Many new Birth Doulas are concerned about what they need to do before they can become certified. There is no need to worry with Childbirth International - the process is simple and straightforward. There are no workshops to attend, and you do not need to obtain evaluations from doctors or other caregivers.

With Childbirth International you can get started right away and complete your training with complete flexibility and convenience. You DO NOT have to attend a workshop. There is no additional charge for certification and no requirement for membership or recertification. Certification as a Childbirth International Birth Doula is for life! Once you have successfully completed all the requirements you will be eligible to apply for certification as a Birth Doula with Childbirth International.

You will receive a comprehensive set of study guides which form an impressive reference library you can refer to again and again. Each study guide contains a variety of reading material, learning activities and exercises which you complete in your own time. The course is made up of three modules - Communication Skills, Physiology in Pregnancy and Birth, and Birth Doula Skills. As each module is completed you simply submit an on-line evaluation form.

To gain experience and put some of your new found knowledge into practice, you will support two women through labor. After the birth, you will write to your trainer and tell her what you learned at the birth. It might be the value of some of the skills you used, the experience of working with the family and caregivers, or simply describing the heady euphoria of being at a birth! You do not need to provide an evaluation from the doctor, midwife or nurses caring for the mother. You can use the birth as part of your certification requirements even if the mother has a cesarean or births so quickly that you do not make it to her birth. These two births can take place any time after you begin your training.

You will need to support the women for a minimum of 20 hours (both births together - e.g. 12 hours with one woman and 8 hours with the other). You must have provided some prenatal support as well as postpartum support. You must intend to be present for some of the labor and birth. One of these births may be a cesarean. The other must be vaginal. If your client labors and births very quickly and you do not make it for the birth this can still be used as a certification birth if you were present for at least 5 hours during the prenatal and postpartum period. If this happens you must have been present for the other birth you use for your certification.

To broaden your knowledge and become exposed to different viewpoints, you will read three books that are relevant to doula work.

To help you understand the options available for parents in your area, you will complete a short survey on the childbirth classes available in your community. This helps you to determine not only the services available, but also to see any future opportunities for yourself as you build your Birth Doula business.

During the course of your training you will complete the assignments at your own pace. The first, a communication assignment, is a written account of one of your own births, or an event in your life that was significant to you if you have never had a baby. This assignment is reviewed and graded by your trainer. A pass grade is necessary to be eligible for certification.

The second assignment is an open book test of multiple choice questions on different aspects of pregnancy, labor, birth and the early postpartum period. You can use any reference materials, including your student manuals, to research and find the answers to the quiz. A pass grade must be accomplished for each test to be eligible for certification.

Childbirth International Birth Doulas are not required to recertify. Once you have completed all the requirements you are certified for life. However, we recognize that some membership organizations (such as DASC - Doulas of Southern California) require regular recertification as a prerequisite to membership. Childbirth International graduates have the option to request recertification every three years. You will show evidence of ongoing education, evaluations of two births that you supported in the previous 24 months and write a reflective paper. There is a small fee for recertification to cover the costs. This process is entirely optional.

"I liked all of my training - from the readings to the student discussion forum; the student chats and feedback from my trainer. If I had to pick a favorite part it would be *REALLY* learning how to teach parents to advocate for themselves and take responsibility for their decisions. If I had only learned that one thing, I think I would have called the training successful. It is by far the most valuable tool I have in my so called 'bag of tricks'." Jamie, Maryland, USA


Course Manuals

  • Read the manuals provided
  • Submit a short on-line evaluation for each of the modules

Support & Reviews

  • Support two women during labor and submit your own reflection
  • Complete a survey on childbirth class options locally
  • Read 3 books from the reading list and submit book reviews


  • Write a communication assignment
  • Complete the online (open book) physiology tests

You can complete these steps in any order, at any time after you have started your training.