What are Cornerstone's core values?

Cornerstone Core values: Our doulas, birthkeepers and childbirth educators pledge to: Celebrate diversity: We honor the diversity of all families and support clients from all orientations, abilities, ages, ethnic backgrounds, race, religion, education level, gender identity and socio-economic status. We support your choice to have or not to have children and commit to ensuring that you are held, cared for and safe in your decisions. Fight systems of oppression: We are opposed to any system/individual that oppresses another person or group. We recognize birth work as activism and are fully committed to advocacy, birth, reproductive and social justice and doing our part to eradicate health inequities and disparities. Honor choice: We embrace all birth choice with utmost respect. Every pregnant person has full ownership of their body and thier birth. Revere birth: We identify birth as a momentous experience for the laboring person, their partner(s) and baby(s). Continuity of care: We are 100% committed to each family we work with and make sure that we are available for every birth by not over-scheduling. In the rare case of an emergency, we always have a backup ready to step in that our families have met and feel comfortable with prior to labor.

Where are the classes located?

All of our in-person trainings take place in Oakland, CA. Our online courses are held in our live online Zoom classroom. We will also travel to your location to provide trainings. Please get ahold of us if you are interested in hosting! (510) 501-7501

What sets Cornerstone apart from other doula training organizations?

Our Community Commitment Model engages our students and our communities in a deeper, more meaningful way. Exclusive Rights Informed Birth Advocate certification in collaboration with Birth Monopoly is included in our Labor & Birth Doula Training. No other training program offers this certification. Mentoring and business training that teaches you how to be a strong, professional business person without losing the traditional heart and soul of the birthworker role and profession. Your trainers are always available to support you with information and encouragement - we maintain relationships with our students after training and are always here for you. We actively build and foster a community. With Cornerstone you know your trainers, community members and mentors. You are never alone.
Cornerstone believes the doula role is an incredibly important component of social change. We focus on reproductive, social and birth justice in all of our courses through an intersectional lens. Our trainings are inclusive in curriculum, training materials, language and physical representation.
Our curriculum fills in gaps that other doula trainings leave untouched. We delve deeper into the emotional, political and psychosocial aspects of birth for the pregnant person, partner and baby.
Small groups in a comfortable setting provide the space to take time to answer questions during class. We practice all hands-on skills together, which is something you cannot get from an online or distance learning program.

Cornerstone is extremely well established in the Bay Area and providers prefer our doulas.

What are your terms and conditions?


How to book training courses:
Register for courses by paying a non-refundable deposit for one or more courses at Please note that any payment made on our website is a deposit and is non-refundable, non transferable. By booking a training course on our website, you (“the user”) are accepting and acknowledging understanding of our terms and conditions.

Booking confirmation:
A trainer will contact you within 24 hours with a confirmation email. This email will be sent to the address provided by you on our registration page.

Payment of non-refundable deposit must be made at time of booking. The remainder of fees, if any will be due on the first day of class using cash, credit, debit, or check. We add a 4% service fee to all debit and credit card payments.

All course deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable. All payments made on our registration page are said deposits. On the rare occasion that we cancel a class, we will offer either a transfer of tuition to the next available course date or a full refund for fees deposited for the course that is cancelled.

Special requirements:
Cornerstone Doula Training will make every effort to accommodate special requirements that have been notified in advance via email at or phone at (510) 501-7501.

Course transfers:
We allow for a one-time transfer of deposit in the event of emergency or birth attendance. This transfer is non-transferable and can only be used for the same course that was initially registered.

We have a strict 48 hour cancellation policy for course transfer. If you have registered for a course and do not notify us at least 48 hours before the course begins of your non-attendance, you will owe the entire course fee and be charged by us on the first day of class. We do not offer refunds to any deposits paid on our website with cancellation. We will allow one transfer of deposit to the same course if notified at least 48 hours prior to the first day of class.

We do not offer refunds to any deposits paid on our website for non-attendance of a course. Please see our course transfer information above.

Cornerstone Doula Training does not accept responsibility for any harm, loss, or damages due to participating in our doula training courses. Participants in our courses take full responsibility for participation in hands-on practice, as well as use of our home and classroom. Cornerstone Doula Training does not accept responsibility for any harm, loss, or damages to future clients of our students. Our students take full responsibility for their practice in the capacity of labor and/or postpartum doula once trained and/or certified through Cornerstone Doula Training.

Any questions:
Please contact either Nickie Tilsner or Juli Tilsner by emailing or calling (510) 501-7501.

What are your doula and birthkeeper certification requirements?

Labor & Birth Doula Certification: CD To be certified as a Labor & B irth Doula , you must attend these required 2 courses:

  • Labor & Birth Doula Training
  • Postpartum Doula Training
You must also provide proof of Infant CPR and First Aid certification and complete our birth doula/birthkeeper certification packet, which includes the requirements to audit a CBE course, creating a resource list, hospital tour, required reading and essays, as well as an extensive glossary assignment.
Postpartum Doula Certification: CPpD

Pre-course requirement: Infant CPR and first aid certification - both Red Cross and American Heart Association certifications are approved for this requirement. Postpartum doula and birthkeeper certification is automatically given at the end of our Postpartum Doula Trainings if proof of CPR and first aid certification is shown to your trainer. There is no final exam for this course.

What is the difference between being certified by Cornerstone and other certification organizations?

Our statement on certification: Cornerstone Doula Trainings recognizes that certification is not for everyone and can, in fact create barriers to practice. Further, Cornerstone Doula Trainings also recognizes the historical context of settler colonialism and white supremacy in certification, licensure, professionalism and legitimization of birthworkers - including midwives, doulas and birthkeepers. We do not require our doulas and birthkeepers to certify, but do offer certification for those who desire to have it. Because there is no accreditation for doula trainings in the US, all certifying bodies carry the same merit. If you do choose to be certified, in order to decide who to choose to certify and train with, we recommend asking yourself a few questions. Do I need certification? Do you plan to be employed by an institution such as a hospital, clinic or jail? Find out if they require certification - most do. Do you work in a state that requires certification for Medi-caid reimbursement? Is certification important to me professionally? This is a question that only you can answer. We believe that in order to be a great doula or birthkeeper, you don't need to be certified. Contextually, we do also believe that the requirements we have set forth for certification are the essential components all birth workers need to be successful and supported. We support your decision to certify and not to certify. You can also complete all required steps for certification with us and choose not to have a certificate at the end of your journey. You are autonomous, and we support you in building out your business however you desire. What benefit will I gain from certification? Not all doula and birthkeeper certifications are alike. Ask yourself if the certification is developed for your benefit or for the certifying organization's benefit. Are there hidden fees? Major hoops to jump through? Are there barriers to certification that you feel are unfair or biased? Will you receive post-certification support from the organization? What business tools will you gain from becoming certified? What community support does your certifying organization offer? Cornerstone has no hidden fees, hoops or barriers. You can access your trainers for support post-training and are required to take a solid business course for birthworkers to be certified. We also engage in continuous community building post-training, through our Community Commitment Model. You will be a part of a huge network of birthworkers and community members through Cornerstone. We are here for you.

Would this training be appropriate for me if I've already taken a doula training course with a different organization?

Yes! We absolutely encourage cross-training! Our doula training is so unique, with a much more holistic and inclusive approach than other trainings. With us you will gain strong business tools, incredible post training mentoring and support, as well as many new perspectives and tools that you will not gain with any other training. We have trained many, many seasoned doulas and they all come out of their trainings with us completely transformed in their practice!

What is your required reading list?

Required texts for both Labor & Birth AND Postpartum Doula trainings:

  • A Taste of Our Own Medicine, Bean
  • Battling Over Birth: Black Women and the Maternal Health Crisis, Oparah et al.
  • Birthwork as Care Work: Stories From Activist Birth Communities, Apfel
  • Contract Writing for Doulas, Flynn --
  • Labor Progress Handbook, Simkin
  • Natural Health After Birth, Romm
  • Optimal Care in Childbirth: The Case for a Physiologic Approach, Goer
  • Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn 4th Ed., Simkin, et al.
  • Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth, Davis
  • Reproductive Justice: An Introduction, Ross & Solinger
  • Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others, Lipsky
  • The Doula Business Guide: Creating a Successful Motherbaby Business, Brennan
  • The Doula Business Guide Workbook, Brennan
  • The Doulas: Radical Care for Pregnant People, Mahoney & Mitchell
  • The First Forty Days, Ou
  • The Natural Pregnancy Book, Romm
  • The Nurturing Touch at Birth: A Labor Support Handbook, Perez
  • The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, Newman
We recommend purchasing most of these books on, where you can find them at very discounted prices.

When is my payment due?

When registering online, you will be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit to hold your place in class. The remaining tuition will be due the first day of class.

Do you offer scholarships?

We do offer one full labor and postpartum certification scholarship per class cycle (every 3 months). These scholarships are for anyone with a special situation that cannot access doula training. Special consideration goes to POC and LGBTQIA2S+. To apply, please fill out the scholarship application on this website. To access this application, click scholarships.

What is your privacy policy?


Cornerstone Doula Training (the “Company”) is committed to maintaining robust privacy protections for its users. Our Privacy Policy (“Privacy Policy”) is designed to help you understand how we collect, use and safeguard the information you provide to us and to assist you in making informed decisions when using our Service.
For purposes of this Agreement, “Service” refers to the Company’s service which can be accessed via our website at htttp:// in which users can purchase doula training courses. The terms “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to the Company. “You” refers to you, as a user of Service. By accepting our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use found above in FAQ, you consent to our collection, storage, use and disclosure of your personal information as described in this Privacy Policy.

We collect “Non-Personal Information” and “Personal Information.” Non-Personal Information includes information that cannot be used to personally identify you, such as anonymous usage data, general demographic information we may collect, referring/exit pages and URLs, platform types, preferences you submit and preferences that are generated based on the data you submit and number of clicks. Personal Information includes only your name, email, and payment information, which you submit to us through the registration process at the Site.

1. Information collected via Technology
In an effort to improve the quality of the Service, we track information provided to us by your browser or by our software application when you view or use the Service, such as the website you came from (known as the “referring URL”), the type of browser you use, the device from which you connected to the Service, the time and date of access, and other information that does not personally identify you.

Personal Information:
Except as otherwise stated in this Privacy Policy, we do not sell, trade, rent or otherwise share for marketing purposes your Personal Information with third parties without your consent. In general, the Personal Information you provide to us is used to help us communicate with you. For example, we use Personal Information to contact users in response to questions, solicit feedback from users, provide technical support, and inform users about promotional offers.

Non-Personal Information
In general, we use Non-Personal Information to help us improve the Service and customize the user experience. We also aggregate Non-Personal Information in order to track trends and analyze use patterns on the Site. This Privacy Policy does not limit in any way our use or disclosure of Non-Personal Information and we reserve the right to use and disclose such Non-Personal Information to our partners, advertisers and other third parties at our discretion.
In the event we undergo a business transaction such as a merger, acquisition by another company, or sale of all or a portion of our assets, your Personal Information may be among the assets transferred. You acknowledge and consent that such transfers may occur and are permitted by this Privacy Policy, and that any acquirer of our assets may continue to process your Personal Information as set forth in this Privacy Policy. If our information practices change at any time in the future, we will post the policy changes to the Site so that you may opt out of the new information practices. We suggest that you check the Site periodically if you are concerned about how your information is used.

We implement security measures designed to protect your information from unauthorized access. We further protect your information from potential security breaches by implementing certain technological security measures including encryption, firewalls and secure socket layer technology. However, these measures do not guarantee that your information will not be accessed, disclosed, altered or destroyed by breach of such firewalls and secure server software. By using our Service, you acknowledge that you understand and agree to assume these risks.

You have the right at any time to prevent us from contacting you for marketing purposes. When we send a promotional communication to a user, the user can opt out of further promotional communications by following the unsubscribe instructions provided in each promotional e-mail. Please note that notwithstanding the promotional preferences you indicate by unsubscribing, we may continue to send you administrative emails including, for example, periodic updates to our Privacy Policy.

As part of the Service, we may provide links to or compatibility with other websites or applications. However, we are not responsible for the privacy practices employed by those websites or the information or content they contain. This Privacy Policy applies solely to information collected by us through the Site and the Service. Therefore, this Privacy Policy does not apply to your use of a third party website accessed by selecting a link on our Site or via our Service. To the extent that you access or use the Service through or on another website or application, then the privacy policy of that other website or application will apply to your access or use of that site or application. We encourage our users to read the privacy statements of other websites before proceeding to use them.

The Company reserves the right to change this policy and our Terms of Service at any time. We will notify you of significant changes to our Privacy Policy by sending a notice to the primary email address specified in your account or by placing a prominent notice on our site. Significant changes will go into effect 30 days following such notification. Non-material changes or clarifications will take effect immediately. You should periodically check the Site and this privacy page for updates.

If you have any questions regarding this Privacy Policy or the practices of this Site, please contact us by sending an email to or calling (510) 501-7501.

Last Updated: This Privacy Policy was last updated on August 3, 2017.

What is your cancellation policy?

We have a strict 48 hour cancellation policy for course transfer. If you have registered for a course and do not notify us at least 48 hours before the course begins of your non-attendance, you will owe the entire course fee and be charged by us on the first day of class. We do not offer refunds to any deposits paid on our website. We will allow only one transfer of deposit to a later date of the same course originally signed up for if notified at least 48 hours prior to the first day of class.

What are your CBE certification requirements?

To be a certified childbirth educator, you must first complete a pre-course packet, which includes attending a hospital tour, crafting a resource and referral list and completing required reading and response papers. Once the pre-course packet is complete and you have also fully completed the CBE teacher training course, we will grant you provisional certification. This provisional certification is good for one year - during this year, you must teach your first CBE course series and submit participant evaluations to Cornerstone. After a review your course evaluations, Cornerstone will grant you permanent certification. There are no re-certification fees - our certification is for life.

How is Cornerstone redefining the doula role?

The doula’s role is described by most training organizations to be a professional who provides physical, emotional and informational support to women throughout the childbearing year. Through most training organizations, Doulas are defined to be support people that stay away from advocacy in fear of causing animosity between doulas and providers. This clearly positions the doulas with systems, rather than their clients and commuities. We are challenging and redefining these ideas through positioning ourselves directly with clients and communities, first and foremost. Cornerstone doulas and birthkeepers are birth professionals who support all birthing people and gestational carriers, their partners, families and communities throughout the childbearing year. This is not just women’s work - it is community supporting, human rights work. Further, we are redefining the meaning of informational or educational support. There is a maternal health crisis happening here in the US that is only getting worse. Our doulas are trained to break the silence and speak up when witnessing racism, discrimination and inequities in the birth space. Cornerstone doulas are advocates and change makers. Our clients have the right to bring advocates to their births and our doulas are trained to be effective in this role, while still maintaining integrity in our profession. We work as an integral part of the birth team and are not disempowered by systems of hierarchy and control.

What is Cornerstone's training approach?

Our core courses take place in-person and online - community building during the course is an incredibly vital component to the training experience, and is provided in both settings. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing, we are not providing in-person courses for the time being. All courses are in the online space, and will remain that way until we can meet in groups again. Through lecture, storytelling, research, hands-on practice, case studies, group exercises, mentoring and self-evaluation, Cornerstone doulas learn birthwork through three main components: Core Competencies, Attitudes and Skills. Core Competencies: Cornerstone Doulas are committed to Ethical practice. Critical thinking. Intersectional analysis. Leadership. Accountability. Client-centered care. Teamwork and collaboration. Interpersonal awareness. Supportive communication and active listening. Informed choice. Advocacy. Compassion. Cultural responsiveness. Evidence-based education. Birth & Reproductive justice frameworks. Anti-oppression. Self care. Self-reflection. Flexibility. Attitudes: Cornerstone Doulas Honor and value clients’ expertise. Value partnerships with providers. Actively seek continuing education. Continually improve communication and conflict resolution skills. Acknowledge limitations and seek help when needed. Respect and honor difference. Recognize personal biases (explicit and implicit) and actively work to deconstruct them. Actively struggle against oppression. Center and amplify the voices of marginalized communities. Actively work toward health equity and reproductive justice for all people. Skills: Cornerstone Doulas provide continuous unbiased, client-centered support throughout the reproductive lifespan. This support focuses on the whole person, family and community and encompasses emotional, physical, psychosocial, and educational support techniques. Cornerstone doulas employ individualized supportive communication, culturally responsive care, hands-on therapeutic techniques and an equitable approach with all clients.

Is it required to pay Community Commitment dues if I register for Birth or Postpartum Doula Training?

It is not required, but if you register for any of our core courses, we do encourage you to purchase a community commitment. Community building is essential to the work that we do together. Let's engage on a deeper level. As a community.

What is the Community Commitment Model?

Birth work is so much more than one-on-one engagement with families. We have the expectation that our students will build community with one another, as well as with their ​neighbors and communities outside of the Cornerstone world. Further, we encourage our students to engage with and support communities being built and uplifted by other Doula, Birth & Reproductive Justice groups and organizations. By committing to the Cornerstone community and contributing your yearly community commitment dues of $122, you will be helping support greater engagement with your colleagues, as well as the Bay Area birthing communities. WHAT YOUR COMMUNITY COMMITMENT DUES WILL BE USED FOR: Full transparency is incredibly important to us on both the individual and organizational level. Every cent of community commitment dues paid will go directly back into the community by way of providing yearly events and opportunities: A once yearly Cornerstone gala gathering with speakers, food, childcare, networking opportunities and other festivities. A once yearly community party/baby shower for our neighbors and families, which will provide the opportunity for our doulas and birthkeepers to contribute supportive services, including a diaper and baby supply drive. Twice-yearly peer review gatherings led by Cornerstone trainers and mentors. $10 from every community commitment dues payment will go into our doula training scholarship fund to help increase the amount of scholarships that we can provide to aspiring doulas in need. Even more specifically, we will use funds from community members' yearly dues to provide food, childcare, event spaces, speakers, transportation funds for those who need them and party/organizing permits. By committing to the Cornerstone community, you will be directly funding engagement, learning, support and community building. Once our community has enough funding through commitments dues to fully fund our yearly gatherings, we plan to meet our future goal of using community commitment dues to also fund learning and clinical experiences for our full spectrum doulas and birthkeepers. LET'S DO THIS! **It is encouraged that you pay community commitment dues if you sign up for any of our core courses: Labor & Birth Doula Training, Postpartum Doula Training, both Culturally Diverse Birthkeeper Trainings (Birth & Postpartum) and our Full Spectrum Doula Training. The commitment fee is a once-yearly payment of $122, and there is an option to request either a yearly deferment or full waiving of the commitment dues for those who cannot financially engage in this way.**

Is the Full-Spectrum Doula Training the same as a Birth Doula Training?

No. The Full Spectrum Doula Training is a continuation of our Labor & Birth Doula Training. You can think of it as an "advanced skills course" for folks who already have a strong working understanding of the basics of birthwork. This course aims to prepare all birthworkers for supporting the full spectrum of reproductive experiences. In this course, we will expand upon the commonly used definition of Full-Spectrum to move beyond focusing solely on loss and abortion. Together, we will create strategies for radical community care and ground our collective understanding by exploring complex reproductive situations, creative advocacy, and advanced skills. To attend this course, you must meet certain prerequisite criteria. Prerequisites to join this course - You must qualify for one of these categories to sign up for the Full Spectrum Doula Training. For our Full-Spectrum Doula Certification, the prerequisites are: You have previously attended the Cornerstone Labor & Birth Doula Training OR You have previously attended the Cornerstone Culturally Diverse Birthkeeper (POC only) Labor & Birth Training. AND​ You plan to complete our Labor & Birth Doula Training certification requirements. Sign up for Community Commitment Dues. ​​ For community member access to the training, without the option of Cornerstone Full-Spectrum Doula Certification, the prerequisites are: (​any one of these prerequisites will allow you community member access to access to the training.) Active participant in a harm reduction organization Current or previous sex worker hoping to provide community care Experienced birthworker, not trained by Cornerstone and not seeking our certification Clinical herbalist, acupuncturist, homeopath or naturopath Midwife Nursing student Midwifery student

The Cornerstone Code of Conduct

Cornerstone Doula Trainings Code of Conduct The Doula and Birthkeeper’s role: Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers are reproductive health support professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional and educational support to all birthing people and gestational carriers, their partners, families and communities throughout the reproductive lifespan. Cornerstone Full-Spectrum Doulas and Birthkeepers serve clients and community through all reproductive circumstances including fertility, live birth, loss, abortion, foster & CPS systems involvement and adoption. Our Doulas and Birthkeepers activate community for shift help, advanced advocacy and donations, etc. when circumstances require. Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers also take care of each other so that they can thrive and continue to serve clients and community in the long-term. Cornerstone Doula Trainings does not define birthwork as women’s work; this is community supporting, human rights work. Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers are advocates and changemakers who work as an integral part of the interprofessional reproductive care team, and are not disempowered by systems of hierarchy and control. For, there is a maternal health crisis happening here in the US that is only getting worse. Cornerstone Doula Trainings is committed to closing the gap in disparate maternal morbidity and mortality rates through our collective work and activism as leaders, educators, Doulas and Birthkeepers. As Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers, we fully commit to: Doing the work. The internal work of anti-racism and anti-oppression is a lifelong action; every single action, every single day. Though we will facilitate this work externally in our Doula and Birthkeeper trainings, your inner work is a lifetime project. Cornerstone Doula Trainings expects that our students, Doulas and Birthkeepers will fully commit to identifying and deconstructing internal biases and racism, as well as interrupting discrimination and holding racist systems accountable in order to create true change in the disparate maternal and infant morbidity and mortality rates in the US. Uplift those with less privilege, “Speak up, lift up, fall back.”(Jenkins, Gomez, Harper & Romero, 2016) Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers must examine their positionality through an intersectional lens and actively leverage their privilege intentionally and equitably. If you have more privilege than a colleague, client or community member in relation to gender, sex, race, class, ability, age, education level, socioeconomic status, immigration status, sexual orientation, etc., step back, uplift and pass the mic. Some ways to engage in this way are citing BIPOC researchers and educators, paying POC educators for their intellectual property, time, energy and labor, compensating mentors, referring a potential client to a more culturally appropriate Doula or Birthkeeper colleague, not occupying POC-only spaces as a white person, not relying on marginalized folks for emotional labor and education, interrupting microagressions and speaking out whenever you witness marginalization, racism and oppression. Uphold the tenets of reproductive justice: Reproductive Justice is a framework that was created and developed in the 1990’s by Black women, therefore Cornerstone as an organization with white leaders does not call itself a Reproductive Justice organization. We do however, work within the framework, uphold its tenets in our classrooms and communities, and give credit and thanks to its creators and developers. “Sistersong defines Reproductive Justice as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities… To achieve reproductive justice we must analyze power systems, address intersecting oppressions, center the most marginalized and join together across issues and identities.”(“Reproductive Justice”, 2019) Not appropriate cultural practices and traditions: Cultural appropriation can be defined as when someone who is a member of a dominant culture or group takes a cultural tradition or tool from a marginalized or oppressed group to use as their own. The appropriator does not receive this tradition or tool as a gift from a member of the group that it belongs, and uses the tradition or tool for profit or benefit. Cultural appropriation is present when there is a power imbalance. Cultural exchange is not cultural appropriation, as there is no oppressor/oppressed power dynamic, therefore the practice of cultural exchange does not go against our code of conduct. Respect diversity of practice, skill and knowledge in our Doula and Birthkeeper communities (both online and IRL): We are a diverse community. And in diversity, there are many different beliefs, backgrounds, expertise, bodies of knowledge and ways of practice. Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers understand that there is just as much weight behind traditional and ancestral knowledge and practice than that of science and evidence-based data. Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers will engage in respectful, nonviolent communication in all spaces, uplift one another and listen and learn as much as we teach. Ethical online engagement: Name calling, trolling, harassment, violent and/or disrespectful behavior toward a colleague or community member in our online spaces will be grounds for removal from said space and revocation of Cornerstone certification. Honor choice: Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers embrace all reproductive choice with utmost respect. Every person has full autonomy and ownership of their body, their baby and their birth. Provide continuity of care: Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers are 100% committed to each family they work with and make sure that they are available for every birth by not over-scheduling and by following our 36-43 week hard call practice guidelines. In the rare case of an emergency or the not so rare case of needing to take care of oneself, Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers always have a backup ready to step-in that their clients have already met and feel comfortable with prior to labor. Practice confidentiality: All information gathered by Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers about clients and their family members are kept strictly confidential. At no time will a Doula or Birthkeeper release any PHI (Protected Health Information) without explicit written consent by the client, such as medical diagnoses, medical histories, prescriptions, personal histories, birth stories, photos, names, addresses or any other identifying data. The relationship between Doula or Birthkeeper and client is sacred and must be held in the highest regard and confidence. Provide equitable care: Understanding that the intersections of a person’s multiple identities can translate to compounding oppressions and deep chasms in lack of access, Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers provide equitable care, rather than equal care. What this means is that we meet every individual client and their families where they are, providing or referring out to the supports and resources that each client and family needs to have true access to just, respectful, supportive and gratifying care throughout their time working with their Doulas and Birthkeepers, and beyond. Boiled down, this means that no matter how identities vary, access and quality of care do not. Practice self care: Self care is an ongoing practice of everyday life, not just a single action to mitigate stress from a traumatic episode or experience. Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers give to themselves as much as they give to their clients and communities. Further, Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers commit to a constant practice of strengthening both personal and community resilience. Resilience can be defined as both an inherent trait and a learned skill that promotes recovery from stress or adverse events. The three key components of resilience are recovery, sustainability and growth. Recovery is a measurement of how we “bounce back” from an adverse event or stressor, sustainability is how long the positive state of having bounced back lasts, and growth can be defined as having learned and improved from the adverse event or stressor. Moving even further beyond resilience, the notion of thriving is what Cornerstone is incredibly committed to promoting for the Doula and Birthkeeper professions. If you can imagine that survival is merely continuing to stay alive within conditions that are stressful or adverse, and resilience is being able to bounce back from these events, thriving is a state of continually transforming and innovating oneself through and because of these stressors and adversity. Thriving demands a self-care practice -- that we take pause often, we get enough rest, we say yes and no when appropriate, we connect with community, we feed our purpose and passions, we eat nourishing foods, we breathe deep, we move our bodies, we take breaks and we care for one another meaningfully. Practice community care: Birth work is so much more than one-on-one engagement with families. We have the expectation that Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeeprs will build community with one another, as well as with their ​neighbors and communities outside of the Cornerstone world. Further, we encourage Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers to engage with and support communities being built and uplifted by other Doula, birthwork & Reproductive Justice groups and organizations. Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers are required to make their community commitment through signing up for yearly dues, which will be used to directly impact our communities through yearly block parties, community baby showers and birthworker galas. Provide trauma informed care: "Trauma Informed Care is a strengths-based service delivery approach that is grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma, that emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both providers and survivors, and that creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment." (Hopper, Bassuk, & Olivet, 2010, p.82) Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers commit to embodying a trauma informed approach in all interactions with clients, their families and communities. This means approaching all clients with the assumption that they are survivors of trauma, offering a safe physical and emotional space for all people they work with, advocating for clients in all settings, holding self and providers accountable for receiving explicit consent before performing any client or patient care, having tools to support clients when they are experiencing triggers, understanding personal triggers and having tools to mitigate them, and always working under the awareness that oppression and power are compounding factors in traumatic events and responses. This document outlines the expectations and standards that Cornerstone Doula Trainings hold for every person who enters our classroom, whether the student becomes certified or not. This document is subject to changes and updates, and if said updates are added or changes made we will ask for a new signature on an updated document. If you plan to become certified through Cornerstone Doula Trainings, you will also be asked to complete all certification requirements and keep infant and child CPR/first aid certification current. We will conduct certification audits from time to time to ensure that all certified Doulas and Birthkeepers are up to date on their requirements. Cornerstone Doula Trainings reserves the right to terminate professional alliances with Doulas and Birthkeepers, as well as revoke certification from Doulas and Birthkeepers who do not practice at the level of these standards. References: Hopper, E. K., Bassuk, E. L., & Olivet, J. (2010). Shelter from the storm: Trauma-informed care in homeless service settings. The Open Health Services and Policy Journal, 3, 80-100. Jenkins, J., Gomez, R., Harper, L., & Romero, A. (2016, November 8). Speak up, lift up, fall back: What we need from social justice allies. Retrieved from
Reproductive Justice. (2019). Retrieved from

The Cornerstone Grievance Policy

GRIEVANCE AND INCIDENT PROCEDURE INCIDENT REVIEW An Incident is any potentially negative occurrence arising in a support situation, as well as between Doulas and Birthkeepers which involve a Cornerstone Doula or Birthkeeper. The Cornerstone Doula or Birthkeeper, or anyone else directly involved in or witnessing the occurrence may report an incident. The purpose of an Incident Review is to discover facts and to provide support, advice, and correction as appropriate. GRIEVANCE A grievance is a complaint arising from a support situation lodged by a client, partner, caregiver, community member, Doula, Birthkeeper, provider or nurse against a Cornerstone Doula or Birthkeeper. The purpose of the Grievance Procedure is to provide a vehicle through which a complaint may be brought, a fair and complete investigation undertaken, and appropriate action/s taken. Grievance Review Committee Gathering: The Grievance Review Committee is made up of 3 Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers, one member from the Cornerstone Leadership team, and one officer from the Cornerstone Board of Capacity Builders.
Process: Any written documentation of the grievance is gathered and assembled, then a time is set when all parties can review the situation. The Doula or Birthkeeper has the option to attend the meeting, as this will be their chance to respond to the grievance. The Grievance Committee discusses the circumstances, asks questions, evaluates the situation, makes recommendations, and initiates change when appropriate. All of this information is kept completely confidential and within the committee’s session.

Involved parties (client, caregiver, Doula or Birthkeeper) will be notified by the Grievance Committee of the findings of the committee in writing and will be informed of any actions resulting within 30 days of the determination.
Sanctions: The Doula or Birthkeeper may be offered the opportunity to complete educational assignments, participate in a restorative justice circle, be given the option to resign or may have certification immediately revoked* if the situation cannot be satisfactorily resolved by the aforementioned options.
Appeals Process: The person receiving the sanction may submit an appeal in writing to the Leadership Team within 72 hours of receiving their sanctions. The team will review the appeal and respond within 5 business days with a final decision. *Automatic revocation without a grievance procedure is permissible at the Leadership Team’s discretion when the Leadership Team has been made aware that a Doula or Birthkeeper is not honoring the Cornerstone Code of Conduct.

How is online Doula Training different than in-person training?

Though you won't be in the classroom with other aspiring Doulas, you'll be getting the exact same education - plus added modules - as our in-person trainings. You'll be engaging with the course content through all learning modes and styles: visual, audio, and hands-on AND you'll be able to meet live (virtually) with other students who are taking these courses, as well as your trainers for weekly drop-in Q&A sessions. The only real difference is that you're taking the course from whatever location you choose and go at whatever pace you need.

When are the live Q&A sessions for online students, and what can I expect from them?

Our live drop-in zoom sessions are scheduled as follows:
Saturdays from 10am-12pm PST, every other week starting on April 11, 2020 Tuesdays from 5-7pm PST, every other week starting on April 14, 2020. We will have a calendar posted on this webpage to keep everyone up to date on the meeting times. These live sessions are "drop-in", which means you can join for all of the meeting or any part of it. You're not required to join, but are encouraged to. Connecting with your trainers and other students is an invaluable way to get support and create community through this process, and beyond. You can ask us any questions that you have about the course content, as well as other topics that may be coming up for you. You'll be able to find Doula partners, backups, friends and colleagues through this process, as well.

What happens when I complete my Online Doula Training course?

Immediately after you complete a course, you will receive a certificate of completion and can begin your Doula practice immediately. If you plan to become a certified Doula, you'll download the certification packet in our store, complete the requirements and then receive your certification. We are here for you through the process, and can help answer any and all questions that come up while you're completing the requirements. During social distancing times, we will be waiving any certification requirements that cannot be completed online or remotely. Ex: the hospital tour.

Is online training just as good as in-person training?

Believe me, we had our reservations about online Doula training, as well. Through the development of these courses, we were surprised to learn that the online format is just as good, if not better than in-person trainings. When we host our in-person trainings, the classes are intensive 8 hour days. And through taking these courses in smaller modules at your own pace, there is so much more opportunity to digest the information on your own terms. We build community into the courses, so that you will have the opportunity to connect with others who are going through the trainings, as well as live meetings with your trainers. Further, we were able to add even more content to the online trainings than we have in our in-person courses. You are getting an incredibly comprehensive and inclusive education that leaves nothing out.

How long will it take me to get through an online course?

This really depends on you. This course allows you to learn at your own pace. In each learning module, you will have a video lecture to watch and these range anywhere from 20 minutes to 5 hours. You can start and stop the videos, take breaks and re-watch as many times as you need to. After you complete the video lecture, you'll have other learning activities to complete, which will include handouts to read, online research to complete, extra short supplemental videos, short writing exercises and quizzes. You can expect to take as much time as an in-person course to complete the online trainings, but you can also go at your own pace, so you can take much longer if you need to. There is great benefit in taking these courses at your own pace. Since there is so much information, you can take your time digesting each module, and start the next when you feel ready.