What does it take to become a doula?

Welcome! I’m so glad you found your way here. Being a birth doula is one of the most rewarding professions for those that are seeking a meaningful and fulfilling way to support themselves. 


Expectant and new families benefit from doulas in so many ways – and by helping to support a new family’s bond, you help the healing and love that families and our world needs more of today. 


The most common question I get asked from those considering becoming a doula is what are the steps to do so. I’m happy to break it down for you so that you can see all the steps to become a doula and the pathway for you to become certified.

Are you fascinated by birth?

First, you need to be fascinated with birth and postpartum and understand that you are there to support families on their journey. 


Next, find a doula training!


DONA International is one of the oldest and most respected Doula Organizations in the world. I’ve been a Birth and Postpartum Doula Trainer for most of my career, and I am honored to be a part of this exceptional organization. 


If you’d like to join me for a Birth or Postpartum Doula workshop, you can find upcoming dates here: https://www.orgasmicbirth.com/dona-birth-doula-training/


So you’ve decided to become a birth doula, and found a doula training – now what??


Once you’ve taken your birth doula training, you’ll be ready to start accepting clients, earning income, and working towards your DONA Birth Doula Certification. 


Certification is not required but recommended. As more reimbursements become available, and hospitals implement rules and regulations, being a certified doula will give you a leg up in finding clients. DONA also provides you with a free listing on their website so potential clients can find you. 


My breakdown below is just a summary of the requirements. Please note you will need to visit the DONA website and download their complete list for the specific requirements for each step.


"Debra has such a beautiful way of teaching. Through moving videos of her actual birth experiences, story telling, science and diverse perspective. It’s such a transformational experience."
Josie Hart
Founder of The Sweet Spot

If becoming a Certified Doula if your goal, here is what you’ll need to do:

  1. Read the Birth Partner by Penny Simkin (a prerequisite for the doula training)
  2. Take my Introduction to Childbirth and Birth Training (2 Certification Requirements)

This will complete your “in-person” requirements. The remaining requirements will be completed within 4 years of taking your workshop, and are done as self-study/on your own.

  1. Take a three hour Breastfeeding Course (DONA provides a link to a recommended course)

**My Eat Pray Doula Birth Doula Training also includes the Breastfeeding requirement 

  1. Take a Doula Business Course (provided by DONA for a fee)
  2. Work through the reading list (found here)

Prior to attending birth, purchase your Certification Packet which you will need to have in order for your births to count towards certification. The packet will be valid for 2 years from the date of purchase, with an optional 6-month extension for a fee. 

  1. Attend 3 certifying births (Certification births have certain requirements, you may need to attend more than 3 to fulfill this requirement) be sure to follow DONA’s guidelines for documentation of this birth, signed Confidentiality Release and get your evaluation from the client + provider
  2. Write about the Value of Doula Support 
  3. Compile your local resources
  4. Get 2 references – one from a client and one from a perinatal professional

All of these details and more, including the reading list and requirements, can be found on DONA’s website. 

"No amount of reading can replace being in community with other doulas and an instructor like Debra. Her warm way of teaching, personal anecdotes and wisdom shared will stick with me."

When I get to talk to people about Certification I always break it down like this:


Attend the Birth Doula workshop with me which includes the Introduction to Childbirth + Birth Doula Training. You’ll be so excited to continue your learning, so begin working your way through the reading list. Start reaching out and making connections with our local perinatal professionals to add to your resource list, and perhaps make connections to find clients. Begin attending births, and take the Business Webinar so you can learn how to become a professional doula. The breastfeeding class will be something you’ll be excited to take so that you can help your clients with their infant feeding goals the best way possible. Once you’ve completed your certification births, you’ll have an essay to write about the Value of Labor support, which you’ve now witnessed first hand. Your lovely client will be happy to write you a reference letter, and your amazon community connections will help you find a reference letter from a professional. 


Before you know it, you’ll have your packet complete and ready to mail so that you can become a certified doula!


Questions? Pop on over to DONA’s Certification page to learn more about each requirement. Visit their FAQs and view their guide. 


During our workshop together I will also go over and answer any questions you might have about Certification. You are not on your own on this journey!


"I came out of this training a new person. I have learned so much about birth, and even myself. Birth is such a beautiful thing that can be an amazing experience with having a knowledgeable doula by the mom to be side."
"Don’t miss the opportunity of celebrate life and soul in one dance with Debra on doulas.
She is magnificent."
-Mama Bear
"I HIGHLY recommend [Debra's workshop]! Such a well-rounded training, in such a warm, positive, and uplifting setting that brings out the sacredness and beauty of birth. I gained so much from it and feel it was foundational in my Doula training and practice. Was so much fun!