You’ve decided you want to hire a doula for your upcoming birth, but you’re not sure how to go about finding one, especially finding the right one for you. Use these guidelines to help you in your search:
Ask other parents
Word of mouth is powerful. The past experiences of your like-minded friends and acquaintances with their doulas are often the most accurate reflection of a doula’s services. Talk to people you trust who share similar philosophies and goals for labor and birth and find out what they liked or didn't like about their doula.
Find a doula who is respected in the community
It takes time and skill for a doula to build up trust and respect for herself, both among parents and among health professionals, but once she does, this reputation can be a useful guide for you. (Of course, newer doulas who are well on their way to earning respect can be a good fit too.) Ask your midwife, doctor, childbirth educator or other doulas for recommendations and they are likely to point you to the most reputable doulas in your area.
Make sure the doula's only agenda is your birth
Sometimes, doulas have negative feelings toward a certain care provider, birth place or even the medical establishment in general. As a doula, she must not let her own personal feelings play any role in supporting your labor and birth experience. Her job is to support you and give you resources and information to help you make choices for yourself. You should never feel like you need to apologize to your doula for your choices or feel that you are not receiving her full support. When interviewing doulas, ask if there are places they will not attend births or if they have any opinions about your care provider. Their answers will help you weed out doulas who might let their bias get in the way of your birth experience.
Consider her certification
Some doulas have gone through formal training and a certification process and others have not. This does not necessarily reflect on how good she is at her job, but being certified through a recognized organization such as DONA International, CAPPA or ToLabor does mean that she has committed to uphold the organization’s code of ethics, stay within her scope of practice, and is accountable for her actions. Certification also gives you an avenue of recourse if anything happens that you feel should be reported. These organizations also have online directories of their certified doulas where you can find some names that will help start your search.
Consider her experience
There are some excellent doulas with a natural ability to help and comfort a laboring mother, who have only attended a few births. We support and applaud these doulas as they get started on their journeys, and often you may be able to find a new doula who will offer services at a lower cost so that she can gain experience. But, do keep in mind that experience is the best teacher, and a seasoned doula who has attended hundreds of births will have learned from many different situations and may be better equipped to help with whatever situation your labor brings than a brand new doula.
Trust your gut
One of the most important factors in hiring a doula is how you feel around her. Do you connect with each other? Does her personality suit yours? Does her presence put you at ease or make you uncomfortable? Can she answer even your toughest questions? Everyone is different and the same doula is not going to be right for everyone. Trust that you know yourself best and know what you need. Labor and birth is a time when you are vulnerable and you’ll need someone who you trust completely and whose presence is calming and comforting.
What other tips would you share with parents to help them find the right doula? Leave a comment below!
Copyright 2015 © All Rights Reserved
Plumtree Baby, LLC