Hearts & Hands UCSD Volunteer Doula Program


Becoming a Hearts & Hands Doula


How to become a UCSD Hearts & Hands Volunteer Doula

No prior experience is necessary but a very flexible schedule is needed, plus the emotional and physical stamina to attend long labors. 

We welcome experienced doulas, and those who have never attended a birth yet. 

On-site training, mentoring, and continuing education is provided for our doulas  in return for a minimum commitment of being on-call twice a month for at least six months.

The average time our doulas stay at a birth is 12-14 hours, but it may be quite a bit shorter or considerably longer. Since a doula often needs to rest after a birth,  we only offer to volunteer when we don't have other commitments near the dates we've chosen to to be on the schedule. (We recommend that a doula has a 48-hour period of time available when on call.)

Steps to Becoming a Hearts & Hands Doula

The following are general guidelines for volunteering in our program.

Step 1

Attend our two-day Introductory Doula Training held at the UCSD Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla. Call the Doula Office at 858-249-5935 or email Ann Fulcher, afulcher@ucsd.edu, for more information and to sign up.

Step 2

After attending the training, we'll connect you with UCSD Volunteer Services to complete certain requirements (including an interview, safety training, and TB test). You will also be asked to provide childhood immunization records and obtain a volunteer ID badge before assisting at a birth as a UCSD volunteer. 

Step 3

Attend a half-day tour/orientation to the hospital with Hearts & Hands staff. The tour may be done prior to completing Volunteer Services requirements.

Step 4

Once you have attended our training and tour, finished the Volunteer Services Department requirements and received your ID badge, you are ready to sign up on the doula schedule with a mentor. 


Step 5

You can work alongside mentor doulas for a few births until the Hearts & Hands staff, the mentors, and you all agree that you are ready to solo. The number of births attended before new doulas go solo will vary depending on each trainee's prior experience, knowledge, and comfort level.

Step 6

Once you have completed your training and are ready to be a solo volunteer doula, you may sign up to the on-call schedule whenever you want. Congratulations! 

(Reminder: the minimum commitment to stay active in this program is two on-call shifts per month. We also highly recommend attendance at our monthly meetings and other educational workshops.)

Thank you for your interest in becoming a UCSD Hearts & Hands Volunteer Doula  

Let us know how we can help!

Why Volunteer

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