Community Birth Doula Training and Certification

Community Birth Doula Training & Certification Program

Learn skills to support pregnant women and persons, provide support during labor and birth and help new parents care for their newborns.

Help prevent maternal mortality and infant mortality.


“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” -Dr. John Kennel, Pediatrician


Doula (“Doo-Lah”) is a Greek word meaning “woman servant”. Doulas are trained, non-medical professional labor companions. Doulas serve birthing persons in their time of need. Doulas work collaboratively with the client’s medical or midwifery provider to support their clients in having a safe and satisfying birth experiences. Doulas recognized are valuable members of the pregnant person’s maternity care team and contribute to improving birth outcomes, such as lowering the risk for cesarean section.

What Doulas Do Provide:

  • Emotional Support
  • Informational Support
  • Advocacy
  • Physical Support
  • Referrals for Complex or Dangerous Situations of Pregnancy or the Newborn

What Doulas Do Not Provide:

  • Medical Decisions
  • Medical procedures such as vaginal exams or fetal heartrate checks (they are not midwives, nurses or other medical providers).


The difference between a community doula and a “conventional” doula is that community doulas are usually from the same background as the persons they serve. They may share ethnic and racial similarities, or have common backgrounds, such as being a teenage mother or a refugee or immigrant. They may share similar life experiences, such as being a member of a particular ethnic group, or have shared aspects of culture, such as language. They may integrate specific cultural birthing traditions into their care.

Secondly, community doulas, unlike conventional doulas, work with disadvantaged pregnant persons, often in public health settings, rather than working private practice with privately insured clientele.

Community-based doulas recognize the institutional and provider biases that exist in the health care system and try to mediate their effect on BIPOC and low-income birthing persons. Community-based doulas can support birthing persons to mitigate the negative effects of social determinants of health, specifically racism and classism, and highlight potential ways to ameliorate these stressors. In other words, low-income and people of color report discrimination and mistreatment during pregnancy and childbirth. Doulas can help reduce the stress that people feel during incidences of microaggressions and racial discrimination. Doulas can help by listening and providing encouragement and tips to reduce anxiety and fear.

Finally, the length of time the community doula spends with mothers is extended, compared to conventional doulas. Community doulas will meet with mothers early in pregnancy, and provide support throughout the pregnancy, provide labor and birth support, and several follow-up visits throughout the postpartum period. Community doulas function like community health promoters; they are informed  and trained community members, providing health education and referrals to supportive services.


Studies have shown that the presence of a doula can:Doula

  • Shorten length of labor
  • Reduce medical interventions
  • Reduce cesarean section
  • Reduce use of pain medications
  • Increase breastfeeding success
  • Improve maternal-infant bonding
  • Lower postpartum depression
  • Improve overall maternal satisfaction with the birthing experience



No prior experience is needed for this training. The only requirement is a love of pregnancy and babies and a interest in pregnancy, childbirth, lactation and newborns. This course focuses on working with families from low-income and BIPOC backgrounds in public health  and community settings. BIPOC persons are encouraged to attend.

Who Should Attend?

  • Anyone interested in pregnancy and childbirth
  • Mothers and Grandmothers
  • Prenatal & Postpartum Yoga Instructors
  • Prenatal & Postpartum Massage Therapists
  • Community Health Promoters
  • Home Visitors working with pregnant women
  • Case Managers  working with pregnant women
  • CPHWs
  • CNAs and LVNs
  • Students majoring in public health, nursing, medicine or social work
  • Aspiring midwives or OB/GYN physicians

Course Details

This class is a 28-hour course which takes place over 4 days. The hours are 8:30 am to 5:30 pm each day, with two 15-minute breaks morning and afternoon, and a half-hour lunch break.  Class will be taught in English, with English materials. Spanish instructor can be provided by request. For best success, being a high school graduate with some college experience would be helpful.

Format and Location

The class will be hybrid. There will be one in-person session in Los Angeles, and the other days will be taught live on Zoom.


PowerPoint and Student Manual (will be provided after registration)


Regular: $550 is the full tuition rate per person.

Group Registration: There is a group discount (4 or more people registering together) of $350 per person. This is deal for agencies who would like this course as a staff in-service. Contact us to schedule and request an invoice.

Early Bird Rate: There is an early-bird rate of $300 per person. Early bird rates begin 3 months prior to the course and end 1 month prior to the course.

Student Discounts: $250 per person. We offer student discounts for student midwives, nurses, physicians, and public health students.

Scholarships: We offer one scholarship per course to low-income persons, priority given to persons of Asian or Native American descent, for this course in September/October. This is available through application and interview. Please contact us for more information and to apply.


The next series will occur in November 2022. Please contact us for exact dates, times and location. This course can also be scheduled at your agency.


Certification is offered by Happy Mama Healthy Baby Alliance. The requirements are as follows, and are due within 6 months of completing the course:

  • Attend each session for entire time
  • Complete quizzes after each session and pass with score of 70%.
  • Participate in skill demonstration exercises and discussions
  • After the course, work with three (3) mothers/birthing persons providing labor support.
  • Submit three (3) self reports and three (3) client evaluations of your services 
  • Complete required reading list and write  and submit summaries of what you learned
  • Complete Adult and Infant CPR class


After completing this course, participants will have the opportunity to volunteer with Happy Mama Healthy Baby Alliance to provide labor doula support to low-income families who cannot otherwise afford a Doula. You may use these experiences towards the requirements to attend three births for certification. You will have the opportunity to be mentored by experienced Doulas. To apply for this program, contact or call J. Tranae, Doula Program Coordinator at (626) 388-2191 ext. 2


Session One (Virtual)

  • Introduction to the  Doula Profession and HMHBA
  • Perinatal Health Inequities and Disparities
  • An Anthropological and Historical Look at Childbirth Throughout the Ages
  • History of Reproductive Justice and Natural Childbirth Movement in America
  • Communication Skills: The Three Step Strategy
  • Understanding Pregnancy: Prenatal Care, Perinatal Nutrition, Premature Birth Prevention
  • Evidence-Based Recommendations to Improve Maternity Care
  • Understanding the Birth Process: First Stage
  • The Sexuality of Childbirth

Session Two (In-Person)

  • Understanding the Birth Process: Second and Third Stage
  • Skills to support laboring persons
  • Positioning
  • Breathing Techniques
  • Comfort Measures
  • Engaging Partners
  • Basics of Breastfeeding
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Positioning
  • Getting Moms Started
  • Dealing with Common Problems of Lactation

Session Three (Virtual)

  • Informed Consent and Refusal in Maternity Care
  • The Rights of Birthing Persons
  • Medical Interventions: Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Induction and Augmentation of Labor
  • Electronic Fetal Monitoring
  • Pain Medication: Benefits and Risks
  • Cesarean and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean
  • Birth Plans

Session Four (Virtual)

  • Physical Adjustments of Postpartum
  • Emotional Adjustments of Postpartum
  • Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs)
  • Newborn Appearance and Behavior
  • Newborn Medical Procedures
  • Ethics for Doulas
  • Professional Issues
  • Certification Requirements
  • Continuing Education
  • Doula Apprenticeship Opportunity
  • Closing Circle


Cordelia Hanna, MPH, CHES, ICCE, CLE, CBA

CordeliaCordelia Hanna, MPH, CHES, ICCE, CLE, CBA, obtained her Masters in Public Health (MPH) in Health Education and Promotion/Maternal Child Health from Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California in 2008 and her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance from Indiana University, Bloomington in 1986. Cordelia is pursuing her doctorate in Health Psychology at Walden University. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), the gold standard for professional health educators, accredited by NCHEC. Cordelia is also an ICEA-Certified Childbirth Educator, CAPPA-Certified Lactation Educator, and ALACE-Certified Birth Assistant who since 1991 has taught Childbirth Preparation Classes and Breastfeeding Education to hundreds of couples in private practice, clinics, public health, hospital and community settings. She is an apprenticeship-trained midwife, who has worked as an Assistant Midwife and Labor Companion/Monitrice in homes, birth centers, and hospitals throughout Los Angeles County since 1991.

Cordelia is passionate about promoting midwives, doulas, community health promoters and breastfeeding peer counselors to address ethnic health disparities such as low rates of breastfeeding, high rates of prematurity and cesarean section, and to reduce maternal mortality globally. Cordelia worked for The Pasadena Public Health Department Black Infant Health Program from 2002-2012, a California Department of Health-funded program to reduce African-American/Black perinatal health disparities. Here, she initiated and managed a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program and established the very first Community-Based Doula Program for African-American/Black families in Los Angeles County. From 2011 to 2019, Cordelia worked with Esperanza Community Housing Corporation’s Promatora de Salud/Community Health Worker Program, providing training in perinatal health and Doula support for Latinx and African-American/Black Community Health Promoters working in South Los Angeles.

Cordelia is a mother of two home-born, breastfed, and family-bedded children who are now bright and capable young adults, and she is a grandmother of three.

Spanish-speaking instructor can be provided upon request



Cancellation must be made in writing by deadline (30 days prior to course). Tuition will be reimbursed less $50.00 administrative fee if notification received by this date. After this date, there will be no refunds. However in extenuating circumstances such as documented illness or emergency, the tuition is fully transferable to another person or training (this course or another topic); credit is good for the amount of training. If course registering into is higher price, the additional balance will be required. If it is a lesser price, there will not be any refund of balance. Credit will be honored for one year from the training. If not used by that time, the credit will expire.

Special Cancellation Policy for Doulas: If you are “on call” and have a birth during the training, please notify instructor as soon as possible that you will not be attending. The full tuition will be transferred to another person, or different training (this course or another topic) to be used within one year of the training date. If course registering into is higher price, the additional balance will be required. If it is a lesser price, there will not be any refund of balance.