doulas who can’t afford the training. More info here.
From their website, sent in by a reader:
Most doula programs and doulas focus primarily on techniques for caring for the parents in labor and postpartum. But our program begins with YOU. We believe it is important to begin with an exploration of what motivates you to begin this work (and our program). We consider things such as past experiences that have shaped your beliefs and attitudes about birth, what you hope to accomplish by attending parents in birth, your relationship with the medical model, and most importantly, your relationship to yourself as a doula.
Doulas are teachers. You are in a primary position to teach parents how to prepare for labor, ask questions and cope with pain (before and during labor), and how to prepare for the postpartum transition. So, learning communication skills and how to teach pain-coping practices will strengthen your effectiveness as a doula, and give you more satisfaction with your work.
After the excitement of the workshop wears off, doulas can feel a little lost. New doulas develop confidence and skill when given extended support from peers and experienced doulas (especially after attending a difficult labor). So we created a one-of-a-kind HomeStudy Program that includes self-directed study and ongoing support to see you through to certification and beyond.
I got an email from a reader about this group. Looks like their courses are offered remotely, so could be a good option for those who can’t attend an in-person workshop. From their website:
Childbirth International is a unique organization. With a global outlook and a strong belief in the “education is power” philosophy, we provide training for doula and childbirth educator students all over the world. We are committed to establishing the international standard for Childbirth Education programs and doula training.
I just came across the organization, so I can’t vouch for them. They have a doula training program, as well as certification. You can read about the organization here, and about their vision of childbirth here.
I met Jennie Joseph, the woman behind the Commonsense Childbirth school, a few years ago. She’s amazing. A British midwife of African descent, Jennie brings a passion and a vision for childbirth care to her practice in Florida. She focuses on working with low-income and high-risk women and has done incredible things with reducing interventions and improving outcomes. I don’t know anything about her doula training, but all of the information about the training is available here.
Cornerstone Doula Trainings: “Cornerstone’s mission is to help families start their lives together in the most gentle and loving way. Our trainings will provide you with the knowledge, confidence and hands-on skills to start attending births immediately. Our methods combine traditional tools and wisdoms with current and progressive information about the physiology and psychology of childbirth.” Full details here, the offer workshops as well as certification programs.
Their website explains that they offer birth and postpartum doula trainings in Spanish, in Puerto Rico. Full details here (website in Spanish). Not a group I’ve worked with.
Doulas of North America (DONA):
This is the largest doula organization in the US, which also does international work. They hold the largest number of doula trainings, and are probably a good place to start. I did my training with DONA in 2005, and while I enjoyed it a lot, it left things to be desired. That said, I appreciate the foundation it gave me. Go here to find a doula training in your area.
From their website: “enCircle Doula Workshops are a unique format for preparing you to be a doula. The small-group format allows for in-depth discussion of topics and more individualized attention than a large class can offer. You will literally ‘sit in circle’ and be enCircled as we explore the significance of birth, modern birth practices, the doula’s role, and much more.” Operates in the greater Seattle area.
ICTC is the one doula training organization I know of focused on the experiences and expertise of women of color. You can read about one doula’s experiences with ICTC here. About ICTC:
The International Center for Traditional Childbearing, ICTC is a non-profit, culturally diverse, pregnancy support, health promotion and training organization. We offer prenatal and parenting classes, doula services/trainings and complete pregnancy support. As a whole, we strive to positively impact the lives of the unborn, newborn, mothers, fathers and their families; through education, breastfeeding promotion, and overall self-care. We are fully committed to the empowerment of women, increasing positive birth outcomes and decreasing infant mortality in African American Communities. Impart: We strive to follow the moral and ethical guidance of our learned Midwives and Healers of past.
Their training is called the “Full-Circle Doula/Birth Companion” training. It costs $400, and here is a brief description:
Blessed is the Doula whose intention is to sacrifice her time to serve the mothers, babies and families. A doula is a birth companion who provides personal support to women and families throughout the pregnancy and birth experience. ICTC sponsors Full Circle Birth Companion/Doula Trainings.
Our training’s are perfect for students interested in learning midwifery or Doula skills from an international perspective, focusing on enhancing the prenatal and birth experience for women and their families. Full Circle Birth Companion Doulas will learn Childbirth Education methods, New Baby Care, and Breastfeeding counseling.
Our training staff is comprised of midwives, doulas, health workers, and guest speakers, who are experts in the maternal and child health field. Doula attended births contribute to a reduction of cesarean rates and shorter labors, reduction in epidural requests and analgesia use, reduction in vacuum and forceps deliveries, improvements in bonding experience and partner satisfaction after births and higher breast feeding success rates.
Check their website for trainings around the country.
Not a group I’m very familiar with, but one reader recommended their training, which is done long-distance.
Carla Stange and Marilyn Lemos have developed a distance learning doula training course that explores the instinctive and intuitive role of the birth and postpartum doula.
- Intuitive Doula invites you to join us in the efforts to transform the world, one birth at a time, through enabling positive birth experiences.
- Intuitive Doula intends to support the doula’s basic role, that is, to provide an atmosphere of support and loving guidance throughout the birth process.
- We intentionally honor the birthing rights of all women.
- We aspire to enhance the art and instinctive and intuitive nature of the doula’s role.
- We work to guide a doula’s understanding and recognition of birth as a transformational life experience and a rite of passage.
- We believe in the doula’s purpose to support women in their physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
- Our ultimate aim is to teach aspiring doulas to support women in birth thereby decreasing the amount and frequency of interventions and unnecessary procedures used in hospitals.
- Above all we protect the desire of women and believe and trust in the beauty and strength of their bodies to bring forth life.
More information available on their website.
“Mothering the Mother Inc is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood experiences for all women regardless of income. Our local organization provides prenatal care coordination, childbirth and new parent education, doulas, lactation support, and more to all women on a sliding scale.
In addition to serving expectant and new mothers we also believe very strongly in women supporting women through all aspects of life. For this reason we currently offer doula trainings to assist women along life’s journey to being able to Mother the Mother.
We offer a distance doula training program with the option of certification. Within our program doulas complete not only an online training program, but then also go through a mentoring process with a more experienced doula before finishing their certification. We believe the mentoring portion of our program is the most important part because there is nothing like applying what you have learned while learning from a more experienced doula.
Mothering the Mother believes so strongly in giving back to the community that we offer trainings for free through our lottery program in addition to having paid training programs. Please visit the website for details on the various types of programs available.”
The Simkin Center at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington and San Diego, California offers a four-day birth doula course, and a four-day postpartum doula course. Each costs $629. From their website:
“If you dream of serving women and families, Simkin Center delivers knowledge, tools and skills you can immediately use in your community. Simkin Center has educated, prepared and inspired more than 5,700 birth and postpartum doulas, childbirth educators and lactation educators since its inception. It can be argued that no other organization has educated more doulas, or advanced the concept and the doula profession more successfully, than the Simkin Center.”
More information here.
“Through stillbirthday, you can become a real, certified doula, or, you can strengthen the skills you have acquired through other doula organizations. You also have an opportunity to earn 30 nursing contact hours. This is an entirely online course, that is easily accessible to any SBD student. Through stillbirthday, you can earn globally respected credentials in birth & bereavement support. We provide 2 sessions per year, based on class registration, and we accept applications year round.” More info here.
RD Note: Experiences of racism in curriculum and training is being reported by doulas of color. You can read about their experiences here.
“The intention of toLabor is to educate and certify professional birth doulas. We believe that all women benefit from support and resources that will help them be aware of, and educated about, the options and choices that are available so that they may make informed decisions concerning their birth experience. We embrace the evidence that a woman who actively participates in her birth will have a healthier birth for her baby, herself and her family; physically and emotionally. We believe that in every birth, there is room for compassion and respect for the process. We believe this a civil right, a human right. We believe in creating and fostering a community of change.”
This group was born out of the group formerly known as ALACE. I do not have any experience with toLabor (or ALACE) but there workshop sounds really interesting from the website description. The tuition is about $425 (with various discounts for certain things). From their website:
toLabor’s doula training program is unique among all the other doula training organizations in North America for several reasons:
-advocates for the midwifery model of care, regardless of care provider (midwife or doctor), or place of birth (hospital, birth center, or home).
-encourages trust in the birth process, respects it as a woman-centered passage, and is dedicated to supporting women’s birth choices.
-respects obstetric procedures as beneficial in some circumstances but potentially detrimental when applied routinely. We emphasize evidence-based practices, informed consent and prevention of medically unnecessary interventions.
-help increase parents’ confidence in the natural process of birth. We teach relaxation and coping tools to work with pain and discomfort, rather than techniques for avoiding sensation.
-has long been recognized for its holistic approach to childbirth. Our instructors are respected for their incorporation of psychological aspects and mind-body integration in their classes.
-offers the most rigorous doula training program, providing you with a solid base of knowledge about the physiology of the body and how it works during labor and birth, allowing you to become aware of what kind of physical support your client needs.
-training gives you the skills and confidence necessary to provide the emotional and psychological support your clients need.
Tuition includes the entire training and certification process: the training workshop, processing your work, the exam, the certificate itself, and the first year of membership in toLabor.
Know of other doula trainings? Fill out this form with more information.