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San Diego County Midwives

Doula Training

With San Diego County Midwives

Birth Doula Training Workshop

Your trainers: Gerri Ryan, BDT (DONA) and Lisa Simpkins, IBCLC

During this DONA approved Birth Doula Training you will learn

  • in-depth labor support strategies,
  • the role of the doula within the medical framework,
  • guidelines for pre- and post-natal contact with your clients.

We use texts, videos, supplementary literature, slide and role-play to build your theoretical knowledge and teach practical skills.  You and your classmates will learn from each other as you share your own birth-related experiences and develop your doula skills together.

This workshop also includes Lactation for Doulas, a breastfeeding course which fulfills a DONA International requirement for certification.

Guest speakers may include doulas from the community who come to share their thoughts and experiences in setting up a practice and working as a doula.


Workshop Dates

Our 3-day workshops are in-person.

Class size is 13-16 students.  Students and instructors wear masks at all times.

3-Day Workshop

  • January 13-15, 2023

Weekend classes are Friday 1:30 PM to 6:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Register for Birth Doula Training

Class Schedule

Friday 1:30 PM to 6:00 PM

Introductions; Experience at Birth; Group Goal Setting; The Benefits of Birth Doulas; the Doula research; Dona Codes & Ethics and certification; the process of certification and initial client contact.

Saturday and Sunday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

The course content focuses on the physical and psychological processes associated with giving birth and the significance of childbirth in women’s lives. The special role of the doula in the prenatal period, during labor and delivery and during the postpartum period is covered in detail. Emphasis is placed on the importance of appropriate, culturally sensitive and ethical support.

Comfort measures are discussed and practiced with role-play and videos to enhance the learning process. Participants learn how to enable women and their partners to cope with both complicated and uncomplicated labors, including surgical birth. We have added a full breastfeeding portion, which covers DONA’s requirement for a 3-hour lactation class.

Workshop Preparation

I. If you are not one of the following:

  • Midwife
  • Nurse with labor & deliver experience
  • A childbirth educator
  • Currently a doula but desiring certification
  • Or VERY familiar with process of birth

Then please consider taking our Introduction to Childbirth class OR completing a childbirth education series (student observers are FREE) at a birthing facility or with a private birth educator.

II. In addition, please read the latest editions of the following texts before class:

  • Pregnancy, Childbirth & the Newborn, Simkin
  • The Doula Book, Klaus, Kennell, Klaus
  • The Birth Partner, Simkin

Breastfeeding Course – Lactation for Doulas

Our breastfeeding course is included in your weekend doula training and fulfills DONA’s requirement for a 3-hour lactation class.

Lactation for Doulas is designed to help the doula support their new families with breastfeeding.  We cover:

  • Anatomy and Physiology of Breastfeeding: Why it works, and understanding why early challenges occur despite the desire to breastfeed.
  • Latch/Position – including comfort for both mom and baby
    • Cue-based feeding
    • How do you know baby is getting enough?
  • Common Challenges in Breastfeeding:
    • Sore Nipples
    • Sleepy Baby, Fussy Baby
    • Engorgement
    • Mom/baby separation – need for pumping plan
    • Supply problems
  • Resources

Introduction to Childbirth Course

For those with NO knowledge of birth, and cannot observe a childbirth class series. This class is subject to cancellation if the minimum number of 2 students are not enrolled. This class is NOT required. The fee for this course is $150.

Registration Fee

The deadline for registration is Friday one week prior to the course. Walk-in registration (on a space-available basis) is possible for a fee.

The full Labor Course Registration fee is $475. You also have an option to make a $250 deposit with the balance due by the course. Please note that there is a $40 Late Fee for registrations made within 7 days prior to the course start date.

Gerri accepts payment via PayPal, Cash App, and check or money order payable to Gerri Ryan.  Please contact us if you would like to send a check/money order.

Cancellation Policy

We do not accept cancellations or issue refunds.

Students may defer their deposit for a one-time transfer toward a future doula training of your choice within 1 year of the previously booked training or you may designate a substitute to use your registration.

Register for Birth Doula Training

Student Survey Responses

Today, I liked . . .

“Interactive group talks, letting each person share thoughts.”

“I liked how kind and open everyone in the room was. Also how I learned something different from everyone there.”

“Getting to meet and hear everyone’s experiences and get to just be around people who are just as excited and passionate about becoming a doula.”

“I liked the step by step process laid out for the certification process.

“The first hand experiences Gerri and Lisa shared.”

Share an ah-ha moment you had today or something you noted that you don’t want to forget.

“I’ve been stressed about exactly what to say when difficult scenarios arise and the reflective listening discussion helped. I am really just helping the birthing person come up with her own solutions and I am not responsible for giving her the solution.”

“I realized with our drawings that intuitively I’ve always wanted a natural, home birth. Society showed me different and my fears to birth a child were born. At 34 now I see (with that exercise) that my intuition led me here to lay those fears to rest for good!”

“Move, use a shawl or robozo – amazing. Words matter and make a difference.”

“The more you respect a woman’s choice during her labor, she can remain calm and in control, making labor more relaxing.”

“I really loved learning more about breastfeeding and can’t wait to learn more! Also, learning how to better communicate with the clients.”

From the last two days, what session has had the biggest impact on you and your potential practice as doula?

“I loved walking through the techniques used in different stages of labor and also envisioning our perfect birth.”

“Biggest impact was the business section and having Care Messer’s input as well as the hands on activities. I felt like I was being well prepared for the career path.”

“Watching you guys support/interact in model birth scenes! The care and level of support is amazing! It shows what a doula truly should be.”

“The skin to skin section was extremely heartfelt. It was amazing to witness.”

“Breastfeeding, even though I’ve done it, I learned new things.”

More Student Testimonials

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We are offering Advanced Doula Training: Home Birth
This class is for doulas with at least 25 births and includes 11.5 contact hours of continuing education.