Do you feel called to return to your roots and do the work that your ancestors did, as keepers of sacred birth rites?  Are you ready to remember your traditions and reclaim birth rights for yourself and your community? If the answer is yes, then these courses are for you.

Before signing up for our Birthkeeper trainings, you are required to sign up for Community Commitment dues.

Next available course dates for Labor & Birth: Oakland, CA November 9, 10, 16 & 17. Sign up here.

Next available course dates for Postpartum: Oakland, CA January 11, 12, 18 & 19. Sign up here.

Culturally Diverse (POC only) Birthkeeper Trainings

About this course:

What makes us unique?

ROOTS (Remembering Our Own Traditions Sacredly) Returning to the ancestral wisdom of those who have come before us, this training integrates the knowledge and understanding from a variety of cultures in the practices of tradition, ritual and intuition with evidence-based information on anatomy, psychology and socioeconomic influences on birth. This training is designed to give the skills and tools to reclaim birth rites for many whose traditions have been homogenized and/or forgotten.  This course is taught by an African American trainer, because representation matters. We must see ourselves in each other so that healing and remembrance can begin. 


PLEASE NOTE: This is a birthkeeper training specifically created to hold and honor a sacred space for people who identify as culturally diverse: African, Latin and Asian diaspora, Indigenous, Arab, non-white, non-pseudo privileged, non-purveyors of cultural appropriation.  The labor & birth course meets the labor doula training requirement for labor doula/birthkeeper certification and the postpartum course meets the postpartum doula training requirement for postpartum doula/birthkeeper certification.

Cornerstone Doulas and Birthkeepers are internationally recognized as leaders in birth justice and advocacy.  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.

Course outline:

Brief overview of topics covered. Our courses go into so much more. 

Topics covered in the Labor & Birth Birthkeeper training:​

  • Creating sacred space

  • Birthkeepers circle: Sharing our individual and collective birth story – our story is our medicine 

  • Roles of the birthkeeper and frame of practice

  • Prenatal and postpartum visits - what to go over and how to conduct them.

  • Anatomy and physiology of labor and birth

  • Emotional support techniques for every phase of labor

  • Supportive and therapeutic communication techniques

  • Physical support techniques for every phase of labor, including:

  • Breathing, vocalization, labor positions, counter pressure, optimal fetal positioning, movement, affirmations, touch including how to use a rebozo – Mexican prayer shawl 

  • Socio, economic and political influences on black and brown birthing people 

  • History of black midwives in the American South, a.k.a. Granny Midwives

  • The parteira and curandeira _ Latin indigenous midwife and healer & her sacred birth practices

  • The Village model of care – It takes a village, how we must all care for each other as we care for ourselves – self care, community care, raising our babies

  • Trauma informed care – responding to: generational traumas, sexual traumas, cultural traumas 

  • Labor and birth interventions – how to prepare your clients and yourselves for interventions

  • Boundaries: affirming your needs and the needs of your clients with various cultural and relationship dynamics

  • Biases – we all have them. Acknowledging and managing our biases for effectual service

  • Reproductive justice for black and brown indigenous birthing people – advocacy and activism

  • Community building, sharing resources and growing together

Topics covered in the Postpartum Birthkeeper training:

The postpartum period, also known as the fourth trimester, is a sacred and transformative time of healing, bonding, transition and integration.  The first 30 - 40 days after delivery is honored in many cultures with the daily care and nourishment of the tribe, village and family of the birthing person. In this course we explore a variety of cultural traditions for the postpartum period through food, physical, emotional and informational support. This training will prepare birthkeepers to support families of diverse cultural backgrounds in honoring their traditions of healing and bonding, while living in today’s current society.​

  • Postpartum birthkeepers roles and frame of practice

  • Holding space for the birthing person, baby and new family

  • Postpartum traditions from African, Latin, Asian and indigenous cultures

  • Common postpartum needs with cultural considerations

  • Common complaints and remedies for discomforts in the postpartum period

  • How to support a client post cesarean

  • Village Model of care – “It takes a village to raise a child”, creating village support for baby & birthing person

  • Newborn baby care & common newborn issues

  • Sleeping arrangements: co–sleeping, bed safety

  • Physiologically and psychologically nurturing sleep support techniques

  • Newborn psychological needs

  • Postpartum mood disorder spectrum and community resources

  • Creating a client centered plan in the event of a postpartum mental health crisis

  • Day and night birthkeeper work

  • Interviewing and determining if you're a good fit.

  • Boundaries - taking care of yourself and your clients.

  • Self-care & Burnout prevention

  • Trauma informed care – the tools for healing and processing birth & life experiences

  • Therapeutic communication techniques

  • Full 4 hour intensive breastfeeding support module led is included in this training.

  • Postpartum closing ceremonies – honoring the sacred healing time of new parents and baby

Dates, locations and fees:

Our trainings take place every three months in Oakland, CA and Portland, OR. 

Labor & Birth Training in OAKLAND: November 9, 10, 16 & 17. Saturdays & Sundays from 9am-5pm.  Course fee is $800.00. Sign up here

Postpartum Training in OAKLAND: September 21, 22, 28 & 29. Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-5pm each day. Course fee is $775.00. Sign up here

Next available course dates will be posted when these courses are full to capacity.


Certification is not required to practice. If you'd like to become certified through Cornerstone, these are our requirements:

Labor & Birth Birthkeeper certification requirements:


Complete our certification packet (can download in our store) that includes auditing a CBE course, required reading, essays, creating a resource list, a hospital tour and glossary assignment.​

Postpartum Birthkeeper certification requirements:

  • Infant CPR and First Aid certification

Certification awarded after attending full training, plus showing proof of CPR/First aid certification.


These courses meet the labor and birth doula training certification requirement and postpartum doula training certification requirements.​ For more info on certification and if it's for you, please read our Statement on Certification.

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Photos: Walter Ford and @ourkindafamily