Are you interested in becoming a birth or postpartum doula? Women of all ages support families in this role. There is no requirement of prior birth experience.

  • During pregnancy, doulas provide prenatal advice and support, including referrals to support services in the community and help with planning for birth.
  • During labor and childbirth, doulas provide continuous emotional, physical, and informational support to the mother and her partner.
  • During the postpartum period, doulas ease the time of transition by helping with household tasks and connect the family with support resources of all kinds.

A good doula training will teach you the information and skills that you need to begin providing this kind of care to women and families.


Note that because the role of the doula is non-medical (she does not medically monitor, assess, diagnose, or treat medical conditions), there is no federal or state requirement for certification. Some volunteer programs may request certification or proof of training. Certification usually entails additional cost, both initially and ongoing.  Many programs provide certification on completion of all requirements; several of these are widely recognized. Although certification is an option, some doulas choose not to certify for philosophical reasons.

Prerequisites & Post-Training Requirements

Prerequisites vary by program. Typical prerequisites include attendance at a series of childbirth education classes for expectant parents, readings, and sometimes CPR. Post-training requirements may include attending births or caring for postpartum families as a volunteer, essays, and/or evaluation forms.

Training Options

Aspiring doulas have numerous options for training. When choosing a training program,  consider the duration and depth of the training, the prerequisites, the total cost, the philosophy and experience of the instructor, post-program support, and the effectiveness of the program in launching new doulas into practice.

Online Training

These may be preferred by those whose schedules make it impossible to attend an in-person training. They may include an interactive online classroom component. Depending on your background, the convenience of this mode of training may be offset by the disadvantage of not having personal instruction in hands-on skills. See Birth Arts International and Aviva College.

Doula Training Organizations

Widely recognized doula training programs offer workshops in most cities and states. Participants may choose to complete a certification process after the workshop; additional fees usually apply.  See DONA International and CAPPA

Independent Doula Trainers

Local or regionally-based doula trainings are available in some areas.  Certification may be available, and there may be opportunities for local networking, orientation, mentoring, or continuing education with the instructor. See Doula Training & Mentoring with Warm Welcome Birth Services.

Please note that the Green River Doula Network does not have direct knowledge or experience with every program listed above. They are provided as a starting place for your own research. It’s always a good idea to speak with a few past graduates of a program before enrolling, as this will give you the best understanding of the thoroughness of the program.