Trainer-Led Online Doula Training


Our online courses are incredibly special and dear to our hearts, we love connecting with woman all over the world and sharing the beauty of birth and the power of holding space for mothers and babies during this transformational time.

Each time we run one we are in awe of women’s capacity to build community as well as the pure magic that arises when women sit in circle together, even a virtual circle!

Our online Doula Training course runs over 8 weeks and includes weekly live sessions (approx 2.5hrs) every Wednesday at 17h30 (UTC+02:00).

In addition to attending the weekly live sessions, students work through the course content to complete practical, experiential and written exercises.

This is not a self-study course. Our trainer-led courses only run at certain times of the year. Please e-mail Amy to enquire about the next available dates.

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The course fee includes:

  • Access to our comprehensive course content via our online learning platform
  • 20+ Hours of live training plus additional video lectures
  • Weekly practical, experiential and written exercises to complete

Course Breakdown:

Module 1

  • Spacious stillness
  • What is a doula?
  • Mama Bamba Ethics and Standards of Practice
  • Significance of birth & its long-term impact
  • Physiology of labour & hormones of labour
  • Doula’s role in the various stages of labour
  • Becoming calm and centered
  • Guiding your clients in releasing resistance
  • Techniques for emotional care

Module 2

  • Hospitals and how to negotiate the space
  • The birth partner’s role
  • A doula’s role in difficult labours and informed decision making
  • C-section & VBAC
  • Listening skills

Module 3

  • Sacred birth and the incoming soul
  • Newborn care
  • An introduction to breastfeeding
  • Postnatal care
  • PPMD

Module 4

  • Cultural competency
  • Sexual abuse
  • Death & grief

Module 5

  • The business of being a doula
  • Prenatal care and birth plans
  • Looking after the doula
  • Post course support
  • Review, closing & feedback

Certification Requirements:

  1. Attend the Mama Bamba training course.
  2. Previous experience and training is not a prerequisite for attending the course,
    however a passionate interest in supporting positives births for all women is.
  3. Read The Mama Bamba Way: The power and pleasure of natural childbirth by
    Robyn Sheldon prior to the course.
  4. Certification must be completed within three (3) years of attending the birth doula
  5. Provide doula service to a minimum of four clients.
  6. The births documented must meet the following criteria:
    a) They occur after you attend day 4 (or completed Module 2) of the Mama
    Bamba workshop.
    b) Labor support must begin before or at the onset of the active phase of labor.
    For certification purposes, active labor will be considered 4 centimeters.
    a) Only one of these four births may be a cesarean section.
    c) A minimum of two certification births need to be with clients whom you have
    formed a prenatal relationship with and supported from at least 36 weeks in
    their pregnancy.
    d) The births combined must have the doula present for a minimum of 24 hours
    total (min 6hrs per birth)
    e) Your presence as the birth doula must be continuous.
    f) You must remain for the birth of the baby to provide immediate postpartum
    support. When possible stay for 2hrs post partum.
  7. Document the four births for which you provide labor support with:
    b) Mama Bamba Summary of Labor and Birth (pdf)
    c) A 500-700 word account of each birth
    d) Client Confidentiality Release Form (pdf)
    e) Provide good Evaluations (pdf) of your doula services from the client and service provider.
  8. Proof of completion of lactation consultant, breastfeeding peer counselor or community breastfeeding educator training done with an IBCLC trainer.
    Proof of completion of an online study program. Lactation Education Resources offers a basic, “Complete Self-Learning Program” that is affordably priced.
  9. An essay on the value and purpose of labor support (500-1000 words).
  10. A complete resource list for clients. Add to the list on Dropbox with relevant practitioners or resources if in Cape town or Gauteng. If you live elsewhere ask for the raw list of categories and fill them in for your area. Only add people who you know to be amazing!
  11. Complete the required reading.
  12. Students training through our online course will need to complete the course checklist and submit all required course assignments.
  13. Maintain your affiliation with Mama Bamba by paying your annual membership fees. Fees are due in March each year and will be invoiced pro-rata after completion of training days.

    On submission of above-mentioned documents for certification a R750 certification fee will be payable.

Required reading list for Doula Certification

  • Mama Bamba Doula Manuals
  • The Mama Bamba Way. Robyn Sheldon
  • The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help you Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth by Marshall and Phyllis Klaus (2012, or later)
  • The Basic Needs of a Woman in Labour. Ruth Ehrhardt
    • Breastfeed Your Baby. Marie-Louise Steyn IBCLC. Metz Press

You need to read at least three (3) of the most recently published editions of the books below:

Pregnancy & birth preparation

  • The New Pregnancy & Childbirth: Choices and Challenges by Sheila Kitzinger (2011, or later)
  • Understanding the Critical Period Between Conception and the First Birthday. Odent, Michel, MD. Primal Health
  • Birthing From Within. Pam England
  • The Gentle Birth Method. Gowrie Metha
  • The Fertility Handbook. James Schwartz
  • The Secret Life of the Unborn Child. Verney, Thomas with John Kelly.
  • Spiritual Midwifery. Ina May Gaskin
  • The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin (2013, or later)
  • The Labour Progress Handbook. Simkin and Ancheta
  • Optimal Care in Childbirth: the Case for a Physiologic Approach by Henci Goer and Amy Romano (2012, or later)
  • An Easier Childbirth: a Mother’s Guide to Birthing Normally by Gayle Peterson (2008, or later)
  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin (2008, or later)
  • Heart and Hands. Elizabeth Davis. Celestial Arts
  • Natural Hospital Birth: the Best of Both Worlds by Cynthia Gabriel (2011, or later)
  • Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. Buckley, Dr. Sarah J.
  • The Silent Knife. Nancy Weiner Cohen
  • Birth Without Violence. Frederick Leboyer
  • Preparing for a Gentle Birth by Blandine Calais-Germain & Nura Vives Pares

The newborn, breastfeeding & parenting

  • The Baby Book by William Sears
  • Dr Jack Newman’s guide to Breastfeeding: The Canadian Expert Offers the most up to date advice on every aspect of Breastfeeding. Jack Newman & Teresa pitman (2015, or later)
  • Raising a son. Don Elium
  • Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives: A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. Chopra, Deepak.
  • Parenting from the Inside Out. Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell
  • Why Love Matters. How Affection shapes a Baby’s Brain. Sue Gerhardt
  • Liberated Parents, Liberated Children. Mazlish and Faber
  • The Continuum Concept. Jean Liedloff

Emotional challenges

  • When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women. Penny Simkin, Phyllis Klaus
  • This Isn’t What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression by Karen Kleiman and Valerie Davis Raskin (2013, or later)
  • The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett (2005, or later)
  • Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth by Walker 
Karraa (2014, or later)
  • Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: A Self-Help Guide by Pacific Postpartum Support (2014, or later)
  • Invisible Earthquake. Malika Ndlovu
  • Waking the Tiger. Peter A Levine
  • Necessary Losses. Judith Viorst
  • The Light Inside the Dark. John Tarrant


  • The Doula Business Guide: Creating a Successful MotherBaby Business by Patty Brennan (2014, or later)
  • Doula Programs: How to Start and Run a Private or Hospital-Based Program with Success! by Paulina Perez with Deaun Thelen (2010, or later)
  • Body of Work: Finding The Thread That Binds Your Story Together by Pamela Slim (2013, or later)

Developing the heart

  • The Scientification of Love. Michel Odent
  • The Wise Heart. Jack Kornfield.
  • Everyday Blessings. Jon and Myla Kabat Zinn
  • The Miracle of Mindfulness. Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are. Jon Kabat Zinn
  • Time to Think. Nancy Kline

Women’s health

  • Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. The Boston Women’s Health Collective
  • Goddess in Everywoman. Jean Shinada Bolen
  • The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions and Restoring your Vitality by Kimberly Ann Johnson
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