Most people begin the certification process by taking the Birth Doula Workshop. The steps to get certified are described below and in the Birth Doula Certification Guide at
It is recommended to apply for your certification packet after the training but before you attend your first birth. (If you have already applied, you must meet all the following steps within the 2 year date stamped on your packet.)
All of the steps below have to be completed by the time you send in your Application Packet for review by
the Certification Committee but not necessarily in this order unless indicated.
Read books from the required reading list and the DONA Position Paper.
It is helpful to complete the required reading before the workshop, especially if you are new to the field, but it does not all have to be done by then. It is required to read The Birth Partner, 4th Edition by Penny Simkin before the workshop. You will sign a Statement of Completion of Required Reading which is included in your certification packet.
Childbirth Education Requirement (Please meet this requirement prior to the workshop.)
This step is a part of your training to become a doula. In order to certify doulas, DONA needs to have documented proof that you have obtained at least a minimum level of basic knowledge regarding the
childbearing year. Even if you have had children and taken a childbirth class then, DONA asks that you
acquire this information from a more objective and doula focused viewpoint. This also assures that workshop participants have this basic understanding of childbirth and have current information before attending,
because the Doula Workshop focuses on advanced skills and the role of the doula.
There are three possible ways you can meet this requirement:
1) Completing an Introduction to Childbirth Education for Doulas course of at least 7 hours length that is taught by a DONA-Approved Birth Doula Trainer. It is listed on the DONA website as Intro. (You do not also have to observe a childbirth series) I offer an 8 hour course on the Thursday, Day 1, of the Birth Doula Workshop, for those who need to meet this pre-requisite, and you will find a course description on the Workshop Agenda page. OR
2) Observing (as a non-pregnant participant) a comprehensive childbirth education series, ideally 12 hours of instruction time, and preferably taught by a certified childbirth educator, such as ICEA, Lamaze, Bradley, Birth Works, ACBE, or Hypnobabies. Try to find an evidence-based class in your area. Have the instructor sign the Childbirth Class Observation Form, which can be found on the DONA website. OR
3) Training and active practice as a childbirth educator, midwife, or labor and delivery nurse. You will need to send proof of these in your certification packet.
Complete the Basics of Breastfeeding requirement by one of the following options:
(Note: This step does not have to be completed before the Birth Doula workshop but is recommended before attending your first experiential birth!)
1) Completion of an approved on-line lactation study program. I recommend the 5-CEU course for Oregon Doulas, because of the Medicaid population we are able to serve. (See DONA website). OR
2) Participation in a breastfeeding class/workshop of at least 3 hours minimum taught by an IBCLC, CLE,
or CLC. An observation form for this is on the DONA website or will be in your certification packet. OR
3) Completion of lactation consultant, breastfeeding peer counselor, or community breastfeeding
Attend a DONA approved Birth Doula Workshop of at least 16 hours in length.
This is your primary training in becoming a Birth Doula. The Birth Doula Workshop that I offer is a total of
24 hours over three days, so you will be fully ready to get started into the field. For a course outline of this
workshop and fees, see Workshop Agenda page. See the schedule page for dates and locations.
Become a member of DONA International ($100) (No later than submitting for certification)
Purchase a DONA International Birth Doula Certification Packet. ($40-50)
Your packet includes all the information and forms required for certification. When ordered, you must sign the DONA International Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice forms The packet is valid for two years from the date of purchase.
View a DONA International webinar on a business theme on the Every Doula Everywhere and Anytime virtual education site. (See DONA web site)
After attending your workshop and ordering your birth doula certification packet, provide labor support to several clients and submit 3 qualifying experiences along with the applicable Birth Record Sheets and good Evaluation Forms from both the birthing person and their care provider.
We will review the details about this in the workshop and you will receive sample forms. The births must meet certain criteria to be counted.
Develop a resource list of at least 45 resources from at least 30 different categories.
Meet with a birth professional, explain the role and scope of the birth doula, and have that person complete a written reference form. Identify a client who is willing to complete a reference form.
Take a 10 question self-test (in the certification packet)
Write an essay of 500-1000 word length on the value and purpose of labor support.
Send in the application form and completed packet with a $110 processing fee.
You will hear back from a reviewer from Certification Committee within a few weeks as to the approval process of your certification.
To learn more about Birth and Postpartum Doulas and how to become certified, contact