Postpartum Doula Training & Certification Program

Heart and Hands Postpartum Doula Training & Certification Program

Learn skills to support new mothers and care for newborn babies. Help prevent maternal mortality and infant mortality.

This course has no affiliation with Elizabeth Davis, LM, CPM or Heart and Hands Midwifery Workshops.

Dates of Next Course:


For more information, and to be notified when registration opens, contact Carla Michael, Community and Professional Education Coordinator



In this class, participants will learn skills to support new mothers and care for newborns immediately following birth and the first months. More than a baby nurse, a Postpartum Doula provides emotional support, physical care, and comfort to the new mother, instruction on self-care and baby care, and instills confidence in her clients for motherhood. Services also may include breastfeeding support, meal preparation, care of siblings, and linking families to supportive services in the community. Infant and maternal mortality are the highest for African-American, Native-American and Latinx mothers and babies, so Postpartum Doulas can save lives!

This course is based on a biopsychosocial framework. The biopsychosocial approach “systematically considers biological,psychological and social factors and their complex interactions in understanding health, illness, and health care delivery”. (Engel, 1977).


Instructional methods include on-line/web format lecture, demonstration, discussion, experiential processes, role-play exercises, including videos and exercises.

Classes meet for 4 sessions from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm PST on Thursday and Friday for two consecutive weeks.  The training will be held live on Zoom. There will be a 15-minute break each day in the morning.


The next training will be offered:

January 2024

This can also be offered as an in-service for agency staff. Contact us for more information and to schedule.


No prior experience, education or training is required. Instruction is conducted in English with some Spanish materials (Spanish instructor and course manual can be provided if requested). Professions who will benefit from this training are:

  • Home visitors working with mothers and infants
  • OB/GYN or Pediatric Medical Assistants
  • WIC Nutrition Workers
  • Perinatal Case Managers & Coordinators
  • Parent Coaches
  • Family Health Advocates (FHAs)
  • Early Childhood Intervention Specialists
  • Infant Mental Health Specialists
  • Promatoras de Salud/Community Health Workers
  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
  • Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs)
  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
  • Home Health Aides (HHAs)
  • Students of maternal-newborn nursing, midwifery, public health, medicine, psychology
  • Pre-School Teachers, Nannies & Babysitters
  • LCSWs/MFTs or Interns working with pregnant and new mothers
  • Health Educators
  • Childbirth Doulas
  • Midwife Assistants or Midwifery Students



Regular Tuition: $725.00.00 includes materials (extra fee for paper materials; PDF-version materials offered at no charge) and certification upon completion of requirements. Due one week prior to the course.

Deposit for Payment Plan: $100.00 deposit to register. Contact Carla.Michael@motherbabysupport to make payment arrangements. 

Early Bird Special: $625.00 Register 4 weeks prior to course.

Group Discounts: $550.00 per person for 4-10 persons registering together as a group from one agency (or 4 friends registering together).

Scholarships: We offer two half-scholarships ($325.00) each training for low-income BIPOC persons. Please contact Carla.Micheal@motherbabysupport for application and interview.


Participants must attend all sessions for the entire time, participate in class discussions, skill demonstrations, role-play exercises, and experiential exercises.

Within one WEEK, participants will:

  • Complete take-home, open-book written exam. Must score 80% to pass. May retake the exam one time if the score is lower than 80%.

Within one YEAR, participants will:

  • Complete and Infant CPR course and submit proof of certification.
  • Compile a Community Resource List for Families.
  • Assist 3 families in the postpartum period and submit 3 parent evaluations and 3 self-reports.

Re-certification is annual. $50 re-certification fee plus proof of attendance at a continuing education course must be submitted. If requirements are not met within 12 months of course, there will be an administrative charge of $100.00.


  1.    The Postpartum Doula as Member of the Maternity Care Team
  2.     Addressing Barriers to Breastfeeding:  Historical, social, political and personal reasons why women don’t breastfeed
  3.     Benefits of Breastfeeding: Mothers, Infants, Fathers & Society
  4.     Recommendations & Initiatives
  5.     Communication skills: The Three Step Strategy
  6.     Basics Anatomy and Physiology of Lactation
  7.     Nutritional Components of Breastmilk
  8.     Benefits of Exclusive Breastfeeding  
  9.     Getting Moms Started Breastfeeding
  10.     Common problems of breastfeeding and parenting the growing baby
  11.     Promoting Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) 
  12.     SIDS Prevention & Safe Co-Sleeping Guidelines
  13.    The Impact of Childbirth Interventions on Breastfeeding
  14.     Normal and abnormal adjustments to motherhood in the postpartum woman
  15.     Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Identification & Referral
  16.     Promoting Informed Consent & Refusal in Postpartum & Newborn Care
  17.     The newborn Behavior States
  18.     Newborn Appearance
  19.     Newborn Medical Procedures
  20.     Physical care and emotional support of postpartum women
  21.     Helping Clients Cope with Perinatal Loss and Birth Trauma
  22.     Newborn care and soothing methods
  23.     Diapering, Swaddling, Bathing the Newborn 
  24.     Child Development: The First Year
  25.     Attachment Theory Basics & Promoting Parent-Infant Attachment
  26.     Trauma-Informed Maternal & Infant Mental Health
  27.     The Postpartum Doula’s role in helping clients become a family.
  28.     Perinatal Health Justice 



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

CordeliaCordelia Hanna has been working in the field of maternity care for over 30 years. She 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 indigenous health promoters– breastfeeding peer counselors and doulas and community midwives– to address ethnic health disparities such as low rates of breastfeeding, high rates of prematurity cesarean section, and maternal and infant mortality occurring in communities of color.  Cordelia thinks about maternal-child health globally and acts locally. Cordelia worked as a Perinatal Health Educator and Promoter 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, along with her mentor and collaborator the late Ms. Geraldine Perry-Williams, PHN, MSN, CD, CLE, LCCE, 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 and cesarean section 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 county regions with the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality due to negative social determinants of health.

Cordelia is a mother of two home-born, breastfed, and family-bedded children who are now bright and capable young adults. She is a grandmother of two granddaughters and a grandson. Her life partner is from Ghana, West Africa, and they enjoy an international lifestyle spanning two continents.

Carla Michael, MSW, CD, CPD, CLE, CPYT, CCE, Student Midwife – Co-Course Leader (English Course)
Carla Michael

Carla Michael is an advocate for maternal and child health and a multifaceted professional with a deep-rooted commitment to addressing disparities in healthcare. With a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her work.
In addition to her MSW, Carla holds several certifications and qualifications that make her a well-rounded expert in her field. As a Full Circle Doula, she’s passionate about providing holistic support to expectant mothers during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Her dedication to empowering women during this transformative journey is further exemplified by her certification as a certified lactation education specialist, ensuring that mothers receive the guidance and resources they need for successful breastfeeding.
A registered yoga teacher, Carla recognizes the importance of physical and mental well-being during pregnancy and beyond. Her yoga expertise allows her to offer valuable guidance on maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle, which is especially crucial for expectant mothers.
Carla’s journey towards becoming a midwife reflects her unwavering commitment to addressing healthcare disparities. With a keen focus on maternal and child health, she’s working tirelessly to make childbirth a safer and more equitable experience, particularly for Black mothers and babies.
As a mother of three, Carla brings a personal perspective to her advocacy efforts. Her own experiences have fueled her dedication to creating a world where every Black family has access to the care and support, they deserve.
Her involvement with initiatives like AAIMM (African American Infant and Maternal Mortality) of Los Angeles County demonstrates her commitment to addressing racial disparities and promoting equitable healthcare. Through her work and passion, Carla is making a significant impact in the field of maternal and child health, ensuring that every mother and baby has the opportunity to thrive.

Carla is Manager of our Community and Professional Education and is Program Director, Generating African American Infant and Nurturers’ Survival Initiative (GAAINS) Postpartum Doula Program. Carla co-teaches our professional trainings coordinates our scholarship and certification programs and community perinatal health education classes for expectant parents. She 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. 3 or Email:


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.