Certified Postpartum Doula (CPD)

CAPPA is an international certification organization for Doulas, Childbirth Educators and Lactation Educators. Since our foundation in 1998, we have certified thousands of perinatal professionals. As one of the first and most comprehensive perinatal organizations in the world, CAPPA is respected for its longevity and its commitment to excellence in both education and unsurpassed student and member support. Choosing an organization for your education is an important decision. CAPPA offers stability that you can be confident in as you invest in your education and career.

Training Options

Scope of Practice

The CAPPA Certified Postpartum Doula

CAPPA Postpartum Doulas fill an important role in providing emotional, physical, and evidence-based informational support to the new family after the birth of their baby.

How CAPPA Postpartum Doulas work with families

The Postpartum Doula works with families in the postpartum period; offering support, information, instruction, comfort, and referrals as needed. Postpartum Doulas support the mother’s recovery, give instruction on infant care and feeding, and assist with household organization. Postpartum Doulas can be found working in the community in private practice, in cooperatives, as part of groups or agencies, as well as serving in various community programs.

How CAPPA Postpartum Doulas work within the healthcare system

Postpartum Doulas are skilled support persons who act as consultants and resources, not clinicians. They therefore work with the healthcare system by encouraging and promoting excellent communication between the new family and the health care team, encouraging informed decision making and self-advocacy, supporting the choices of the new family, providing non-clinical care, and offering appropriate referrals when their observance or counseling uncovers situations that require healthcare attention or support.

Clinical Limitations of CAPPA Postpartum Doulas

CAPPA Postpartum Doulas are non-clinical professionals. CAPPA Postpartum Doula courses do not qualify a professional to act as a medical care provider. CAPPA Postpartum Doulas do not dispense medical advice, diagnose medical conditions, interpret medical diagnoses or clinical results, perform clinical procedures, or prescribe/administer medications or treatments of any kind.

CAPPA Standards

CAPPA Postpartum Doulas work within the CAPPA’s standards of practice to uphold the following (available to read as individual documents): code of conduct, a grievance policy, mission statement, vision statement, organization philosophy, and social media policy. CAPPA Postpartum Doulas use current evidence based information in their practice. They maintain their knowledge and skills through continuing education. They work within the legal framework of their individual community and region.

CAPPA Postpartum Doulas:

  • Provide non-biased emotional, physical, and informational support during the postpartum period
  • Encourage the family to seek care that reflects their values and needs
  • Models and teaches effective communication
  • Encourage informed decision making
  • Support the physical and emotional healing of the mother
  • Provide information on care options and resources for the mother and newborn
  • Support and assists with infant feeding
  • Educate the family on newborn care and characteristics
  • Provide support to the new mother’s partner and/or family
  • Assist with household organization
  • Refer to healthcare professionals when support requires clinical assessment, a need for prescription, or medical diagnosis

CAPPA Postpartum Doulas do not:

  • Diagnose medical conditions
  • Interpret medical diagnoses or clinical results
  • Prescribe or administer treatment of medical conditions
  • Perform clinical procedures, including: taking infant's temperature or administering medications to infant or mother
  • Take over complete care of the infant, including: buckling infant into car or car seat and cutting infant's nails
  • Transport any family members
  • Stay alone with babies or other children
  • “Sleep train” babies
  • Act as a housekeeper or nanny

Traditional (in-person) Course

This course is designed for students who choose to take the in-person training class.

Course Requirements

  • 2 years to complete your course from the date of your CAPPA in-person training class.
  • CAPPA certification candidates must be at least 18 years of age. No person under 18 years of age may attend CAPPA training classes.
  • Be a member of CAPPA.
  • Enroll in the Postpartum Doula Traditional Course in CAPPA Academy.
  • Attend a CAPPA Postpartum Doula training class.
  • Read the CAPPA Postpartum Doula training manual and the required books from the CAPPA required reading list.
  • Order, read, and watch the video clips from the Mother and Baby Care booklet available in the CAPPA shop.  Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Order, read, and complete all online content, including videos, from the Understanding Breastfeeding Book, available in the CAPPA shop. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Proof of current infant and child CPR certification through the American Heart Association, the Red Cross, or ProTrainings, LLC.  In-person class WITH manikin practice or part-online WITH manikin practice required.
  • To qualify for CAPPA Postpartum Doula certification, you must work for 3 families and receive evaluations from each. The work with these 3 families must be during the first 3 months postpartum. You must work for a minimum of 20 hours and these 20 hours need to be across the period of at least one week. Per CAPPA policy, the families you work with cannot be your immediate family. Each family evaluation must be accompanied by a self-evaluation form. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professionals. Details are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Create a resource list with information on local support for parents. A guide for creating this list is included within CAPPA Academy.
  • In order for candidates to be eligible for CAPPA certification they must sign and agree to the following forms: Code of Conduct and Social Media Policy, Grievance Policy, Mission Statement, CAPPA Approach / Philosophy Statement, Vision Statement, and Scope of Practice.
  • Pass the multiple choice exam and essays in CAPPA Academy. An 85% passing grade is required.
  • Pass the Scope of Practice Pretest. A 100% passing grade is required.
  • Please view all of CAPPA’s Policies and Procedures.

Online Distance Learning Course

This course is designed for students who are unable to take the in-person training class.

Course Requirements

  • 2 years to complete your course once you enroll.
  • CAPPA certification candidates must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be a member of CAPPA.
  • Enroll in the Online Distance Learning Course.
  • Read the CAPPA Postpartum Doula training manual, the required books from the CAPPA required reading list, and watch the required DVDs.
  • Proof of current infant and child CPR certification through the American Heart Association, the Red Cross, or ProTrainings, LLC.  In-person class WITH manikin practice or part-online WITH manikin practice required.
  • To qualify for CAPPA Postpartum Doula certification, you must work for 3 families and receive evaluations from each. The work with these 3 families must be during the first 3 months postpartum. You must work for a minimum of 20 hours and these 20 hours need to be across the period of at least one week. Per CAPPA policy, the families you work with cannot be your immediate family. Each family evaluation must be accompanied by a self-evaluation form. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professionals. Details are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Order, read, and watch the video clips from the Mother and Baby Care booklet available in the CAPPA shop.  Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Order, read, and complete all online content, including videos, from the Understanding Breastfeeding Book, available in the CAPPA shop. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Create a resource list with information on local support for parents.
  • In order for candidates to be eligible for CAPPA certification they must sign and agree to the following forms: Code of Conduct and Social Media Policy, Grievance Policy, Mission Statement, CAPPA Approach, Vision Statement, and Scope of Practice.
  • Pass the multiple choice exam and essays. An 85% passing grade is required.
  • Pass the Scope of Practice Pretest.  A 100% passing grade is required.
  • Please view all of CAPPA’s Policies and Procedures.

Dual/Transfer Course

This course is designed for students who have already been certified or have trained with DONA. (Documentation required.)

Course Requirements

  • 1 year to complete your course once you enroll.
  • CAPPA certification candidates must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be a member of CAPPA.
  • Enroll in Postpartum Doula Dual/Transfer Course in CAPPA Academy.
  • Read the CAPPA Postpartum Doula training manual and the required books from the CAPPA required reading list.
  • Order, read, and watch the video clips from the Mother and Baby Care booklet available in the CAPPA shop. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Proof of current infant and child CPR certification through the American Heart Association, the Red Cross, or ProTrainings, LLC.  In-person class WITH manikin practice or part-online WITH manikin practice required.
  • To qualify for CAPPA Postpartum Doula certification, you must work for 3 families and receive evaluations from each. The work with these 3 families must be during the first 3 months postpartum. You must work for a minimum of 20 hours and these 20 hours need to be across the period of at least one week. Per CAPPA policy, the families you work with cannot be your immediate family. Each family evaluation must be accompanied by a self-evaluation form. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professionals. Details are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Submit a 300-500 word essay on CAPPA's Postpartum Doula Scope of Practice.
  • In order for candidates to be eligible for CAPPA certification they must sign and agree to the following forms: Code of Conduct and Social Media Policy, Grievance Policy, Mission Statement, CAPPA Approach / Philosophy Statement, Vision Statement, and Scope of Practice.
  • Pass the multiple choice exam and essays. An 85% passing grade is required.
  • Pass the Scope of Practice Pretest. A 100% passing grade is required.
  • Please view all of CAPPA’s Policies and Procedures.
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