PALS Doulas is the original professional association of birth doulas in the Puget Sound region established in 1989. Our members are trained and experienced professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to expectant families. Research studies have found that a doula’s presence improves emotional and actual outcomes for laboring families. PALS Doulas has worked to increase education and the acceptance of doulas in labor rooms at area hospitals and with area birth providers. At present, PALS is nearly 200 members strong.
We are committed to fostering and supporting a community of professional certified doulas that recognizes and practices within a Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. We are locally as well as internationally recognized as a leading organization in the birth doula field. Certification is intended for doulas that value the process of peer evaluation, self-assessment, and local community. Certified and certifying PALS doulas are featured on our website, and are eligible for incoming referrals. PALS Doulas is NOT an employment/contractor agency. We hope you will join us and become a PALS Certified Doula!
Benefits available to Certified Doulas
ALL Certified/certifying doulas have access to the following benefits (unless otherwise indicated).
Certification and Referrals (aka The Professional Doula)
PALS Doulas is the ONLY 3rd party certifying organization (i.e. we do not offer a training, nor require you to take a specific organization’s curriculum). All certified and certifying doulas are asked to uphold the PALS Guiding Principles (Standards or Practice/Code of Ethics/Mission, Vision, and Values Statements). We currently offer four Pathways to Births opportunities with traditional certification (Effective 10/15/2020 there will be ONE pathway going forward for initial certification/re-certification, current packet holders will be grandfathered in through the end of their membership year). The Apprenticeship Pathway in which you attend prenatal visits, the birth, and postpartum visits with an experienced certified doula and one of their clients. The Mentored Pathway where you have phone support from an experienced doula while you attend a certifying birth for one of your clients. One mentored birth is included in the cost of your certification packet. The Experience Doula Pathway, for doulas who have been practicing for at least five years and have attended at least fifty birth, and the Dual Certification Pathway for doulas who are members in good standing with other certifying organization/hold a current certification. During the various certification pathways and after certification our members are listed on our website and may be featured in additional outreach and marketing to promote doulas to expectant families.
Monthly Doula Meetings (aka ‘community’)
PALS sponsors free monthly member meetings open to all perinatal professionals. Meetings are held in varying locations throughout the Greater Seattle area and alternate between evening times and mornings to be as accessible as possible. Topic specific content during monthly meetings counts for one hour of continuing education applicable to annual certification or re-certification. We explore many issues surrounding birth and labor support. Some of our past continuing education sessions have covered topics such as hypnotherapy in labor, breastfeeding in the workplace, adoption issues, working with non-English speaking clients, how to best support teen clients, etc. See our calendar page for dates and meeting locations. Certified and certifying doulas are encouraged to suggest/recommend/request specific topics or speakers.
Continuing Education (aka keep learning)
PALS Doulas sponsors several Advanced Doula Training (ADTs) annually. These are generally held at 3-4 month intervals throughout the year and are either full day or half day training. Past training and topics have included: use of the TENS unit, Rebozo workshops, “Perinatal Loss – When a Baby Dies”, “Working with Adoptive Parents”, and “Spinning Babies with Gail Tully.” PALS doulas also receive a discount on all Advanced Doula Training and may receive priority sign up as well as discounts through workshops offered via the Simkin Center at Bastyr. Contact PALS for more information and visit our calendar page for upcoming events, dates, and details.
Addition to our Facebook Group Page (aka more community)
PALS Doulas maintains a private Facebook group page; another place members can receive online support and have discussions.
Informational Brochures (aka ‘getting the word out)
Brochures describing PALS Doulas services are available to members at no charge. These brochures are also shared with providers and included in informational packets provided to expectant famlies through our partners at Great Starts-Parent Trust for Washington Families. Email us for more information.
Advertising (more of the above)
PALS Doulas offers supporting individuals and businesses the option to be featured on the website and advertise in the quarterly newsletter.
Copy Discount (aka ‘DISCOUNT!’)
PALS Doulas (certifying and certified) have access to a print and copy discount at Office Depot.
“Experiences have clearly shown that an approach which ‘de-medicalizes’ birth, restores dignity and humanity to the process of childbirth, and returns control to the birthing person is also the safest approach.” Michel Odent, MD
Frequently Asked Questions
- What training qualifies?
- How do I become a PALS Certified doula?
- What about an annual membership?
- How many births do I need to attend to certify?
- How long does the process take?
- How much does it cost?
- How do I get clients?
What training qualifies for PALS Certification?
PALS believes that doulas come to this work from all walks of life. This may be a formal classroom or online training, a community-based apprenticeship, or from elders in your community; PALS values the many ways that individuals learn and are taught.
For ALL doulas:
- Purchase a PALS Doulas Certification Guide
- Read through the PALS Doulas Guiding Principles (Values, Mission, Vision, Standards of Practice, and Code of Ethics
- Complete and submit the Application for Certification, Competency Assessment, a Letter of Recommendation (from a peer or family you have supported)
- Select your peer reviewer from the PALS Doulas Directory
- Attend 1 PALS Doulas event or meeting (within the past 12 months of the packet submission) and 1 birth (within the past 12 months of the packet submission)
- Recertification requires the same AND a minimum of 1 CEU focused on anti-racism, social justice, and/or equity issues
- Complete a certification interview
- Elements may be submitted as a written essay, video or audio recording, or during the face-to-face conversation
Annual membership is a no-cost added benefit included in the certification packet for all Professional Certified PALS Doulas
The PALS Doulas certification process requires attendance at 1 birth. By placing value on how individuals support families, and within a specified Standard of Practice (the doula ‘scope’), we are working to shift the perception that certification implies experience; rather that it embraces the way we support families.
How long does it take to get certified?
Each newly certifying doula is given 3 months to complete the packet. Doulas are able to certify within a few weeks purchasing the packet. We recommend purchasing your packet no more than one month prior to attending a birth.
If you need assistance or accommodation with your certification packet, please contact the Director of Certification
Annual certification: $150-$225/yr
Community Funded Scholarships
Same as Sustainer level +
We have built sustainability into PALS Doulas by reducing barriers and access to certification for doulas who wish to credential with PALS.
Individuals may be funded at
– Certified doulas receive Referrals are received from emails and phone calls that come directly to PALS and are passed first to certified and certifying doulas.
– Certified and certifying doulas have profiles on our website for people who come directly to our website with contact information.
– Networking is the best way to connect with doulas at PALS and other birth professionals. Becoming a back-up is a great way to gain experience.
– www.doulamatch.net allows you to create a profile for expectant families to view (*This will become a certified doula benefit in 2021)
– Doulas within PALS may also receive referrals from several local organizations and facilities seeking sliding scale/low-cost/pro bono doulas for their clients.