The Bay Area's leader in Doula Training

In-depth Doula Training for aspiring birth workers of all skill levels.

  • Full Labor and Postpartum Doula certification packages available
  • Intensive workshops backed by over 15 years of experience
  • Small group classes in a comfortable home setting
  • 1-on-1 mentorship program now available

View available courses More about us

Our Training Method

Cornerstone's mission is to help families start their lives together in the most gentle and loving way. Our trainings will provide you with the knowledge, confidence and hands-on skills to start attending births immediately. Our methods combine traditional tools and wisdoms with current and progressive information about the physiology and psychology of childbirth.

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Our Students Us

  Headshot of Jenny
I just really liked the energy. It was easy, low-cost and accessible. Nickie is an amazing teacher with a lot of knowledge and wisdom. Jenny Swiecicki
  Headshot of Rayna
Cornerstone has built an amazing community of doulas and I now have a fully-thriving, successful doula practice thanks to them. Rayna Hale
  Headshot of Andrea
Even for me, a three time nursing mom and someone who's taken care of infants for a long time, I came away with a lot of useful information.Andrea Berkey

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Doula Training Classes

In-depth Doula Training workshops for aspiring birth workers of all skill levels.


Core Beginners Course

Target Audience

Appropriate for all levels of experience.

Course Overview

Full preparation for becoming a birth professional and covers everything an aspiring doula will need to build and maintain a strong, professional, and successful practice. Read more →


Postpartum Doula Training

Target Audience

Appropriate for all levels of experience.

Course Overview

Full preparation and certification for Postpartum doulas. Covers everything an aspiring postpartum doula will need to support new families in the most holistic and gentle way. Read more →


Optimal Fetal Positioning

Target Audience

Doulas who have already attended a labor doula training

Course Overview

Gain tools to help change baby's position during labor and birth for an easier delivery, as well as determining fetal position from feeling the mama's belly. Read more →


Homebirth For Doulas

Target Audience

Appropriate for doulas who have attended a labor doula training.

Course Overview

This workshop will prepare you for the very special experience of witnessing a natural birth at home and will give you specific labor support techniques and tools. Read more →

Frequently Asked Questions

Cornerstone is the doula training written for doulas by doulas!

*Real world approaches to all things a doula will encounter from building your business, building relationships with hospital staff and midwives, to hands-on practice lab with an in-depth Lab Manual Handbook.

*Our curriculum fills in gaps that other doula trainings leave untouched. We delve deeper into the emotional and psychological aspects of birth for mom, partner and baby.

*Cornerstone is the ONLY doula training that adds the midwifery model component, as well as prenatal and perinatal psychology.

*Small groups in a comfortable home 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.

*Our trainings give you the tools necessary to navigate the hospital system, thereby creating long-lasting positive professional relationships with their staff.

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

*We get you clients! Cornerstone offers a "Doula match-making service" and features our students on our website.

Yes we do. We offer certification for Labor Doulas, as well as Postpartum Doulas.
Labor Doula Certification: CD

• Attend Core Beginners Course, pass final exam, and finish all assignments on time
• Attend Postpartum Doula Training
• Attend Homebirth for Doulas Workshop
• Read all books on required reading list
• Write two book reports on texts of your choice from the required reading list
• Attend three births and have evaluations from clients and providers sent to Cornerstone trainers for evaluation
• Adult and infant CPR certification (offsite)
• Write an essay about all 3 birth experiences
• You will have up to 2 years to fulfill these requirements, but are ready and able to start working professionally as a doula immediately after finishing the Core Beginner’s Course.

Postpartum Doula Certification: CPpD

• Attend Postpartum Doula Training
• Volunteer 5 hours of postpartum support and have evaluation from clients sent to Cornerstone trainers for evaluation
• Postpartum Doula Certificate given at end of two day workshop
There is no official accreditation for doula training in the US. The agency that you choose for certification should be inline with your vision, philosophy, and needs. What sets Cornerstone apart from other certifying agencies is the depth of information we provide, as well as our philosophy which is derived from the midwifery model of care. We cover not only physical aspects of birth, but the emotional experiences of mom, partner, and baby. We are 100% committed to the students that we serve and will continue to support you in your journey to becoming a professional doula even after our classes come to a close.
Yes we do!
Required texts for our Postpartum Doula Training are:
Natural Health After Birth, Aviva Jill Romm
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, Jack Newman
The Baby Book, Sears and Sears

Our required texts for Labor Doula Training are:
Cornerstone Doula Trainings Lab Workbook, Nickie Tilsner
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, Sarah J. Buckley
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin
The Birth Book, Sears and Sears
The Birth Partner, Penny Simkin
The Doula Book, Klaus, Klaus, and Kennel
The Natural Pregnancy Book, Third Edition, Aviva Jill Romm
The Nurturing Touch at Birth: A Labor Support Handbook, Paulina G. Perez

We have further required reading for Labor Doula Certification:
Heart and Hands, Elizabeth Davis
Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding, Ina May Gaskin
The Labor Progress Handbook, Penny Simkin
The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, Thomas Verney
Your Amazing Newborn, Marshall and Phyllis Klaus

We recommend purchasing most of these books on, where you can find them at very discounted prices.
The Core Beginner’s Course and Postpartum Doula Training have no prerequisites and can be taken in whatever sequence you choose. The Optimal Fetal Positioning and Homebirth for Doulas workshop require that you have already attended a Labor Doula Training. It is okay for doulas who have trained elsewhere to attend our advanced classes, as well as our Core Beginner’s Course and Postpartum Doula Training.
The classes range between $75-$550 depending on the course you choose. We also offer a certification package, where buying two required classes gets you one free. The certification package is $850.00. Using the option of taking each class at your own pace gives you the freedom to pay what you can when you can.
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. If you choose the certification package or extended mentorship options, full payment will be due immediately upon registration.

Cornerstone classes require a deposit payment for each class registration, which is non refundable. We do, however offer the opportunity to use your deposit for a future class in the event that you miss class due to an emergency or attending a birth.
Our classes are taught in the Sunset District of San Francisco, only 3 blocks from the N Judah line. There is also ample street parking for those who drive to our location. We will be offering trainings in the East Bay and South Bay in 2015.
At this time, we do not. However, if you would like to speak with Nickie about coming up with a payment plan please contact her directly at (510) 501-7501. Phone calls are accepted Monday through Friday from 10am-6pm. Outside of these office hours, you can email Nickie at
Yes! We will travel to your town and abroad. If you are interested in hosting a Cornerstone Doula Training, please contact Nickie directly at (510) 501-7501. Phone calls are accepted Monday through Friday from 10am-6pm. Outside of these office hours, you can email Nickie at
Please contact Nickie directly by sending an email to or you can call her Monday through Friday from 10am-6pm at (510) 501-7501.