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Birth Doulas

This page includes information on the following:
  • THW Birth Doula Certification and Recertification Requirements
  • Resources for Completing State Certification
  • Application and Approval Process
  • Standards of Professional Conduct

Birth Doula Certification and Recertification Requirements

In order to become an Oregon State Certified Traditional Health Worker (THW) Birth Doula to be able to serve Oregon Health Plan members and be reimbursed for those services, you must complete the requirements below plus the application and approval process.

“Equivalent credit” means an individual has fulfilled the requirements by completing a comparable course or combination of courses through a nationally or internationally recognized doula certification organization. The childbirth education and labor/birth doula training courses taken should cover the core curriculum topics described below:

Birth Doula Certification Curriculum Standards

(1) All birth doulas seeking certification with the state shall complete a minimum of 40 contact hours that include the following:

(a) A minimum of 28 in-person contact hours addressing the core curricula topics set forth in section (2) of this rule through an Authority-approved training program for birth doulas or through another training program provided by a birth doula certification organization.*

(b) Six contact hours in cultural competency training; and 

(c) Six contact hours in one or more of the following topics as they relate to birth doula care:

(A) One hour of Inter-professional collaboration;

(B) One hour of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance; and

(C) Four hours of Trauma-informed care.

*A “Birth doula certification organization” means an entity nationally or internationally recognizedfor training and certifying birth doulas whose educational requirements includes the core curriculum topics described in these rules.

(2) All core curriculum for training birth doulas shall, at a minimum, introduce students to the key principles of the following topics:

(a) Anatomy and physiology of labor, birth, maternal postpartum, neonatal transition, and breastfeeding;

(b) Labor coping strategies, comfort measures and non-pharmacological techniques for pain management;

(c) The reasons for, procedures of, and risks and benefits of common medical interventions, medications, and Cesarean birth;

(d) Emotional and psychosocial support of women and their support team;

(e) Birth doula scope of practice, standards of practice, and basic ethical principles;

(f) The role of the doula with members of the birth team;

(g) Communication skills, including active listening, cross-cultural communication, and inter-professional communication;

(h) Self-advocacy and empowerment techniques;

(i) Breastfeeding support measures;

(j) Postpartum support measures for the mother and baby relationship;

(k) Perinatal mental health;

(l) Family adjustment and dynamics;

(m) Evidence-informed educational and informational strategies;

(n) Community resource referrals;

(o) Professional conduct, including relationship boundaries and maintaining confidentiality; and

(p) Self-care.

Oregon training requirements are comprehensive and require in-person training because of the need for a highly competent and skilled workforce to serve the greater needs and diversity of the Medicaid recipient populations. Midwifery education, nursing training, or online childbirth and doula training courses are not accepted as substitutions for in-person doula training.

  • Complete an Oregon Health Authority approved oral health training;
  • Be CPR-certified for children and adults;
  • Create a community resource list on an Authority-approved form;
  • Document attendance at a minimum of three births and three postpartum visits using an Authority-approved form;
  • Complete all application requirements to be in the state registry;
  • Complete the Authority certification process; and
  • Be successfully accepted into the state registry.

Resources for completing State Doula Certification 

To meet the minimum 28 in-person training hours:

(1)Find a list of OHA-Approved Doula Trainings. Type "Birth Doula Training" in the search bar. 


(2) Exercise the Legacy Clause by providing the verifiable evidence of attending 10 live births and providing 500 hours of community work supporting birthing persons and families in the capacity of a birth doula.

In addition to these requirements:

At Least Six (6) Contact Hours of Cultural Competency

OHA-approved Cultural Competency trainings are listed on the OEI website or you can take in-person courses through an accredited higher education institution, local hospital or medical clinic. An online course for Cultural Competency is Think Cultural Health. Recommended is the e-learning course for Nurses and Social Workers, which is a free course worth 9 CEUs.

To demonstrate completion, please submit a certificate of attendance, copy of transcript of letter from the instructor of organization showing your successful completion of these courses.

At Least One (1) Contact Hour of Inter-Professional Collaboration

PDX Doulas offers the Collaborative Practice course in the Portland Metro area. Other such courses should clearly indicate that the topics covered relate to communication and professionalism when working with other health care team members. It is a good idea to submit a brief topic outline along with the certificate of attendance. Courses can be taken through local hospitals or clinics or in online courses.

At Least One (1) Contact Hour of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
At Least Four (4) Contact Hours of Trauma-Informed Care
You can take courses through an accredited higher education institution, local hospital, CCO, or e-learning options. A great resource is Trauma-Informed Oregon
OHA-Approved Oral Health Training
Birth doulas are required to take a course on oral health training either online at Oral Health Training or in person by an OHA-approved instructor.
CPR Certification for Adults and Infants/Children
CPR Certification can be obtained through your local Red Cross or hospitals.

Application and Approval Process

Once you have all of your documentation, complete the following:

Verify on the Checklist that you have:

  • Created a community resource list
  • Attended at least three births and three postpartum visits  (You must be able to show documentation of these if you are audited)

Once approved, you will be contacted by email to give permission for the state to conduct a background check. Be sure to watch your email, including your spam folder and respond right away. Oregon State pays for this. This may take a few weeks and if you have not heard back within six weeks, email the THW Program at to check on it.

Once you are certified with the Oregon Health Authority, you will be added to the state registry. The registry is a reliable, trusted source for finding a traditional health worker in Oregon.

You will also receive a letter with a Certification ID# and expiration date.

Your State Certification is good for three years. During that time you will need the following:

410-180-0320 - To maintain certification status, all THWs must complete at least 20 hours of continuing education during every three-year renewal period.

All applicants must attach proof of 20 hours of continued education units either received from an OHA approved training program or any training organizations. The hours taken must support the scope of practice of the individual THWs scope of work. It can be 10 hours online and 10 hours in person.

You are allowed to take any topic relevant to the work of a doula. Make sure to get a certificate of attendance. Re-apply by 60 days prior to your expiration date.

Standards of Professional Conduct

As a THW Doula, there are Standards of Professional Conduct you are obligated to follow so you should become familiar with them.

Once you are certified, go to "Guidelines for THW Doulas Serving OHP Members" for information on how to get started serving OHP clients and being reimbursed.