Welcome to the Madriella Community
Madriella is a network of 1,000+ women that have taken an adult continuing education course designed to teach women how to provide comfort and support measures to other women during pregnancy and childbirth. Many are serving as professional Doulas and are active in caring for women during childbirth and teaching other Doulas how to do so as well. Madriella is not just a Doula certification course, it’s a network of women dedicated to helping each other learn, serve and prosper.

Why we are different
Unlike other Doula certification programs Madriella has never been about making money in a birth industry career – it’s about helping other women through the most challenging and rewarding time in their lives.

We are trying to foster a paradigm shift in our culture, to make Doula training as common as CPR/First Aid courses are. While this might earn some enmity from organizations that are making a lot of money offering very expensive Doula certifications we believe it is the right thing to do.

While our graduates can and often do charge money for their Doula services we encourage them to earn money by teaching the Doula arts to other women (in our approved workshops) and by helping us spread the word about our program as web site affiliates. These additional revenue opportunities make it easier for them to volunteer their services to women that need a Doula but would not be able to pay $500-600 or more for one.

The Madriella Mission Statement
We believe that birth is a sacred event and that motherhood is an anointed institution.

We believe that all women need and deserve the support of other women during pregnancy and birth.

We believe that the knowledge of labor support is the heritage of all women and should be shared.

We believe that financial blessings are a result of the sharing of knowledge and that our members deserve to benefit from it.

The History of Madriella
The Madriella program began in 2006 as a continuing education class for massage therapists at Golden State Massage School (GSMS) in Turlock, California.

In 2008 GSMS was absorbed by the Somatic Arts and Sciences Institute, the nation’s largest provider of continuing education for massage therapists online. Madriella is now owned by the Somatic Arts and Sciences Institute.

Madriella offers an entirely online Doula certification and “hands on” workshops across the country.

The January ’17 Birth Doula release for the curriculum includes (but isn’t limited to)16 education hours in:

Written assignments: books off an approved list – 500 to 1000 word essay from each is common sense – most Doulas should likely be reading these anyhow, and a couple of other papers, including a terminology assignment that isn’t quite exhaustive but our students find challenging and professionally beneficial.

Those who are taking the Professional Membership path also are required to take the cultural competency section, get their BBP Certification, their CPR Cert and their Food Handlers Card.

The Professional Membership is well over 32 hours of training, with Birth Doula, Postpartum and Professional/Business development Certifications alone earned as pre-requisites to the other courses offered.  Hands on workshops are NOT necessary, but some folks really appreciate what they learn in it.  This is for the Doula program specifically.

If you want to go on and earn a CCBE or a CLE – yes the text books are more expensive… but these are your professional tools as it’s the curriculum you’ll be teaching from.  If you go on to learn about placentas and decide to offer encapsulation – well your professional tools are going to cost too.  It’s really in your hands.

The Online Doula Certification Course
You may be wondering how we teach women to be birth assistants with an online course? The “hands on” part of being a Doula is actually very simple. It involves safe massage procedures and coaching in positioning. Our online program shows you how to do all of those things, and they are tried and true methods that are safe for the mother.

Nothing we teach you will ever endanger a mother or her baby, it is all very natural and easy to do. You will learn these simple hands-on techniques by watching short video clips of them being practiced.

The majority of the program deals with information-birth physiology, how to write a birth plan, how to present options, provide emotional support, plan for the birthing event and how to provide postpartum care.

Doula Certification Workshops
“Hands-on” Live workshops are available in some locations. Contact us to find a workshop near you. Attendance at a workshop is not necessary for certification but it is offered for women that are more comfortable learning the physical skills with an instructor present.

Attendees at an Approved Workshop learn the hands-on techniques from experienced Madriella Doulas. The rest of the program is completed online.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where does the name Madriella come from?
The name Madriella is Latin, it means “Beautiful Mother”.

How long has Madriella been Certifying Doulas?
The program began in 2006 as a Doula Certification Continuing Education Class that was offered at Golden State Massage School, a school of Massage Therapy in Turlock, California. We have close to 1,000 Certified Doulas in the United States and a few in Europe.

It includes the continuing education course Massage for the Laboring Woman, offered by the Somatic Arts and Sciences Institute, which owns this program.

Is Madriella a Vocational School or Job training program?
No, Madriella is an avocational adult continuing education course and is hosted by the Somatic Arts and Sciences Institute.

How much does it cost to take this course?
Our Tuition and Fees are outlined here.
Hands on workshops are offered by our Approved Workshop Providers, who have been through our course and scored with high marks, have an extensive resume of Doula support and a large level of skills that they share.  These workshops are not required for certification but are highly recommended due to the ability to learn in a group setting.   An AWP does set his or her own fees for the workshop, but it does not exceed 500.00.

Why is this program so much cheaper than other Doula programs?
Because we want as many women to take this course as possible. Other Doula programs charge a lot of money to train women to be “birth professionals.” Our goal is to teach all women how to help other women give birth, a significant philosophical difference. If we could, we would offer this course for free, it should be available to all women, not an exclusive domain of a few women that can afford to spend $500 or more on a 2 day workshop.

What if I am not a massage therapist? Can I still take this course?
Yes. One of the great things about Madriella is that many of the women that take the course are older women that just want to be there to help their daughters who are pregnant.

This is exactly what Madriella is about! Getting women to reclaim a traditional role that they once had in their daughter’s life, but have been edged out of by a medical model that views pregnancy merely as a condition to be treated.

We have had Chiropractors and Nurses take the course as well. We cannot guarantee that their licensing agencies will award them continuing education credit however.

The NCBTMB recognizes the Massage for the Laboring Woman course as a 6-hour continuing education course for massage therapists.
The massage for the laboring woman course is offered by the Somatic Arts and Sciences Institute, which hosts the Madriella program, which is why they give the Madriella students free access to the course.

Is my Certification good everywhere?
Yes, the Madriella Certification is good in all fifty states. Remember that Doulas are not medical professionals, they are non-medical in nature and therefore are not regulated by any licensing boards. ANY WOMAN can be a Doula.

How long does it take to get my Certification?
This is a difficult question to answer since much of the program is self-paced.

The time it takes to do the course is dependent on many variables. There is required reading. It may take you time to get the books required, etc.

We have had students finish the entire Birth and Postpartum Doula Certification program in a month, others take months. Your Professional Membership gives you access to the program for 3 years before a renewal is required.

I was previously certified by Madriella, and would like to take advantage of being grandfathered into the new program as a Madriella Doula Network Professional Member:
If a Doula was previously certified with Madriella, we ask they contact us ASAP as we grandfathered everyone previously enrolled into our Madriella Doula Network Professional Membership which gives every Doula enrolled access to a high level of training / certification opportunities.  There is no cost at this point and they get a 3 year professional membership with this.


Does my Certification expire?

No, your Certification does not expire, however your CPR certification will, as will your Bloodborne Pathogens and your Food handlers cards… we encourage you to keep these up to date, and do require a renewal of membership every 3 years in order to verify your skills are up to date and your outside required certifications are valid. It’s the Membership that has an expiration date – but not your Doula certificate.

Once you know how to support a woman during birth you know it forever, there is no recertification process, only a renewal which ensures you are up to date on the most current obstetric practices.

How much can do Doulas earn?
That is a tough question, many do not charge at all for the service. The national average for Doula services is $1,200.00 per birth. As most of the Doulas we certify are Massage Therapists many of them just charge their regular rates.

How do Doulas get paid?
Most Doulas are self-employed and are paid by the mother or the mothers family.

Some are employed by Hospitals and Birthing Centers, and they are paid as any other employee would be.

Some insurance companies are starting to reimburse for Doulas, and HSA/FSA’s now do cover Doula services.

Do I have to have given birth myself to be a Doula?
No. Madriella will not discriminate against women that have not or cannot have children. In fact, we do not discriminate against men either, and we do currently have Male students.

Madriella does not require all applicants to be mothers themselves, but traditionally Doulas that have given birth themselves carry more credibility and are able to better encourage women that are going through birth. But if you have never given birth and you desire to be a part of this magical experience there is no reason why you can not.

Where can I get a job as a Doula?
Professional Doulas are less common than some organizations would promote, but it is a growing field.  There may a lot of hard work and effort in educating your community as to what a Doula is, depending on where you are located at.  The vast majority of Doulas are employed as childbirth educators, massage therapists, nurses, midwives or other professionals and they perform the Doula services on the side.

In some regions, there are some self-employed Doulas that have made it a business and there are a few progressive hospitals and birthing centers around the country employ Doulas in their labor and delivery rooms, but these are still rare. That is why this is an avocational course.

Many Alternative Medicine Clinics are offering Doula services now, as well as Massage Clinics and Wellness Centers.

What happens when I order the Course?
When you purchase the course you gain access within 1 business day to our online learning management system.

What if I fail a test?
If you fail a test you will receive a failure notice, and you may take that test again. You are allowed to retake a test up to two times.

How long does it take to get a paper graded?
Turn around time is 3-5 business days for papers to be graded. Most of our tests are automated but there are some assignments that require instructor grading.

What happens when I register for a workshop?
When you register for a workshop you will receive an automatic download with your proof of registration (your ticket to get in) and it will also have the links you need to get started with the online portion.

I’m already a Doula certified through another organization, but I would like to be approved to host a workshop. How do I do this?
We approve Experienced Doulas to teach our curriculum, and in order to teach our curriculum, you would have to go through the Madriella program and receive a 90% on all the courses outlined in the Approved Workshop Provider Curriculum. Of course, we would still count the births you attended prior to becoming a Madriella Doula as meeting the experiential requirement in order to be an Authorized Workshop Provider.