Doula Certification

Getting a doula certification is an excellent way to advance your career and let potential employers know about your doula training, education, and experience.

Although getting a certification is not required, many doulas choose to get certified in order to acquire a more comprehensive skillset.

Doula certification programs will train you through educational literature as well as real-life practical experience in assisting at live childbirths.  By learning from workshops, doing the coursework, and reading the course material from a certification program, any doula-in-training can get a certification.

What to Think About Before Getting a Doula Certification

Cost – There are costs associated with getting a doula certification, such as membership fees, tuition, and the cost of buying books.  These costs vary from program to program.

Time – It can take up to several months to a year to attend workshops, read the course material, and assist in live births.  Many people lead busy lives and can train at their own pace.
Online Training – Some doula certification programs allow you to train online for your convenience, but some programs do not.  Be sure to read the course requirements carefully.

What Birth Doula Certification Programs Will Teach You

Doula certification programs will help you gain the skills you need to be a professional doula through discussions, presentations, classes, and workshops.  The curriculum of each program is a different, however the topics that they cover are similar.  They demonstrate how to provide physical comfort measures such as massages and proper bedrest.  They will teach you to give emotional support to the mother as both a friend and a companion.

Below are typical birth doula topics will be taught while in a certification program:

  • The anatomy and stages of labor
  • Natural labor
  • The advantages and disadvantages of using medical interventions, such as epidurals, during childbirth
  • Non-medical alternatives
  • Proper labor positions 
  • Problems that can arise during labor and birth 
  • Cesarean and VBAC
  • Methods of breathing for both stress relief, pain management, and pushing during labor
  • Collaborating with the mother to prepare a birth plan that suits her needs

List of Doula Certification Programs

DONA International

DONA stands for Doulas of North America.  With over 7000 members worldwide, DONA International offers certifications for both birth doulas and postpartum doulas.  Click here to learn more about the requirements and costs of a DONA International certification.


CAPPA stands for Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association.  Established in 1998, CAPPA certifications are internationally recognized for birth and postpartum doulas as well as childbirth and lactation educators.  Click here to learn more about the requirements and costs of a CAPPA certification.

Childbirth International
Childbirth International has students in 104 countries, including the United States.  This organization provides certifications for birth, postpartum, and antepartum/advanced birth doulas.  Click here to learn more about the requirements and costs of a Childbirth International certification.