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. We hope you will join us and become a PALS Certified Doula!

Member Benefits

ALL members have access to the following benefits.

Certification and Referrals (aka The Professional Doula)

PALS Doulas offers certification to its members. After completion of a PALS-approved birth doula training, members are encouraged to apply for certification. For certification, you must submit three births for evaluation. We currently offer four Pathways to Births opportunities with traditional certification. 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 DONA and currently certified. 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 every month. Meetings are held in varying locations throughout the Greater Seattle area and alternate between evening times and mornings to be as accessible as possible. Monthly Member Meetings count for one hour of continuing education toward 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, and many other areas of interest to doulas and their clients. See our calendar page for dates and meeting locations.


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 members receive a discount on all Advanced Doula Trainings 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.

Membership in 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. Email us for more information.

Advertising (more of the above)

PALS Doulas supporting members have the option to be featured on the website and advertise in the quarterly newsletter.

Copy Discount (aka ‘DISCOUNT!’)

PALS Doulas members 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

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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