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

NEXT TRAINING: MARCH 2023 (Hybrid Format)

For more information, contact: Carla Michael, Community and Professional Education Coordinator


Doula (“Doo-Lah”) is a Greek word meaning “woman servant”.  Througout human hstory in all cultures, across all times, women have helped other women have their babies. Doulas are continuing this ancient tradition of woman-to-woman support during childbirth, with a modern twist. Today, Doulas are trained, professional childbirth companions with expertise in perinatal health education, advocacy skills, knowledge of physical comfort measures for childbirth and breastfeeding support.  Combined with a kind and caring nature, Doulas are invaluable to pregnant women and new mothers during the childbearing year.

Doulas are essential on the pregnancy support team

Doulas work collaboratively with the pregnant woman’s medical or midwifery provider co-facilitating safe and satisfying birth experiences for clients. Doulas are recognized as valuable members of the maternity care team and contribute to improving birth outcomes, such as lowering the risk for cesarean section and prematurity.

Is Doula care covered by insurance?

Increasingly, HMO and PPO plans are including payment for Doula services.  As of January 1, 2023, California’s Medi-Cal plan will include Doula support as a covered benefit. 

What Doulas Provide:

  • Emotional support to pregnant women and their partners
  • Informational Support (pregnancy and childbirth education)
  • Advocacy: Helping clients understand their rights and options
  • Physical support and comfort measures during labor and birth
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Lactation support and education
  • Newborn care instructions to new parents
  • Recognition and referrals for abnormal, complex or danger signs of pregnancy, childbirth or in the newborn

What Doulas Do Not Provide:

  • Diagnosis for any medical condition
  • Medical procedures such as vaginal exams, vital signs or fetal heartrate checks 
  • Medical decisions concerning pregnancy, childbirth or newborn care


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 minority, 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 Doulas serve vulnerable pregnant populations such as persons in recovery from drug addiction, incarceration or parole; pregnant persons who are homeless, refugees or trafficked pregnant persons; pregnant victims of domestic violence, or pregnant adolescents in foster care. Community Doulas may serve indigenous, Latinx and African-American communities, because pregnant persons from these communities experience the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the USA.

Community 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 anger, 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 an 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. 

Who Should Attend?

  • Anyone interested in pregnancy and childbirthDoula Training Los Angeles, The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health,
  • 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 medical students who want to become 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 in this course, 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. This course can also be brought to agency location for staff in-service training as well.


PowerPoint and Student Manual (will be provided after registration). Manual and PowerPoint are in a downloadable PDF format. There will be an additional charge of $50 per person + shipping and handling if paper materials are requested.


Regular: $750.00 is the full tuition rate per person.

Early Bird Rate: There is an early-bird rate of $650.00 per person. Early bird rates begin 3 months prior to the course and end 1 month prior to the course.

Group Registration: There is a group discount (4 or more people registering together) of $550.00 per person. This is deal for agencies who would like this course as a staff in-service, or for 4 friends registering together. Contact us to schedule and request an invoice.

Payment Plans: $100.00 required at registration. Balance is due one first day of course. Contact to apply and make payment arrangements.

Student Discounts: $350.00 per person. We offer student discounts for student midwives, nurses, physicians, and public health students.

Scholarships: We offer two half-scholarships ($325.00) per course to low-income, BIPOC persons.  This is available through application and interview. Please contact to apply.


The next series will occur in March, 2023.  Please contact us for exact dates, times and location. Course can also be brought to agency location as staff in-service.


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)

  • Anatomy and Physiology of Parturition
  • Understanding the Birth Process: Second and Third Stage
  • Skills to support laboring persons: Breathing techniques, vocalization, visualization, etc.
  • Positioning During Labor
  • Comfort Measures for Labor
  • Engaging Partners in Labor Support
  • Basics of Breastfeeding
  • Anatomy & Physiology of Lactation
  • Getting Moms Started Breastfeeding
  • Dealing with Common Problems of Lactation

Session Three (Virtual)

  • Informed Consent and Refusal in Maternity Care
  • The Rights and Responsibilities of Birthing Persons
  • Medical Interventions: Advantages and Disadvantages and Alternatives
  • Induction and Augmentation of Labor
  • Electronic Fetal Monitoring and other routine interventions
  • Educating Clients on Pain Medication: Types, Benefits and Risks
  • Supporting Cesarean Births and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
  • Helping clients create 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
  • Law and Ethics for Doulas
  • Professional Issues Primer
  • Certification Requirements
  • Continuing Education
  • Doula Apprenticeship Opportunity
  • Closing Circle


Cordelia Hanna, MPH, CHES, ICCE, CLE, CBA- Principal Course Leader, Curriculum Developer

CordeliaCordelia Hanna obtained her Master’s 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 currently pursuing her doctorate in Health Psychology at Walden University. Cordelia is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), the gold standard for professional health educators, accredited by NCHEC. She 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 and Oregon 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; succeeding in lowering the high rates of infant mortality among Pasadena’s African-American population.

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 Community Health Promoters/Promatores de Salud working in South Los Angeles, one of the Los Angeles communities with the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality.

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 two granddaughters and a grandson.


Carla Michael, MSW, CD, CPD, CLE, Student Midwife – Co-Course Leader

Carla Michael was born Hollywood and raised in Pomona, CA. As a mother to three girls, Carla is well aware of the necessity of love and care during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period.

 Her passionate desire to work with children and families led Carla to a career as a social worker and to obtain a master’s in social work at California State University Los Angeles. Craving a more personable relationship with families while exploring “birthing and babies”, she decided to take a different route and become a full circle doula.
Carla obtained full circle doula training with Shafia Monroe Consulting’s Full Circle Doula Training® (an intensive 30-hour prenatal, labor and postpartum doula training course). This distinctive training is built on the legacy of the 20th century African-American Midwife, who provided holistic perinatal services with birth and postpartum rituals and mothering skills building confidence and leadership abilities within families to improve birth outcomes and increase breastfeeding duration rates.
Carla models this model of care in her practice as a doula, which is improving birth outcomes by reducing prematurity, increasing breastfeeding rates and duration, reducing infant mortality and she has also completed an extensive 14-hour training regarding perinatal mental health and is well versed on the seldom-discussed mental health needs of mamas after birth.

With Carla’s first baby, she had no support with breastfeeding and always wanted to work for an organization such as La Leche League, not knowing that a career in breastfeeding was actually attainable. Therefore, in addition to her work as a doula, she became a certified lactation education specialist training through Breastfeed LA’s 95-hour program and is now currently on the pathway to becoming an IBCLC (international board-certified lactation consultant). This is critical because there are no statistics on how many Black IBCLCs there are in the United States. Carla believes that increasing the amount of Black IBCLC support will increase the rates of Black women’s breastfeeding outcomes, which is so crucial to their bundle of joy’s overall health in life. She enjoys instructing breastfeeding classes to pregnant mamas to prepare them before even before their little babies enters the world, and currently teaches Happy Mama Healthy Baby’s breastfeeding education classes for clients, and our Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Training, Postpartum Doula Training, Perinatal Support Specialist Training and Birth Doula Training.
Carla is currently a student midwife working in a birth center.  Carla believes in women-led births and that, with the proper support, education, and by listening to her intuition, a mama can have the birthing experience she’s always dreamed of. Carla is always honored to support a mama in this memorable, life-changing journey and looks forward to sharing her wisdom and experience with you in this training.

Spanish-speaking instructor can be provided upon request


Contact Carla Michael, MSW, Community and Professional Education Coordinator

Telephone: (626) 388-2191 ext. 1 or


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.