training and certification

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of being part of a woman’s birth! As a birth doula you’ll support a woman through her pregnancy, labor and the first few days after her birth. This comprehensive birth doula training and certification program will cover everything you need to know to have the confidence and skills to accompany women on this journey.

Being a birth doula is so much more than just rubbing a woman’s back during labor. Most of the hard work is done well before labor ever starts. Choosing the right caregiver, preparing physically and emotionally for the arrival of a baby, dealing with unexpected events – all of these are things that a doula can help with. At CBI, we make sure you have a thorough grounding in all these areas and more. With ongoing support and guidance from your trainer, a strong focus on communication skills, physiology and birth doula skills, and everything you need to know about starting or growing your business, you’ll have the confidence and skills to provide the very best support to pregnant and birthing women.

As with all our training programs, during your doula training you’ll have access to a worldwide network of other birth doulas and trainers. Whether you need tips on finding clients, how to help a specific client problem, or ideas for balancing your work and personal life, you’ll find support and guidance. This support will continue even after you finish your training!

Want to see how CBI compares to other training organizations? Download our comparison chart here.

Already an experienced birth doula or a health professional? Take a look at our certification pathways for experienced birth doulas, medical doctors, midwives and obstetric nurses.

Certification: Certified Birth Doula (CBD)

Duration: 4-7 months

Time Limit: None

Refunds: Full refund within 2 days, less administration fee ($50)

One Payment: US$630 (printed manuals + online access)

Green Option: US$600 (online only – no shipping)

Five Installments: US$131 per month (printed manuals + online access) or US$125 per month (online only)

Payment plans (5 installments) include an administration fee of $5 per month.

  • Reflective Practice Assignment
  • Physiology exams (online, open book)
  • Birth evaluations for 2 clients
  • Childbirth class survey
  • Book reviews for 3 books
  • Module evaluations

When I was thinking about where to certify, I spoke with every doula I know. I also asked some doula friends of mine to ask THEIR friends. I kept hearing, "I certified with xxx but then I switched to Childbirth International" "I wish I had just gone to CBI from the beginning. With CBI I feel so much more prepared." I heard that phrase over and over, "CBI really prepares you", "CBI does a better job of making sure you are prepared", "with CBI you'll be more prepared."

Brandy, Alabama, USA

I really enjoyed the thoroughness of the information - it was great to get stuck into the study and really feel like you were gaining good background knowledge for all aspects of working as a doula. The course material was also very well presented and the website very easy to navigate. Very prompt replies to questions. Good, honest, constructive feedback and help.

Tracie, QLD, Australia

I was amazed by my own personal growth and understanding that occurred during my training. This course goes beyond the common approach to a Doula certification. Bravo! My experience with CBI has been a truly life changing event! Thank you!

Kathy, Wisconsin, USA

I have enjoyed so much about this course. I have always had a great interest in labour and birth, and medical things. But the greatest thing was that eventually on my third birth, I had the labour and birth that I truly wanted, and needed, and that was all down to completing this course. I was able to give myself the support I yearned for and had a completely natural labour and birth in 3 hours with no medical intervention. I now feel a stronger woman for doing this and for the first time I do not have postnatal depression.

Eleanor, UK

This training has opened my eyes to a completely new way to birth. I have always loved and been passionate about birth, but it was from the medical model. I have learned so many new ideas and techniques from this course. It has led me to consider new ideas that I have never thought of. I have had to change some of my basic beliefs about what is the safest and best way to birth a baby. I am so thankful that I had this experience. My trainer provided excellent feedback and challenged me to think about what I have written, dig deeper and research more. She always asked good questions. She was very positive, supportive and prompt. Thanks for a great course and the great support. I would recommend your course to anyone who is passionate about childbirth.

Trena, Taiwan (Registered Nurse)

Five Payments

US$ 131

per month for 5 monthsPay over five easy monthly installments with online access immediately and paper manuals sent to you when the final payment is made.

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One Paymentmost popular

US$ 630

single paymentPay one single payment and receive your paper manuals as well as online access through the student website.

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Green Option

$ 600

one paymentBe gentle on the environment! Complete your course online and save money and trees! The Green Option is also available in monthly installments.

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Course Syllabus

No other doula course covers the same depth of topics as you’ll cover with Childbirth International. As well as the skills required for a Birth Doula, we also focus on strengthening your knowledge base of pregnancy and birth, developing communication skills, and building or growing your business.

During your training you’ll cover four main topic areas:

  • Communication Skills
  • Physiology of Pregnancy, Labor, Birth and early Postpartum
  • Birth Doula Skills
  • Business of Birth Skills

Click on a topic area below to find out more. If you’d like to read the full syllabus, you can download the information pack.

Communication Skills

Enhance your communication skills, enabling you to build strong relationships with clients and caregivers alike. Many of you will work as doulas in challenging environments. During the course you’ll explore these challenges and develop skills in building relationships with caregivers, without compromising your professionalism or your client’s wishes.

At the heart of every CBI training and certification program is reflective practice. But what exactly is “reflective practice”?

At its simplest, reflective practice is looking at what you’ve done, or didn’t do, and reflecting on it. In relation to CBI training, though, it’s so much more. Reflective practice is about examining choices and decisions, considering them from different perspectives, thinking about alternatives, learning from them, and then applying that learning to your work. It demonstrates best practice in continuing education, increases confidence and professionalism. It’s an incredibly valuable skill that you can pass on to your clients and help them to assimilate their experiences.

All CBI training programs have an ongoing reflective practice focus. In every assignment you submit, this will be evaluated by your trainer. She’ll give you feedback on this aspect and help you to see your own growth in this area. You’ll be encouraged to reflect on the language you use, your participation in discussions and how you approach every aspect of your work.

At the end of this module you’ll write a reflective essay that will be reviewed by your trainer who’ll provide feedback and assessment.

Topics in Communication Skills
  • effective communication
  • language and communication
  • active listening skills
  • reflective practice and debriefing
  • diversity and cultural competency
  • evidence-based care and informed choice
  • grief and loss

Physiology of Pregnancy, Labor and Birth

Gain a thorough understanding of the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum period. All student materials are focused on evidence-based care. Evidence-based means the care of women during pregnancy and birth that is based on sound research. The opinions and thoughts of experts on pregnancy and birth are referred to throughout your student manuals – it’s important to hear the views of others in the field to build your own knowledge base. At the end of this module you’ll complete the online, open-book tests to assess your learning. You’ll also submit a reflective evaluation of the module that your trainer will review and assess.

Topics in Physiology
  • physiology in pregnancy
  • physiology in labor and birth
  • physiology after the birth
  • nutrition and exercise
  • pain in labor
  • management of labor
  • routine procedures during labor
  • cesarean and VBAC
  • introduction to lactation
  • prenatal testing and screening

Birth Doula Skills

Develop your hands-on skills as a Birth Doula, enabling you to provide the best care possible, and identify strategies for establishing and developing your business. Childbirth International has developed models and tools that can be used in your work as a doula. Many doulas become frustrated when women face obstacles to getting the births they want. In this module you’ll learn the skills necessary to help women overcome these obstacles and techniques for helping them through their birth, no matter how challenging it is. The strong focus on understanding perspective is a core component of the Childbirth International doula training program. You’ll learn how to use these models and tools to enhance your relationships with clients and caregivers, and increase your enjoyment in your work. Assessments for this module include three book reviews, a survey, two birth evaluations and your reflective evaluation of the module.

Topics in Birth Doula Skills
  • recognizing perspectives on birth
  • support and care during labor
  • complementary therapies
  • birth plans
  • debriefing previous births
  • the doula role at a homebirth
  • the doula role during an epidural
  • the doula role during a cesarean
  • challenging births
  • positioning
  • supporting women in crisis
  • equipment, supplies and documentation
  • early postpartum support
  • legal and ethical issues
  • alternative ways of working

Business of Birth

The Business of Birth provides you with everything you need to know about starting up, or growing, your business. We take away the unknown and daunting parts of running a business and help you to develop strategies that will make your business successful. Throughout the module you’ll develop a comprehensive business plan that will be easy to complete. This is an optional module and does include any assignments. If you would like business mentorship with your trainer during this module you can add the mentorship option and she will give you guidance on your business plan and website/marketing materials.

Topics in Business of Birth
  • becoming a birth and parenting professional
  • determine your own personal and business goals
  • learn marketing strategies such as segmentation, targeting and positioning
  • develop a customer profile
  • analyze your competitors
  • determine your unique selling point
  • identify ways to broaden your products and services
  • develop your brand
  • learn the basics of website design
  • develop a social media strategy
  • determine your advertising approach
  • learn how to carry out financial analysis and avoid debt
  • understand the different options for a legal business structure
  • time management and ways to deal with work stresses
Birth doula training and certification