Doulas in Training

SF Bay Area
Editors' Notes: 

Doulas in training may offer free doula services during their training process.  BPN accepts announcements from doulas in training for no cost - see "Subscribing to BPN as a Doula" for more information.

Parent Q&A

  • Searching for low-cost Doula-in-training

    (4 replies)

    Searching for a group of available doula’s in training for July birth. I’ve had friends use student doulas before and had great experiences. I’m not impressed with the advanced ones I’ve interviewed so far due to my own professional background and their cost.


    We ended up going with someone else who we felt a stronger connection to but interviewed Elyse Ucker (elyseschroeder1 [at] who is lovely and just now building her practice and offers rates accordingly. You might want to reach out to her. 

    Hilary Seamans out of Berkeley is the best I hear. if you do a google search on here it should come up

    Birthways in Berkeley has a list serve of doulas in training. You can contact them through their website. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Using a doula in training

May 2013

Hello: Has anyone out there used a doula in training? I would like to use a doula for the birth of our first child in July, but financial constraints prevent us from hiring one. I am considering using one of Carol Shattuck-Rice's doulas in training. The scenario would likely consist of us being assisted by one doula in training who has delivered her own child but never attended someone else's birth, who will be accompanied by another doula in training who has attended half a dozen births and is a nurse. We are also using Lindy Johnson as our midwife (love her!) and will deliver at Alta Bates. Thoughts on this versus asking a friend to be a support person? anonymous

A doula is a great support person during labor, and while her experience with other births can and will give her more tools overall, a doula in training will also be great! Your best way to find a good doula is to find someone you click with. If you click with this one, you're in good hands! She's been trained, and birthed her own child and that will serve her well. I say go for it! Congratulations on your baby. Doula too

Your questions about doulas are really good ones. I am a trained (but non-practicing) midwife and also a mother. From what I have experienced both personally and professionally it is ideal to have a birthing support person who does not have an emotional stake in your birth, which a close friend of yours would. Of course, any doula is in the line of work she is in because she is passionate about birth, but you want someone who is able to integrate her passions with her ability to see the whole picture and advocate for you and support you and your partner. Additionally, your doula is contracted to be available to you and logistics can get tricky with friends who have other priorities and familial obligations. My personal opinion is that a doula in training accompanied by a more experienced doula will be a great combination, especially because the latter has nursing experience. One thing I would advise looking for in your doula, whoever she ends up being and regardless of her training, is her strong ability to communicate and to advocate. Since you have a midwife for the actual birth you won't need an advocate the same way you might if you just had an OB (all depending on your birthing preferences, of course). So just make sure you feel confident in your doula as a person and that communication between all of you is good. All of this to say, the team of support you are considering sounds like a solid team to me. Jeannie

I think a Doula in training along with another experienced Doula and a Midwife sounds like a great combination of support! Whether someone has decades of experience as a Doula or just a few months, it is what drives someone to be a Doula that makes them your support team. Even a Doula in training would be supportive, compassionate, knowledgable and helpful. It is a loving touch, a simple encouragement or even a look in your eye that you'll need during your labor. I say go for it! And happy pushing! Pro-doula