Join the ranks of the most respected and accepted birth doulas in the world. Become a DONA certified birth doula.

Why is DONA International the “gold standard” in doula training and certification? Because DONA was founded by leaders in the field of birth, postpartum, physiology, psychology, public health and parenting, and those leaders conducted the original research into the value of having a supportive companion in the birth room, solely to care for the birthing person. And DONA International continues to lead the world in the number of certified and member doulas and by being a non-profit organization with the mission to promote high quality birth and postpartum support by setting the standard for the doula profession through evidence-based training and certification for doulas of diverse backgrounds.

Sunday Tortelli has trained nearly a thousand doulas in Ohio and surrounding states since 1997. Her workshops have a reputation for being a warm and welcoming space where we explore the intricacies of birth work. Filled with evidence-based information, hands-on practice, group engagement, lively discussion, enthusiasm, compassion, humor and lots of storytelling, participants leave with a sense of purpose and an appreciation for their own doula heart.

2019 Workshops Scheduled in Cleveland, Ohio

  • August 24 and 25, 2019 — DONA approved birth doula workshop

    • August 23 — Optional prerequisite courses

      • Introduction to Childbirth for Doulas

      • Breastfeeding for Doulas

  • December 7 and 8, 2019 — DONA approved birth doula workshop

    • December 6 — Optional prerequisite courses

      • Introduction to Childbirth for Doulas

      • Breastfeeding for Doulas

What the birth doula workshop and optional prerequisite courses cover

  • Day One —Introduction to Childbirth for Doulas Prerequisite Course

    • The third trimester of pregnancy and fetal development

    • The stages and phases of normal labor and birth

    • Labor coping techniques

    • Variations in labors

    • Cesarean section

    • The newborn’s first hour

  • Evening One — Breastfeeding for Doulas Prerequisite Course

    • The benefits of breastfeeding

    • Anatomy and physiology

    • The infant’s contribution — readiness and reflexes

    • Breastfeeding positions and latch

    • Early breastfeeding challenges

  • Days Two and Three — DONA Approved Birth Doula Training Workshop

    • The significance of birth to birthing people and their families

    • The role of the birth doula with the client and family before, during and after the birth

    • The benefits of continuous support by a birth doula on obstetrical and psychological outcomes, based on the research

    • The emotional and physical needs of birthing people and their partners

    • Comfort measures and optimal birth positions

    • How to know if the client is or is not coping well

    • The birth doula’s role when the client has an epidural

    • The birth doula’s role when the client has a cesarean

    • The DONA International Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics

    • The process for DONA International certification

Sunday was really an amazing teacher. It is so easy to see why she is so loved and respected in the doula community! I will carry her teachings and her spirit with me always!
— June 2018 Workshop Participant


  • Two-day birth doula workshop

    • $475

      • $375 — save $100 by registering more than one (1) month in advance

  • One-day introduction to childbirth for doulas course (optional prerequisite course)

    • $100

  • Three-hour breastfeeding for doulas course (optional prerequisite course)

    • $50

  • One partial scholarship per workshop is offered through the Birth Workers of Color Grand Challenge. See the details for The Doula Experience scholarship on that website. Applications must be received no later than six weeks in advance of a scheduled workshop.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be received at least two (2) weeks in advance of a scheduled workshop to receive a refund minus a $100 processing fee. No refunds will be issued after that time. A registration may be transferred to a future workshop within one (1) calendar year for a $100 processing fee. If The Doula Experience must cancel a workshop, you will receive a full refund.

Register to Attend in the Online Store

Preparing to Attend

Prior to attendance, it is your responsibility to

  • Read the DONA International Birth and Postpartum Position Papers

  • Read “The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and Other Labor Companions,” 5th edition by Penny Simkin

  • Read one of the following books from Group 1 of the DONA International Required Reading List

    • “The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth,” 3rd edition by Marshall and Phyllis Klaus

    • "Birth Ambassadors: Doulas and the Re-Emergence of Woman-Supported Birth in America" by Christine H. Morton with Elaine G. Clift

  • Come to the birth doula workshop with a basic understanding of late pregnancy issues, typical medical interventions, the labor and birth process, the immediate postpartum period, initiation of breastfeeding and common postpartum circumstances. These topics are addressed in your required reading and are covered in the optional prerequisite courses.

Additional details

  • Workshop schedule

    • Day one — Introduction to Childbirth for Doulas — 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

    • Day one — Breastfeeding Course for Doulas — 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

    • Day two — Birth Doula Workshop — 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

    • Day three — Birth Doula Workshop (continued) 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

  • Location

    • Cleveland, Ohio area workshops are held at Southwest General Health Center Main Campus in Middleburg Heights.

    • This workshop is available for scheduling at other locations. Inquire about availability.

  • Breastfeeding infants-in-arms up to four (4) months of age who are non-mobile and easily soothed are welcome to attend with their mothers. As an alternative, caregivers may bring a nursing baby to her/his mother periodically. Mothers with babies are expected to be considerate of the learning experience of other participants.

  • Snacks and cold beverages are provided each day. Lunch and dinner are on your own.

  • Attendance at the intensive two-day birth doula workshop and either or both of the optional prerequisite courses you choose to attend constitutes one step in the process of DONA birth doula certification.


Ongoing Support

As a participant in The Doula Experience birth doula training workshop, you will receive ongoing support and mentoring from Sunday Tortelli as you begin your new career and work toward DONA International certification. You will be invited to join a closed Facebook group to engage with others from your workshop and those in recent past workshops, and to learn of potential client opportunities. DONA International offers DONA Connect, a communication forum exclusively for DONA members. Sunday is always available through The Doula Experience closed Facebook page, by email or by phone and looks forward to answering your questions, encouraging you and helping you process your doula experiences.


DONA-Approved Birth Doula Workshop

This two-day workshop is for anyone interested in assisting birthing families to have satisfying experiences. It utilizes texts and supplementary literature, videos, slides, small group activities, hands-on practice and role play to develop theoretical knowledge and practical skills as a birth doula. Attendance constitutes one step in the process to become a DONA certified birth doula.

Investment: $475 regular registration -or- discounted to $375 when registering more than one month in advance

Introduction to Childbirth for Doulas Course

The optional one-day course is offered the day prior to the DONA-Approved Birth Doula Workshop to satisfy the childbirth class observation certification requirement for those who are not childbirth educators, nurses with labor and delivery experience, midwives or midwifery students.

Investment: $100


Breastfeeding for Doulas Course

This optional three-hour course is offered the evening prior to the DONA-Approved Birth Doula Workshop to satisfy the breastfeeding class attendance certification requirement for those who are not lactation counselors, lactation educators, lactation consultants, breastfeeding peer counselors or La Leche League leaders.

Investment: $50

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DONA Certification Infographic

A visual overview of the steps to DONA certification