Postpartum Doula Training

The Simkin Center at Bastyr University offers multiple Postpartum Doula Training Workshops throughout the year. The workshop covers many aspects of postpartum care, including new mother care and new baby care. Those who complete the course can begin the process of becoming DONA International-certified postpartum doulas. Length of workshop: four days.
Campus: Kenmore, Washington


What is a Postpartum Doula?

The "fourth trimester," the period following birth, is often the most challenging and overlooked period in the transition to parenthood. Many new families in our society lack the continuity of care they need following the birth of their baby.

The postpartum doula helps meet this need by educating, nurturing and empowering mothers and families toward confidence in their new roles. Doulas may provide assistance with breastfeeding, newborn and mother care, and housework. They also provide referrals to community resources as needed.

Training @ Simkin Center

The Simkin Center has played an integral role in developing the postpartum doula movement in the Northwest. Participants in our first classes in 1995 founded the Northwest Association for Postpartum Support (NAPS), a professional organization providing peer support, continuing education and referrals. The Postpartum Doula Training meets NAPS’ training standards for certification. To contact NAPS, send them an email or call (206) 956-1955.

In February 2004, our postpartum doula training workshop received approval by DONA International. Our training was the first in the western U.S. to be approved. DONA approval allows someone who completes the course to begin the process of becoming a DONA International-certified postpartum doula.

Workshop Description

The Simkin Center Postpartum Doula Training is a four-day course. The curriculum includes:

  • The role of the doula in supporting breastfeeding
  • Bottle feeding safety and techniques
  • Nurturing families with more than one infant
  • New mother care
  • New baby care
  • Listening and communication skills
  • Integrating the birth experience
  • The emotional transition of the new family
  • Ethical conduct of postpartum doulas
  • Business aspects of a doula practice
  • Prenatal contact
  • Postpartum mood disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Comforting touch for new mothers
  • Case scenarios - the doula's role
  • Comfort and care for new babies
  • Community resources

Required Reading (latest editions encouraged)

Recommended Reading (latest editions encouraged)

  • Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg 
  • Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott
  • Intentional Interviewing and Counseling: Facilitating Client Development in a Multi-Cultural Society by Allen Ivey and Mary Ivey
  • The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins


Two DONA-approved postpartum doula trainers (see Simkin Center faculty) lead each postpartum doula training.


Thursday, 2021
Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations
Gain postnatal competence, tools & capacity taught by a DONA International-approved trainer-Tracy McPhillips. Event dates: Thursday-Sunday, August 19-22, 8am-5:30pm PST (with several breaks in between). Due to Washington State and King County health advisory guidelines, we are offering this training virtually, via Zoom. Full tuition is $725. Registration for this class is closed. We are offering the same amazing training two more times this year. Scroll below for additional dates in 2021. If you have any questions about our trainings please call the Simkin Center at (425) 602-3361.
Tuesday, 2021
Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations
Gain postnatal competence, tools & capacity taught by a DONA International-approved trainer-Tracy McPhillips. This Postpartum Doula training will be hosted as a 5-week format (10 sessions) from September 21, 2021, to Oct 21, 2021, meeting on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:45pm-9:00pm (Pacific Standard Time). This workshop will be hosted as a live-remote training via ZOOM. The Postpartum Doula training consists of the same DONA approved curriculum as the traditional 4-day intensive but offers a more spread-out schedule for people who want more time to digest the material. Completion of this workshop meets the criteria for two requirements towards DONA International Certifications: (1) Postpartum Doula Workshop and (2) Breastfeeding/Chest feeding for Doulas. REGISTER NOW-Registration will close September 6 or sooner if we have reached max capacity. We do offer a Course Assistant position to provide technical support for the Zoom virtual classroom, and in exchange the Course Assistant would receive discounted tuition. Full tuition is $725. Participants will receive additional information, including login information once registered. For more information regarding this position as well as any other inquiries, please contact us at or call us at (425) 602-3361.

What Our Students Say

  • I feel with my life experience I will be able to [practice as a postpartum doula] with confidence [especially] with the added information about postpartum mental health and the business aspects [of doula practice].
  • You’ve opened my eyes in ways I never thought possible. This has really helped me for my new role as a grandmother!!
  • The Training was incredible! The healthy (physically/emotionally/mentally) attitude of instruction touches my heart. There is hope for this world, with all the wonderful trained doulas out there. One Mom at a time!
Request more Information Now accepting applications  for summer and fall  2020 Now accepting applications for summer and fall 2021