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

This information is subject to change 10/15/2020

The full cost of membership and certification can be broken down:

– Annual membership (for all doulas, certified, certifying, etc and must be renewed annually while certifying and to maintain certification status) $60/yr

– Certification packet purchase $35

– Certification packet processing fee, when turning in your completed certification packet for review $35

If you certify within a year of packet purchase, the total cost is $130 for the first year.

– Supporting membership – for non-birth doulas $45/yr

For new doulas:

– Pay for an annual membership and a certification packet (PALS members receive a 10% discount to the Birth Doula Skills Workshop at the Simkin Center!)

– Attend an approved training

– Complete requirements in the certification packet

– Submit completed certification packet with $35 processing fee

For experienced/currently certified DONA doulas: 

– Pay for an annual membership and a certification packet

– Complete requirements in the certification packet

– Submit completed certification packet with $35 processing fee

How long does it take to get certified?

Generally certification can take anywhere from a few months to a year from start to finish. You will work at your own pace on the certification requirements, so the speed at which you finish really depends on the time you make available to get it done. The piece that tends to take longest for doulas is attending qualifying births.

If you need assistance or accomodation with your certification packet, please talk to your mentor or the certification chair.

– Certified doulas receive Referrals are received from emails and phone calls that come directly to PALS and are passed first to certified then certifying doulas. 

– Certified and certifying doulas (in our mentorship program) 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.

– allows you to create a profile for expectant families to view.

– Doulas within PALS may also receive referrals from several local organizations and facilities seeking sliding scale/low-cost/probono doulas for their clients. Please let our mentor lead know if you would like to be added to this referral system.

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