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 and not an endorsement of any of these programs specifically. I can’t guarantee what the experiences with these programs might be like. If you want to learn more before getting involved with a program, ask for the contact info of past participants and talk to them directly.
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 fill out this form with details.
BirthWell Partners (Birmingham, AL): “BirthWell Partners is a community based not-for-profit corporation serving women of all economic levels in the greater Birmingham area. BirthWell Partners’ mission is to provide high quality, evidence based information and support for pregnancy, birth and parenting, as well as a training pathway for women seeking to enter the doula profession, regardless of ability to pay.
We recruit women from the Birmingham community who want to be doulas but can’t afford the cost of training. We provide them with a scholarship to cover the cost of attaining a Doulas of North America (DONA) Birth Doula certification. As part of the certification process, trainees need to attend 3 documented births. For many doulas, this means actually attending more than three births, just because of the unpredictable nature birth. But we help! In return for their scholarships, our trainees volunteer to attend 6 births with women and teens that we have identified who cannot afford to pay for the care of a doula. So, each doula completing our program will become a DONA certified birth doula. She will attain a marketable skill enabling her to earn income by providing doula services.” More info here. In addition to training doulas, they accept trained volunteer doulas.
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 email@example.com for more information.
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, Kim Andersen Johnson, RNC, BSN, and Gabi Anderson, RN, BSN, 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.”
LA Doula Project*: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The LA Doula Project consists of birth professionals, reproductive justice activists, and women’s rights activists who are dedicated to supporting the choices, needs, and experiences of pregnant people and families throughout Los Angeles. We are working to bring the doula model of care to people across the “full spectrum” of reproductive experiences – which include live birth, abortion, adoption, miscarriage, stillbirth and termination for fetal anomalies.
Our pro-bono birth doulas and childbirth education programs reach underserved communities in Los Angeles, including women and families who are low income, ESL, and teenagers. All of our services are provided by volunteers who support our mission.The LA Doula Project also plays a key role in national efforts to support grassroots “full spectrum” doula organizations across the country and to raise awareness about “full spectrum” doulas as a valuable support source for pregnant people. We strive to foster a culture that trusts people and their inherent strength to make the best reproductive decisions for themselves. We invite you to explore our website for more information about volunteering with our organization, becoming a collaborative clinic, or receiving services from the LA Doula Project.”
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 email@example.com.
LifeCenter Birth Center (Sacramento, CA): “LifeCenter Sacramento is an out-of-hospital birth center in the Arden Arcade neighborhood of Sacramento. Healthy expecting mothers have an opportunity to give birth in our birth center under the supportive care of LifeCenter’s staff. Each birth is typically attended by a CNM, a nurse (RN or LVN), and a student midwife. We follow the Midwives Model of Care, incorporating policies and protocols consistent with the belief that healthy women tend to birth healthy babies, and birth is a normal event in human life. Our staff is trained to attend out-of-hospital births, and emphasizes a family-friendly, low-intervention model of care.
We acknowledge that along with the occasional use of these tools and supplies, doula support is crucial in ensuring a safe, satisfying birth experience for every family. As a facility serving mostly families enrolled in Medi-Cal services, we see clients who come from a variety of socioeconomic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Many of our clients are very low-income, and as a result do not have access to private doula services. Many of our clients do not have a dedicated support person or partner planning on attending the birth.
LifeCenter is currently collecting a list of doulas in the Sacramento area available to volunteer their time to clients, both for full services (prenatal, birth, postpartum) as well as on-call when clients are in labor. Ideally, all of our volunteer doulas will have attended a doula training with a credible organization (DONA, CAPPA, CBI, ToLabor, ALACE, WHDS) or would be willing to attend a training through the center. Cultural sensitivity/cultural intelligence training is a plus, as is multilingualism. As we will be attending up to 40 births per month, this is a great way for doulas to gain experience with diverse clientele out of the hospital. If you are a doula interested in volunteering your time for families, please fill out this short questionnaire. Someone will be in touch via e-mail to add you to the directory.”
Joy in Birthing Foundation (Los Angeles, CA): “We are a registered 501 3 (c) non-profit organization of committed, community oriented professional doulas, dedicated to helping low income families through pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. We seek to empower women during this important time by providing support in the form of doula services, as well as education, in the form of regular classes. We welcome any birth or postpartum doula trained by a recognized certifying organization who would like to work with low-income women, foster youth, and homeless women. Please fill out our registration here.” Contact:
Woodland Healthcare Volunteer Doula Program, Woodland, CA: “Volunteer Doulas are available on an on-call basis to support mother’s and families giving birth at Woodland Healthcare. Volunteers are asked to donate 16 hours per month for a minimum of one year. In return, Volunteers will receive ICEA Professional Childbirth Educator Training, opportunities to support mothers, attend childbirth classes, and receive support from experienced mentors.” Contact: Bonita Broughton, Bonita@EmbraceParenting.com, 540-850-9692
Organic Birth (Santa Cruz, CA): “We are a collective of doulas and holistic health practitioners that provide services to women in the Santa Cruz & Monterey bay area. We provide full-price services as well as volunteer or sliding-scale low cost services to women in need so that we can fulfill our mission of providing a doula for every woman who wants one. Our volunteer program, called the Community Doula Project, matches mothers with training doulas and provides an experienced doula to mentor the trainee.” Contact: Ashley Shea 831-252-2562 OrganicBirthSC@gmail.com
Pro Bono Doula Services of Marin (Marin County, CA): “PBDSM provides volunteer birth and postpartum doulas for low-income families in Marin County. We provide full doula services for birth, two weeks postpartum care, and an on-call doula program at Marin General Hospital. Some of our doulas are trained in full-spectrum support and we welcome more doulas for this care.” Contact: Cynthia Whitman-Bradley, firstname.lastname@example.org,, 415-305-5854
The North State Doula Program (Redding, CA): “The North State Volunteer Doula Program was founded to provide essential doula support to families throughout the childbearing year, regardless of socioeconomic status. The program currently serves families choosing to birth at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, CA but is not affiliated with the hospital itself. The goal of The North State Volunteer Doula Program is to work within the community to improve maternal fetal outcomes in Shasta County, reduce inequity in birth and provide low cost or free doula support to families who would otherwise be unable to afford it. The North State Volunteer Doula Program accepts clients by referral only and is comprised of a call pool of six private practice doulas that are passionate about community doula care and forging positive relationships with care providers and other birth professionals in the local community to improve the experience of birth for women of all backgrounds. The North State Volunteer Doula Program also offers a pathway to certification for newly trained student doulas.” Contact: Northstatevolunteerdoulas@gmail.com
Colorado 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. Contact: email@example.com
Yale New Haven Hospital, Saint Raphael Campus, Vidone Birth Center Volunteer Doula Program (New Haven, CT): “This program includes matching volunteer birth doulas to socioeconomically disadvantaged families who qualify for Medicaid. Doulas work 12 hours shifts (on call), and must undergo preliminary training and orientation to serve.” Interested individuals should contact Erin Morelli at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Mama to Mama (Louisville, KY): “Mama to Mama is a 501c3 working to ease the transition into parenthood through prenatal education, volunteer doulas, and parenting supports for caregivers with young children. The Outreach Doula Project seeks to connect low-resource families with volunteer doulas in the Kentuckiana region. Mama to Mama is currently raising funds to be able to pay doulas in the future.” Contact: 502-269-8139, Director of Programs: Emily Whitsett Pickett, email@example.com
CHOICES Full Spectrum Doula Collective* (Memphis, KY): “The Choices Full Spectrum Doula Collective was founded in 2014 and presently collaborates with two Memphis clinics to place surgical abortion doulas. Although our work is presently abortion-focused, our goal as we grow our numbers is to grow along the spectrum while maintaining a pool of volunteer doulas offering zero-cost services. Our current expansion plans include providing support for individuals seeking medication abortion, for transgender individuals as they move through their transition journey, and for pregnant people unable to afford birth doula support. We welcome doulas from all backgrounds and strive to provide compassionate, appropriate emotional support to all individuals who seek our care.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Children’s Home Society (Orlando & Jacksonville): Volunteer doulas for this program are trained by Rae Davies of The Birth Company then commit to a minimum of 6 months on-call with Children’s Home Society. Contact: Christine Stephens, program director for early head start home-based program. Email:Christine.email@example.com
Birth Blossoms (Fort Pierce, St. Luce County & surrounding areas): Birth Blossoms community based homebirth practice connecting volunteer (and paid) doulas with mothers in need. Annual doula trainings in December with community sponsored scholarships available. Birth doulas, post partum doulas and some full spectrum doulas available. Annual training is Birth doula DONA based. Contact: Mary@BirthBlossoms.com
Bold City Doulas Coalition (Jacksonville): A community organization offering pro bono doula services to under-served women in Jacksonville, FL. We train and certify community doulas in addition to being a place for already trained doulas to volunteer. Visit our website for more information.
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.
Better Beginnings Doula Program (Des Moines): “The Young Women’s Resource Center’s Better Beginnings Doula Program was established in 2003 to offer this comprehensive, individualized support to the pregnant teens and young women in the community. The first doula program in the state of Iowa at the time was unique in that it specifically targeted an underserved population of pregnant women who otherwise could not afford the luxury of a doula. Most doulas are hired privately and are paid for by the client, as most insurance plans do not cover the cost. Since the program began over 12 years ago, nearly 375 young women have benefited from the support of a doula at no cost. The program is funded through grants and private donations so that the doulas can be paid for the services they provide.
The YWRC contracts with doulas in the community to be matched with the young women who desire the support. The doulas meet with the client approximately 3 times before the baby is born to prepare her for labor and birth and to help her get ready for the early postpartum period. During this time, the doula is also building a trusting relationship with the young woman so that she is a familiar, continuous support for her during labor, birth and early postpartum.”
Mercy Volunteer Birth Doula Program (Des Moines): “The Mercy Volunteer Birth Doula Program offers volunteer birth doulas that are “on-call” for a 24-hour period each month. Patients who are in active labor and choose to have a birth doula will receive them on a first-come, first-served basis at no additional cost. Not knowing demand, there will not be a guarantee of no-cost doula services; however, if you would like to guarantee a doula, you may contract with a doula and pay for it out-of-pocket.”
Chicago Volunteer Doulas: “Chicago Volunteer Doulas is a birth justice organization providing comprehensive doula support for vulnerable communities in Chicagoland. We are about 60 doulas strong and currently work with low-income families at five 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 people who may not have considered a doula before birth, as well as a more traditional model where we establish a longer term relationship including visits prenatally 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.
Community Doula Birth Program (Greater Portland Area): We are a non-profit program designed to match low-income women with doulas that are not yet certified looking for births. Our focus is low-income, homeless/shelter, refugee/immigrant families. The doulas receive a handbook that guides them in their experience along with a mentor that provides them support throughout the process. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Baltimore Doulas for Choice*: “Baltimore Doulas for Choice is a volunteer-led-and-run, reproductive justice organization that seeks to provide doula care for people seeking abortion for any reason.”
Wildcat Birth* (Baltimore): Wildcat Birth is a full-spectrum doula collective supporting folks through birth and postpartum experiences, as well as abortion, miscarriage, and adoption. We offer volunteer services on an as-available basis. Contact: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com 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.”
Boston Doula Project* (Boston, MA): A new full-spectrum group in Boston–“Boston Doula Project provides non-judgmental, compassionate and empowering support to people choosing abortion, and those experiencing unintentional pregnancy loss. In doing so, we strive to foster a culture that trusts people to make the best reproductive decisions for themselves.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Southeast Michigan Doula Project: “We provide free or low-cost birth doula care to families in Southeast Michigan. Our wonderful volunteers are the heart and soul of the Doula Project. They are all trained and love what they do! Each of our skilled and caring doulas provides a minimum of 1 prenatal visit, attendance at the birth, and 1 postpartum visit . We serve Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Saint Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.”
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)*: SPIRAL (Supporting People in Reproduction, Abortion, and Loss) is a radical collective which provides free, compassionate, non-judgemental support to the full-spectrum of people across all pregnancy outcomes and reproductive experiences with the intention of empowering bodily autonomy. We value accessibility, inclusivity, and centering the experiences of marginalized communities in order to promote reproductive justice. For more information email email@example.com or find them on facebook or follow them on twitter.
Reno Doula Project*: “The Reno Doula Project was founded with one simple goal: a doula for every woman who needs one. While RDP does charge for services, the fees are negotiated on a sliding scale based on financial need, ranging from $0-$600. Services include childbirth education, prenatal care, labor support, and postpartum support.” Locations: Reno, Carson City, Truckee, Fallon, Fernley. Contact:
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 the mid-Hudson Valley. Our patient population is extremely diverse in age range, ethnicity, demographics, and socio-economic status. However, most of our patients are on Medicaid or public assistance. Our downstate prenatal care sites are located in Manhattan (East Harlem and Chelsea) and the Bronx (Soundview, Tremont, Mt. Hope). 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 Maternal Health Advocates at each clinic connect interested patients with a doula based on the volunteers’ availability at the estimated due date, as well as hospital proximity. Many of the doulas have little to no experience, but all have completed a 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, and how many meetings they will have.” For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 212-633-0800, extension 1221.
Ancient Song Doula Services* (Brooklyn, NY): Our collective of doulas range from in training to 50 + births. No matter the experience we always offer the highest quality care. Services range from free(ages 12-19) to low cost depending on the needs of the clients we are serving and NO ONE is ever turned away! Contact: Chanel.email@example.com
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.
W.I.S.E. Community Doulas* (Charlotte, NC): “As the first organization of its kind, in North Carolina, W.I.S.E. (Women In Support and Empowerment) Community Doulas was formed to provide caring, sensitive, and culturally appropriate doula support, for women of color; who lack the adequate resources needed, to afford doula care. We envision pregnancy and birth as part of a spectrum of reproductive experiences -which also includes fertility, pregnancy prevention, miscarriage, abortion, surrogacy, and adoption- and we extend the doula model of care to all of the choices and outcomes across this spectrum. This means that we provide educational, informational, physical and emotional support for all reproductive choices and experiences.” Contact: Fametta Darling firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
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!
Gateway Doula Group (Portland): Every pregnant person stands to benefit from support during childbirth, especially those from under-served communities, for whom negative disparities in birth outcomes are an unfortunate reality. The Gateway Doula Project (GDP) formed in 2012 to provide these communities with FREE access to doula care. GDP doulas are trained to provide educational, physical and emotional support to patients during labor and birth. We are based out of Women’s Healthcare Associates, Gateway, in Portland, Oregon, and attend births at Portland Providence Medical Center. Contact:GatewayDoulaGroup@gmail.com
Cascades Abortion Support Collective* (Portland and Vancouver, WA): Cascades Abortion Support Collective (CASC) provides free, compassionate, support to anyone experiencing abortion in the greater Portland area. As abortion doulas we offer emotional, physical, spiritual, informational and logistical support based on the needs and desires of those involved. CASC believes that all people deserve safe, supportive, abortion care, no matter what. Cascades Abortion Support Collective does not charge a fee for abortion support services.
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.”
North Philadelphia Breastfeeding & Community Doula Program: We offer yearly FREE intensive, (20 Session) Community Doula trainings for people of color and coordinate a corresponding referral/match project connecting pregnant people form the area with trained community doulas. Community Doulas are paid a stipend for their support through a Maternity Care Coalition grant. Community Doula gatherings and ongoing skills building opportunities keep the network growing and connected in a transformational, nurturing and healing space. 2015-16 we are initiating an intensive FREE breastfeeding Peer Counselor training for women of color. Contact: Naima Black: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nashville Volunteer Doula Program: “The Nashville Volunteer Doula Program (NVDP) began in 2013 and was created by student nurse-midwives and nurse-midwifery faculty at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. NVDP’s volunteer base is comprised of community doulas as well as doulas who are also students of the university. The volunteers deliver free hospital-based labor support services. The program currently serves clients of the West End Women’s Center nurse-midwifery practice who give birth at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.” Contact: email@example.com
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.”
Corpus Christi Doula Services: “Laboring for Adoption: A Volunteer Birth Doula program started by Corpus Christi Doula Services to help women whose babies are being adopted at birth. Several local Doulas participate as Volunteers for the program. We believe it is so helpful to a laboring woman to have someone with her who is on her side, being unconditionally supportive throughout her birth journey. We are very passionate about this program and believe that every laboring woman deserves unconditional support and encouragement.” More information about this program coming soon to their website.
Cicada Collective/North Texas Abortion Support Network*: “The Cicada Collective aims to provide access to reproductive resources such as abortion doula services, informational support, and transportation/lodging possibilities for people in North Texas who are seeking abortions.”
San Antonio Birth Doulas: “(website: www.sabirthdoulas.org) San Antonio Birth Doulas was founded in 1999 in response to the increasing need for birth doula services, especially among teens and low-income women in our community. San Antonio Birth Doulas provides new and expecting parents with support in the areas of pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding, newborn care and bonding in an effort to prevent infant/child abuse and neglect. San Antonio Birth Doulas hosts regular DONA birth doula training workshops to support the growing need for doulas in San Antonio and the greater Texas community. They offer trained doulas in the area a paid “internship” in exchange for their support of low-income mothers. This not-for-profit 501c3 organization is part of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of San Antonio, Inc., but they seek to serve families of all backgrounds and structures.”
Mama Sana Vibrant Woman* (Austin, Texas): “Mama Sana Vibrant Woman is a community organization that works to facilitate access to culturally appropriate and quality, prenatal and postnatal care for women of color in Austin Texas. The volunteer birth companion program exists to create quality support through culturally respectful doula/ birth Support for pregnant people of color.” Contact: Info@msvwatx.org, Rachel Caballero Birth Support Program Director
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.
Urban Baby Beginnings* (Richmond, Hampton Roads): “We are a full spectrum Community Doula and Perinatal Health Worker program providing support and education to families regardless of income. Our program consists of in home visiting, classes and groups supported by Doulas and educators. These individuals volunteer their time and resources because they believe in the importance of providing a community of support to help birthing families as they make their journey to becoming a parent. ” Contact: Stephanie Spencer, Health Director, Urban Baby Beginnings (833) 782-2229.
A Better Childbirth (ABC) by NOVA Birth Partners (Northern Virginia, Maryland, DC): “We believe all women deserve access to childbirth and postpartum support no matter their ability to pay. Our Junior Doulas are committed to helping families access effectual birth support despite the financial position of our clients. Our doulas provide non-technological, physical and emotional support, while working with family and friends of the women they serve. Recently, our Junior Doulas have begun offering postpartum care as well with a focus on helping to establish and maintain breastfeeding. We are always looking for mothers eager to use our services, as well as people wishing to be doulas. Please visit our website to apply for our program here: http://www.novabirthpartners.com/junior-doulas.html”
Richmond Doula Project* (Richmond, VA): “The Richmond Doula Project is a collective of full-spectrum doulas in Richmond, VA. They offer support and education to people through all pregnancy outcomes, centering POC, LGBTQI, and other underserved communities.” Contact: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.”
Cascades Abortion Support Collective* (Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR): Cascades Abortion Support Collective (CASC) provides free, compassionate, support to anyone experiencing abortion in the greater Portland area. As abortion doulas we offer emotional, physical, spiritual, informational and logistical support based on the needs and desires of those involved. CASC believes that all people deserve safe, supportive, abortion care, no matter what. Cascades Abortion Support Collective does not charge a fee for abortion support services. Contact: email@example.com
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.
Dar a Luz Honduras: “Give much-needed support to women during childbirth! In the public hospitals of Honduras women labor together in one room and give birth next to each other. Hospital rules are often very restricted, often women are anxious and feel alone and often women are young and under 18 years old. There is a big need for emotional and technical support for this women during childbirth. The experience of childbirth affects the life of a woman, her self-esteem and her immediate bonding with the newborn. If the women experiences more support and love during the birth process, the relationships within families will improve and women will become more empowered. It is something that seems so simple, but the effects can last a lifetime and be passed down for generation.” For more information visit their website.
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!