Most of this information has been taken from reader emails or comments, or from the websites of these programs. This is just a resource list, I can’t guarantee what the experiences with these programs might be like!
Programs that I know to be full-spectrum, meaning they include abortion doula support as part of their work, are indicated with an asterisk (*).
If you know of other volunteer doula programs, please email me (radicaldoula[At]gmail[DOT]com) with details.
UC San Diego Medical Center: “Hearts & Hands volunteers begin by attending a one-day introductory training. Upon completion, you will work with experienced mentor doulas until you are ready to work on your own. No prior experience is required, but volunteer doulas must have the emotional and physical stamina to attend long labors.”
San Francisco General Hospital Volunteer Doula Program: “San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) is a nationally renowned public teaching hospital associated with the UCSF School of Medicine. Birthing women receive care collaboratively from doulas, nurses, midwives, andphysicians in our Certified Baby-Friendly Birthing Center. The Doula Program Coordinator, Monnie Reba Efross RN, MSN, has worked as a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital since 1979. Monthly Doula Volunteer meetings feature guest speakers and provide an opportunity to share and process experiences of birth assistance at SFGH. Our goal is to become a fully funded program. Doulas and those who want to support us are invited to participate in program projects including fundraising projects.”
Birth Justice Project: “A community of volunteer doulas & health educators dedicated to improving the birth experiences and health satisfaction of incarcerated pregnant people in the San Francisco Jail and in the communities connected to them. We provide incarcerated pregnant people and their families with free and accessible prenatal doula care, postpartum doula care and women’s health education. This project grew out of and remains connected with the San Francisco General Hospital Volunteer Doula Program.” The Birth Justice project also organizes trauma training courses for volunteer doulas to better support survivors of trauma and abuse.
Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco California: No info about doula program on website, for more information contact Contact Nancy Frappier, 415 546 6756, ext. 316.
CCRMC Hearts and Hands Volunteer Doula Program in Martinez, California: Hearts and Hands is a volunteer doula program out of Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, California. Previous doula training is not necessary. Please contact Roz at roz71556[AT]hotmail[DOT]com for more information.
“The Pasadena Public Health Department Maternal Child and Adolescent Health Program Caring Companions Childbirth Assistant Referral Service offers free doula support services to women who receive prenatal care at Pasadena Public Health Department prenatal clinic, and to all women in Los Angeles County who have Medi-Cal or who are low-income.
Birth and Postpartum doulas who are working towards certification, and/or birth and postpartum doulas who want their services to be accessible to a diverse, low-income population are encouraged to apply. Our doulas make a difference in the lives of African-American and Latin@/Chican@ women and babies. African-American doulas and Spanish speaking doulas are encouraged to apply; but doulas of all backgrounds are welcome. Most clients deliver at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.
To obtain an application and for further information, contact The Maternal Child and Adolescent Health Program at 626-744-6092 or e-mail: email@example.com”
Sutter Davis Hospital in Davis, CA: When requested by the expectant mother, Sutter Davis Hospital offers a special program to provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support to mothers during the childbirth process. The Sutter Davis Doula Program is administered by volunteer doulas trained in the physiological and emotional aspects of childbirth. For more information, or to enroll in the class, contact our doula coordinators, , Jennifer Anderson, RN, and Jill Judd, RN, at SDHDoula@sutterhealth.org. They will respond to your inquiries via email.
Welcome Home Doula Services in Yolo, Sacramento & Solano Counties: “Welcome Home Doula Services instituted an Apprentice Program in February 2011, with the goal of training aspiring doulas, providing educational outreach in local communities, and providing services to women who otherwise would likely be unable to access doula support. All of our Apprentice Doulas attend their first three births with a Primary Doula, and their first six births on a sliding scale. Our Apprentice Doulas also attend births (referred by care providers) at local hospitals for homeless and teen parents on a rotating call schedule.”
Bay Area Doula Project in Northern California*: “We are an emerging group of doulas in the Bay Area who are committed to supporting pregnant women who are choosing abortion, and other pregnancy outcomes. Most of us are birth doulas, many of us are postpartum doulas as well. All of us are abortion doulas. We trust women to make their own decisions regarding their pregnancies, and offer unconditional support to women in need.”
Birthways: “At BirthWays we believe that all families deserve support through the birthing process. To that end, we are committed to helping provide access to doulas for as many women as possible.” Operating in the San Francisco East Bay area, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boulder Doula Project* (Boulder, CO): “The Boulder Doula Project is a grassroots community organization that honors reproductive choice in every individual, by providing free emotional, physical, and informational full-spectrum support, with a particular focus on abortion.” A new group working on getting started. Visit their website or their facebook page for more info.
The Children’s Home Society: I was notified that this organization in Orlando links volunteer doulas with low-income women. I couldn’t find a structured volunteer doula program listed on their site, but you may just need to contact them to get involved.
The Doula Project Atlanta*: “The Doula Project Atlanta is a pro-choice, Atlanta –based organization currently under construction. It was founded by a prochoice reproductive justice advocate, who currently serves as Project Coordinator. The project is a volunteer led and run organization that trains and manages its own abortion doula base. We intend to provide multiple services to the community, included, but not limited to: Doula care to people facing abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth; Doula care to people choosing adoption; Doula care on a case-by-case basis to lower-income individuals; Outreach initiatives to the community, schools, and the surrounding areas.” Email thedoulaproject[AT]gmail[DOT]com for more information.
Chicago Volunteer Doulas: “We are about 90 doulas strong and currently work with low-income moms at four of the city’s hospital based midwifery programs. Many of the doulas in the group are more newly trained and looking for certification births, and many of us also have been doing the work for a while and are committed to volunteering for the long run. We provide both on-call services for women who may not have considered a doula before birth, as well as more traditional match-ups with mamas where we establish a longer term relationship including prenatals and postpartum follow up.” More information on their website.
Chicago Doula Circle*: “The mission of Chicago Doula Circle is to increase access and provide emotional, physical, physical and educational support to people during their abortion experiences.” More information here.
Birth Sisters Program at Boston Medical Center (Boston, MA): “The Birth Sisters Program is an innovative multi-cultural doula service that offers women “sister-like” support during pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period.” See the website for contact information.
Freedom Doula Project* (Boston, MA): Freedom Doula Project is a Boston-based organization that provides emotional, physical, and informational support to people across the spectrum of pregnancy. This includes abortion, unintended pregnancy loss, adoption, and birth. Contact the Freedom Doula Project at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and visit them on facebook.
Bay State Green River Doula Project (Springfield, MA): “In cooperation with the midwives at Baystate Midwifery and Women’s Health, Nancy Madru and other members of the Green River Doula Network are taking part in a volunteer doula effort at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. Baystate Midwifery serves a primarily low-income clientele from many cultures and walks of life, and our goal is to provide doula support to as many of these women as possible.”
The Prison Birth Project (Western MA): “The Prison Birth Project is an organization focused on reproductive justice, working to provide support, education and advocacy to women and girls at the intersection of the criminal justice system and motherhood.”
Doulas Care (Ann Arbor, MI): “Doulas Care is a 501c3 non-profit organization working to improve maternal and infant health outcomes and reduce health disparities by matching qualified volunteer doulas with pregnant women and adolescents who have limited resources. Qualifying low-income women receive these services for free. We also offer affordable birth services for $350 and postpartum services on a sliding scale for families outside the range of our free services. As special mentors, doulas provide educational, emotional, physical, and logistical support to women and their families. Doulas Care also helps the volunteers by providing the opportunity to gain hands-on experience soon after training and opens a professional pathway in the field of maternal and infant health.”
Doula Teen Parent Program (Traverse City, MI): Doula provides support to young parents and their children to promote enhanced physical health, children who meet their developmental milestones, and positive parent-child interactions. Parents are offered a continuum of services that may include: volunteer mentors (Doulas), labor and delivery support, access to a baby pantry, empowerment groups, a newsletter with parenting tips and community information, referrals to and advocacy with community resources and a 24-hour crisis line.
Birthing Ways (Duluth-Superior and Northeastern, MN): “Birthing Ways-Doula Connection is a non-profit organization providing professional community-based doula services to pregnant woman and their families. Birthing Ways – Doula Connection exists so that families in Duluth-Superior and Northeastern Minnesota experience Doula supported birth as the standard of care.”
Isis Rising: A Prison Doula Project (Minneapolis, MN): “Our project is a prison-based pregnancy, birth, and parenting program provided to incarcerated women at Shakopee Women’s Prison. The program includes individualized support for expectant incarcerated mothers along with a mothering group facilitated by our doulas, providing support during birth along with the education and skills they need to be stronger, more connected mothers.” For more information visit the host organization website or download this pdf.
The Twin Cities Doula Project (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN): “Twin Cities Doula Project is a new group of doulas who are working together to provide free labor support to moms who want a doula but can’t afford one. TCDP doulas are hoping to fill a void in doula care for moms in the Twin Cities who can’t pay a doula but aren’t eligible for free services provided by Everyday Miracles (Moms must be on UCare to get a doula through E.M.).” For more info visit their website.
SPIRAL Collective: Supporting People in Reproduction, Abortion & Loss (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN)*: New full-spectrum group being established. For more information email email@example.com or join their Facebook group.
The Doula Project*: An NYC-based organization that provides compassionate care and emotional, physical, and informational support to women and people across the spectrum of pregnancy. The Doula Project works to create a society in which all pregnant women and people have access to the care and support they need during their pregnancies and the ability to make healthy decisions for themselves, whether they face birth, miscarriage, stillbirth, fetal anomaly, or abortion.
The Institute for Family Health: “A non-profit organization of community health centers around New York City and upstate New York. Our patient population is extremely diverse in age range, ethnicity, demographics, and socio-economic status. However, many of our patients are on Medicaid or public assistance. Our prenatal care is located at Philips Family Practice on east 16th street. The prenatal patients are seen by a team of two family practice residents and one family practice attending who see them through their prenatal care and attend their delivery at Beth Israel. Patients have the option of being seen individually or participating in our Centering Pregnancy Group Prenatal care.
The volunteer doula program is essentially a matching program, where patients pick a volunteer doula from the list or from one of our meet the doula nights, and are matched together. Most of the doulas have little to no experience, but all have been through the doula training course. Once the patient is matched, it is up to her and her doula to come to a mutual agreement regarding when and where they will meet, who the backup doula will be, how long the doula will stay, how many meetings they will have, and if any fee is expected.” For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 212-206-5226.
Hudson Perinatal Consortium in Hudson County: Hudson Perinatal Consortium offers free community doulas to pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid managed plans and to pregnant women with out insurance.
The doulas at Hudson Perinatal Consortium receive a fully funded fellowship, 20 hours per week, through support from the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services’ Access to Prenatal Care initiative and Merck’s Neighbor of Choice award. This six month program includes free training, educational materials, birth bag, rebozos, massage oils, books, dvd’s and mentoring for a unique public health and community focused tool to reduce disparities in birth outcomes.
UNC BirthPartners (Chapel Hill, NC): A hospital based volunteer doula program in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Note: I volunteered with this program in 2005 and had a good experience.
YWCA Greensboro Doula Program: The YWCA’s Doula Program is for adult females interested in becoming a certified labor coach. As a part of the certification process, doula trainees provide emotional support and comfort during childbirth, help with breastfeeding plus assistance with child-mother bonding to teen moms in TPMP. Call the TPMP office at 273-3461 ext. 117 for additional information.
Open Umbrella Collective in Asheville, NC*: Provides free abortion/post abortion doula services, a sliding fee scale (no one is turned away for inability to pay), “accurate and reliable information regarding family planning, reproductive health, birth, miscarriage, stillbirth, fetal anomaly, abortion and post abortion.”
Spectrum Doula Collective in Piedmont Triad, NC*: “The Spectrum Doula Collective is a central-NC based project that aims to provide compassionate care to any person experiencing any pregnancy outcome. We are committed to helping facilitate the pregnant person’s process as defined by them through our continued emotional, physical, and informational support.” Check out more here.
Start from Seed: Provides birth and postpartum doula services to low income and high risk women in Buncombe County. SFS also focuses on doula certification and training, doula mentoring, and community building.
Cleveland Birthing Project: We are a community based volunteer organization started in Sacremento CA. We provide any pregnant woman with a sister friend. Our mothers receive free classes in Childbirth prep, breastfeeding, money management, education and beyond, female health, child health, parenting on a budget, and finding the job for you and keeping it. We provide our mothers with insightful guidance, and evidence based information in a timely manner. Our mothers benefit from blessingways, baby showers, and one year birthday parties. For more information, contact email@example.com.
PDX Doulas in Portland Oregon: Note from member: The website is out-of-date: we are no longer a funded organization. We work as volunteers at Oregon Health Sciences University’s hospital, doing 1 24-hour shift or 2 12-hour shifts a month, right now on weekends only (although we’re hoping to expand). The nurses decide when to call us based on some vague criteria — do they want a natural birth? Are they unaccompanied? — and we go!
Calyx Doulas* (Portland, OR): “We are a collective of doulas who believe all pregnancy experiences deserve compassionate support. We provide free, non-medical, and peer support for women who are experiencing abortion, adoption, or pregnancy loss. Our doulas have backgrounds in women’s reproductive health, pregnancy options counseling, and doula care that give us a unique perspective to support women through the full continuum of pregnancy.”
International Center for Traditional Childbearing-Full Circle Doula Volunteer Program: They have a volunteer doula program based at Legacy Hospital in Portland. ICTC focuses on working with underrepresented women, particularly African Americans. Contact them for more info!
Philadelphia Alliance for Labor Support (PALS): “A group of labor and delivery doulas committed to improving birth experiences and outcomes in the Philadelphia area, as well as promoting the development of new and experienced doulas. We provide trained labor and birth support people (doulas), free of charge, to people who would otherwise be unable to access doula care. We provide subsidized DONA International certified training, twice a year, to those interested in becoming doulas.Our monthly meetings serve as a support network, resource, and forum and are open to anyone interested in empowering and supporting people through the most positive birth experience possible.” Note: I trained with this group in 2005 and had a great experience.
Philadelphia Advocates for Reproductive Justice*: “The Philly Collaborative for Reproductive Justice & Support (PCRJS) consists of compassionate, social justice-minded folks who are interested in providing support to women across the full spectrum of pregnancy and advocating for reproductive justice in its many forms.”
Project HAPPY in Dallas: A community based doula organization that provides “Full-Circle” doulas to pregnant adolescents and adult women regardless of economic status.
Giving Austin Labor Support in Austin: GALS is a volunteer program intended to provide emotional and physical support to women during their birth experience.
The Bridge Collective*: “The Bridge Collective is a full-spectrum doula organization that believes that every person across the spectrum of pregnancy deserves access to support and options. We are a collective of doulas trained to offer on-call emotional, physical, and informational support services to clients who are pregnant, looking for contraceptive information, adopting, seeking abortions, trying to get pregnant, and/or are new parents. We are proud to work with individuals and families from widely varying backgrounds.”
Volunteer Doula Program at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in Brattleboro Vt:
The program has been in existence for nine years now. We are a group of volunteers and ANYONE who is having a baby at our hospital is welcome to use our services at no charge. We do our own doula training here at the hospital, and it is a pretty thorough program. We also have monthly doula meetings with a special topic every time, so they are a kind of continuing education program. Carol Schnabel, the manager of the program, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 802 257-1894. The Birthing Center phone number is 802-257-8226. We are always looking for mothers eager to use our services, as well as people wishing to be doulas.
Birth Attendants: Prison Doula Project: A doula program based in Olympia Washington that provides support to incarcerated pregnant and postpartum women.
University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle: Founded in 2005, UWMC Doula Care seeks to increase the availability of free labor support for women, as well as to create partnerships between doulas, doctors, nurses and hospital staff. Check out their blogor contact them at email@example.com
Open Arms Perinatal Services (Seattle Washington): “Open Arms has provided birth doula services to women and their families in the Puget Sound area since 1997. We offer services to pregnant women who would otherwise find themselves alone or with little support.” They also fundraise to pay their doulas. More information on their website here and on my post about them here.
Full Spectrum Doulas*: “Full Spectrum Doulas is a growing collective of doulas and reproductive justice advocates who are working throughout the Pacific Northwest to bring the doula model of care to people across the full spectrum of pregnancy experiences, including abortion, adoption, surrogacy, miscarriage and stillbirth.”
Sea Mar Community Health Center: Sea Mar community health centers is a community-based organization committed to providing quality, comprehensive health an human services in Washington state. Doula volunteers will be working within Sea Mar’s Maternity Support Services (MSS), providing back-up support for clients attended by Sea Mar Doulas. In working within MSS you will also have access to other community health professionals for support and feedback. The volunteer may take on their own clients, attending 3 prenatal home visits, providing labor support, and 1 post-partum visit, depending on the needs of the MSS department. You must be a trained doula to volunteer, and there is a minimum 3 month commitment. Fluency in Spanish is desired, but not required. The volunteer position can be found on Sea Mar’s webpage here. For more information or to get involved contact Hayley Weed at Hayleyweed@seamarchc.org.
DC Doulas for Choice: ”We are a group of pro-choice doulas who believe that people seeking abortions may desire and benefit from the same type of patient-centered, non-judgmental physical and emotional support that doulas traditionally provide to people during labor and during birth. We are committed to providing free doula services to people in the District of Columbia (and surrounding area) who are seeking abortions for any reason. In particular, we seek to recognize the multiple barriers to quality reproductive health services facing people of all backgrounds, but especially people of color, low-income people, youth, and LGBT-identified people. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our availability and services.”
Family Health and Birth Center in Washington DC: This birth center located in Northeast DC has a volunteer doula program associated with it. The doulas work with the midwives at the freestanding birth center and also at a nearby hospital. More information on their website here, or you can email them at Doulas[AT]yourfhbc[DOT]org. Also check out Katie’s guest post about the program.
Small Miracles in Madison, Wisconsin: Contact number on website can be used to get in touch with the director–leave name, number, email and indicate that you are interested in becoming a doula. Note: the area code is 608. This program only provides doulas for women who live in the Madison area. Volunteering through this organization does require previous doula training and/or experience. Will provide mentors to new doulas who have been through training.
Bami-Ondaadiziike Birth Doula Project in Northern Wisconsin: “The Bami-Ondaadiziike Birth Doula Project was born in 2006 through a grant with the Red Cliff Community Health Center’s Honoring Our Children Program under the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. We are a group of professionally trained and dedicated volunteer doulas who provide physical, emotional, and mental support for pregnant women and their families in the Chequamegon Bay area. If you would like to be connected with a doula or would like more information please call our referral line to leave a message and our referral coordinator will get back to you as soon as possible. 715-331-9337″
Operation Special Delivery: “Provides trained volunteer doulas for pregnant women whose husbands or partners have been severely injured or who have lost their lives due to the current war on terror, or who will be deployed at the time that they are due to give birth.”
Volunteer Doula Program, Single Parents Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia: They offer Prenatal Education and Support, the Volunteer Doula Program (free Doula training & by donation Doula services), Support to New Moms and Infants, Programs for Parents, Wellness (including Fitness, Infant Massage, Parent Massage), etc. They also help families connect with other resources in the city. Contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vancouver Youth Pregnancy & Parenting Program: The Youth Pregnancy & Parenting Program (YPPP) provides young mothers (up to age 22) complete prenatal and postnatal care. Volunteer Doulas, are a component of the overall program. They attend group sessions with the YPPP participants. Doulas must be “on Call” 24/7 until the birth of the participant’s child. Ensure attendance throughout labour, delivery and the immediate postpartum.
Montreal Birth Companions: “The purpose of the Montreal Birth Companions is twofold: to provide low-income or otherwise disadvantaged women with free doula services and to train “peer doulas” within the ethnically or culturally isolated areas of our city to provide doula support for the women in their communities.”
Birth and Parent Companion Program in Ottawa: The Birth Companion Program started in 1991 at the time to support the growing number of teen moms who were going to the hospital to birth on their own from the community and St. Mary’s home residence and outreach centre. It quickly expanded to support any woman who was of lower income and needed support in accessing reproductive options, support with unexpected outcomes, prenatally, during labour and postnatally or abortion support. Contact information is Lili-Anne Kondo email@example.com 613-728-1839 ext. 289.
Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Bali, Indonesia): “A by-donation clinic located right outside of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia that provides holistic midwifery services to those in need. Suharto’s (dictator in Indonesia from 60s-90s) brutal family planning laws under the New Order helped to create a birthing culture in Indonesia that leaves much to be desired (c-section rates are ~80%, almost all contraceptives prescribed are controlled by doctors, such as IUDs, universal AIDS precautions are not followed, etc.) Additionally, hospital costs are out of reach for many women, so they cannot even access that care. All of this contributes to why hemorrhaging after childbirth is the leading cause of death for women in Bali.
YBS was started by a Filipino-American midwife, Robin Lim, over fifteen years ago. They have volunteers and interns from all over the world, and are truly a worthy organization. I think that they want volunteers to speak basic Indonesian, but its a pretty simple language to learn (it took me about two months to get to a conversational level, and about a year to feel completely comfortable). I can’t say enough good things about Robin and YBS.”
Shanti Uganda: “The Shanti Uganda Society improves infant and maternal health, provides safe women-centered care and supports the well-being of birthing mothers and women living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda.” A reader emailed that she volunteered as a birth doula with Shanti. Visit their website for more information.
This page is a work in progress–please email me (radicaldoula[At]gmail[DOT]com) if you know of other volunteer programs or training organizations!