BiA Doula Training

This post is also available in: Dutch

Students of BiA Doula Training: international doula training Netherlands and Europe. Birth Doula Training in Amsterdam.

BiA Doula Training is a comprehensive training to become a certified birth doula. We are a Dutch based international doula training: we train doulas in The Netherlands as well as in Europe and internationally.

The doula training is composed of different elements that all together prepare you thoroughly to start working as a professional doula: 7 full days of in-person training, a good amount of self-study and reflection, internships, mentoring and doula support of 3 student- clients.

Working with or around birth touches the heart of us as human beings. There is no doubt that you will be touched too, during the training and working in the field as an active doula. It is in the mix of studying the materials and books, the transformation and growth that occurs in the in-person days, the connection to yourself and to each other and the awareness that arises through inner work and self-reflection that embodied learning takes place. The purpose of us as your trainers and mentors is to help initiate, guide, and inspire you in that process.

We aim to train doulas who work with integrity, compassion and confidence; who know how to be present, give support and reflect on themselves and situations; who have thorough knowledge of the birthing process in all settings; who are respectful, aware of their role in connection with their clients and the other care providers/birth team and know the value of life-long learning. We honour the experience that you bring and help you discover what your learning process is and what kind of doula yóu are going to be.

Design your own training

Your training starts with reading the 4 books of the required reading list (see below) and additional training materials that will be sent to you after registration. Then follows the first part of the in-person days, the Foundation Training . In these 4 intensive days we integrate and build upon the knowledge that you have acquired through reading, expand your understanding of the doula role, deepen your insights of the process of giving birth, teach you a variety of hands-on skills and prepare you to feel confident about supporting women/couples during their pregnancy and birth.

In the in-person training, we offer a variety of teaching methods: role play, hands-on practices, reflective exercises and (small) group exchanges. We use visual and audible tools, as well as demonstration and reflective exchange and feedback. This allows for embodied learning to take place.

How the student doula then moves through the certification process, is at their own pace and rhythm. After the Foundation Training you can consider the remainder of the training as ‘building blocks’ that you put together however it suits you, in the time that is achievable for you. After the Foundation Training you can immediately start supporting people as a doula and be with them in a full doula-trajectory. The 3-day in-person Advanced Training, for which you need to read another 3 books, you can attend after 3, 6 or 9 months. You can do the Advanced Training before or after the internships and/or possibly after having supported 1 or 2 pregnant people/couples. We do recommend to support another 1 or 2 clients áfter the Advanced Training, as you will gain more in-depth knowledge, understanding and hands-on skills. If you have prior education / extensive knowledge of pregnancy and birth you can choose to do the Foundation and Advanced Trainings consecutively. When you have fulfilled all of your certification requirements, you write your concluding reflection and complete your portfolio, after which a certification meeting follows. We have students who fulfill all of the certification requirements within 3-6months, and others may take 1,5-2 years. By becoming a certified BiA Doula, you can apply for full membership of the Dutch national professional association, the NBvD.

Dutch and International

We welcome students from all over the Netherlands (Dutch and international), as well as from abroad. As the in-person Foundation and Advanced trainings are blocks of 4 en 3 days, you only have to come twice to Amsterdam. The other components of the training you complete in your own region / country. We offer the Foundation and Advanced Trainings three times per year, twice in English and once in Dutch. We have a growing community of internationally working doulas, from Estonia to Columbia to US, to France, UK, Belgium and Germany, who have trained with BiA Training!


We know how important it is to be part of a community, where you can learn from your peers and give each other support. Working in the field of birth can be both wonderful and intense, and there is always more to learn. We have an active online student and graduate group. In that group there is a mix of people who have worked for a longer time in the field of birth and people who have arrived to the path more recently. We also organise regular online as well as 6-weekly in-person Reflect & Recharge intervision meetings. Furthermore, we have bi-annual social get-togethers in the winter and summer. In this way we aim to create a warm and safe space where all feel seen and supported.


There are three different ways in which the mentoring takes place. First of all, we offer 6-weekly Reflect & Recharge meetings (online or in-person), where you learn from each other in a group setting with your trainers present, and where you can reflect on issues you encounter in your doula journey. We often discuss case studies, sometimes we have a guest speaker. We charge a small, nominal fee to cover our direct costs. The course fee includes two hours of one to one mentoring with your assigned mentor, which will be one of the trainers; Jennifer, Joyce or Marlies. In the peer-to-peer environment (Facebook for now), you can post any questions you have and you will receive many helpful recommendations, experiences and the like. The trainers are there as well and give comments or feedback as needed. For any practical questions regarding the training, you can contact our administrative assistant/doula(!) at

Continuing Education

To honour the life-long learning that we encourage, we regularly organise or host different workshops and trainings. Those courses are most often for the larger community of professionals working with women / people in the perinatal period, bringing together doulas, midwives, childbirth educators, gynaecologists, maternity nurses, postpartum practitioners and bodyworkers.

Students receive a special discount on the continuing education trainings organised by BiA Training.

Advantages of training with BiA Doula

  • Renowned trainers and mentors with extensive experience and knowledge and who continue to develop themselves
  • Trainers and mentors who practice actively as doulas throughout the country and have well-established connections within The Netherlands as well as internationally
  • Adult learning: building on self study, the in-person trainings are aimed to integrate knowledge, they are interactive, hands-on, playful and fun and packed with golden nuggets of wisdom
  • Design your own study pace and plan
  • Comprehensive, unique training manual
  • Community of students & graduates for exchange, support and learning

  • Mentoring, both one-on-one with your personal mentor as well as group mentoring
  • Certification recognised by national professional association NBvD
  • No re-certification process
  • Continuing education (with special discount for student doulas)
  • Free Listing on our BiA Doula Training website (see Find A Doula)
  • Student portal on the website with access to all the documents that you need
  • Access to potential clients: we often get requests from midwifery practices for (student)-doula support, and we announce those in our online community (facebook).
  • Visibility / exposure via our BiA Doula Training Facebook page and Instagram Stories

Foundation BiA Doula Training at a glance


Physiology of pregnancy; How the maternity care system is organised in the Netherlands / protocols and guidelines;

Required reading list:

  • The Doula Book by Klaus, Kennel, Klaus and/or Dutch book: De Doula by Saskia Bruyn and Thea van Tuyl
  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin (also available as audio book)
  • The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin 5th edition
  • Heart and Hands by Elizabeth Davis
  • The Labor Progress Handbook By Penny Simkin and Ruth Ancheta – 4th edition / to read before the Advanced Training
  • Heart of the Doula by Amy Gilliland / to read before the Advanced Training
  • Birthwork – A Compassionate Guide to Being With Birth by Jenny Blyth / to read before the Advanced Training (to buy via BiA Training)

Recommended reading list:

  • A-Z For a Healthy Pregnancy and Natural Childbirth by Jacky Bloemraad-De Boer
  • Birthing From Within OR Ancient Map for Modern Birth By Pam England
  • Doulas and Intimate Labour / Boundaries, Bodies and Birth by Angela Castañeda
  • Give Birth like a Feminist by Milli Hill (available in Dutch and English)
  • Praktische Verloskunde by Marianne Prins, Jos van Roosmalen
  • Pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn, the Complete Guide, 5th edition, by Penny Simkin et al

Most books can be ordered via Amazon or, or alternatively via (though it takes a little longer for the books to arrive). You can also consider ordering the books via your local bookstore, as ways of supporting small businesses. Jenny Blyth’s Birthwork can be bought via BiA Training (€35,-).

The Dutch translation of The Doula Book can be bought via Stichting Lichaamstaal: (not available at

Topics covered in the BiA Doula Foundation Training include:

  • Role of the doula
  • Communication
  • Physiology of childbirth
  • Hormones of Birth
  • Mechanics of birth
  • Phases of birth & how to support as a doula

  • Role of the doula with partners, family members, children
  • Communication with care providers
  • Immediate postpartum
  • Informed consent/informed choice
  • Self Care (for birth workers)
  • Internship and Certification process
  • Steps for starting your doula business

Hands on techniques include:

  • Intention/Touch
  • Counter pressure, stroking
  • Acupressure
  • Positions for labour and birth

  • Role play
  • Active listening
  • Reflection / interaction


Advanced BiA Doula Training at a glance

Required reading list:

Topics covered in the BiA Doula Advanced Training:

  • Prenatal appointments
  • Released waters and no contractions / going past 42 weeks
  • Induction / augmentation of labour
  • Anatomy / mechanics of childbirth review
  • When birth is taking twists and turns: not-engaged baby, asyncliticism, posterior baby, stalled labour, issues during pushing
  • Unexpected outcomes, stillbirth, loss and your role as a doula
  • Postpartum appointments – recognising problems, how to close after a birth with unexpected outcome

Hands on / interactive techniques include:

  • Bum jiggling
  • Foot massage
  • Lower back massage
  • Acupressure
  • Polarity
  • Pelvic tilt
  • Positions for labour and birth
  • Peanut ball
  • Case study
  • Roleplay
  • Active Listening
  • Reflection / interaction