Heart & Hands Midwifery Intensives

Elizabeth Davis, Director/Instructor

Purpose | Who May Attend | Format | Course Content | Skills & Demonstrations

Schedule, Fees & Registration | Upon Completion | The Instructor

Elizabeth Davis (bottom row, center) with Heart & Hands students


The HEART & HANDS MIDWIFERY INTENSIVES course was founded by Elizabeth Davis in 1982, at the request of birth assistants seeking to acquire practical midwifery skills. Over the years and by demand, the course evolved to include basic introductory information and emphasis on the intuitive, interpersonal skills essential to effective midwifery care. The purpose of the HEART & HANDS MIDWIFERY INTENSIVES course is to provide students with a strong and integrated foundation in the art and science of midwifery.


HEART & HANDS MIDWIFERY INTENSIVES are ideal for those interested in discovering their unique relationship to the art and practice of midwifery. Students in the health field, psychotherapists, nutritionists, body-workers, mothers/gestational parents—anyone who desires to empower mothers/gestational parents and their supporters in the act of giving birth is welcome to attend.

The class is designed to accommodate students at various levels of sophistication. No prerequisites—beginners are always welcome!


HEART & HANDS class is designed to encourage students to incorporate life experience in their learning process. We work in circle, and support each others’ work empathetically in an open, egalitarian fashion. Groups are small: close personal attention enables students to integrate theory with practice as they consult with their peers.

Also available is HEART & HANDS course work for offsite students. Ten beginning and three advanced modules combine academic material with many self-directed activities of classroom learning, spanning a 15 month period for beginning coursework, and 5 months for the advanced modules.


  • History and Politics of Midwifery
  • Prenatal Care and Complications
  • Counseling and Communication Skills
  • Intuition, Shamanic Midwifery, Boundaries in Care-giving
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Sexuality in the Childbearing Cycle, Sexual Abuse Issues
  • Facilitating Labor and Supporting Physiologic Birth
  • Labor Complications and Transport
  • Perineal Assessment and Repair
  • Newborn Complications and Neonatal Testing
  • Postpartum Care, Breastfeeding, and Parentl/Newborn Adjustments
  • Homeopathy and Herbs in Pregnancy and Birth
  • Licensing in California and National Certification (CPM)


Onsite, students have hands-on practice of blood pressure, pulse and fundal height assessments, fetal heart auscultation and palpation, pelvic and cervical examination, nutritional analysis, intramuscular injections, and suturing.

Demonstrations are made of set-up for delivery, perineal support and newborn exam. Hand maneuvers for shoulder dystocia, posterior arrest, compound presentation, retained placenta, and breech birth are also demonstrated.

Offsite students will find, whenever feasible, instructions in their modules for the self-directed acquisition of skills cited above.


Onsite course meets eight weekend days in Sebastopol, CA (downtown, an hour north of San Francisco). Tuition is $1775, payable with a $525 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit (made out to Elizabeth Davis), with balance payable in full or in per class installments due by date of course completion. Missed classes can be made up in any subsequent series (space permitting) at cost commensurate with current fees for the series. Upon completion of the beginning course, students may enroll in the advanced course, which costs $725 and meets three weekend days in Sebastopol, CA.

To register for the onsite beginning course, send your contact info (including email), a brief, birth-related bio (or resume), and $525 deposit (in check or money order made out to Elizabeth Davis), to 3201 Burnside Rd., Sebastopol, CA 95472. I will email a confirmation letter with all the details, including required textbooks and their cost.

Offsite fees for the beginning course are $1775, but are payable in advance. Register by sending fees and the above info, but also please include a brief self-assessment of your ability to do distance learning. I will email the modules in Word format, which you will also be able to access through the NMI student portal. Again, textbooks are a separate cost; please contact me for details.

Offsite students may also attend onsite classes in the Sebastopol location for $100 per class (fees subject to change without notice; check here for current rate). All fees are payable in advance; space is not guaranteed until fees are paid. Once space is confirmed, fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. Certain classes are especially rich in hands-on practice–contact me for schedule and details.

Questions? (707) 695-6520


Students seeking further instruction may wish to enroll in the National Midwifery Institute, Inc. (a MEAC accredited program recognized by the CA Medical Board) that incorporates Heart & Hands course work. Enrollees in NMI receive full credit for previously completed Heart & Hands course work, and all tuition paid to Elizabeth Davis is deducted from the initial down payment.

Academic credit for Heart & Hands course work has also been granted by National College of Midwifery, Birthwise Midwifery School, and Midwives College of Utah (by portfolio process). For students applying to these or other midwifery programs, letters of recommendation/class syllabus are available on request.

Additionally, this course covers core curriculum and many basic skills of Midwife Assistant Training.


ELIZABETH DAVIS, C.P.M., B.A. has been a midwife, educator, and reproductive health care specialist for 40 years.

She served as Pacific Regional Representative and the Education Committee chair for the Midwives Alliance of North America, President of Midwifery Education Accreditation Council, and consultant to the State of California’s Alternative Birthing Methods Study. She holds a degree in Holistic Maternity Care, and is NARM certified. She is co-founder of the National Midwifery Institute, Inc.

Her books include:
Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience
Heart & Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy and Birth (now in its 5th edition)
The Rhythms of Women’s Desire: How Female Sexuality Unfolds at Every Stage of Life
The Women’s Wheel of Life