How to Choose a Doula


Okay so you have been pregnant for quite a few weeks now and not only is your body doing these weird things your brain is on overload. Maybe you’ve read a couple of pregnancy books, watched a ton of youtube videos or perhaps you’ve taken a childbirth class and came across the term “doula”. I’m sure your first thought was what the heck is a doula.

I am glad that the word doula sparked an interest for you to further explore the term. Well, a doula is someone who is well versed in labor and delivery. Doula is a greek word that stands for “Woman Caregiver”. In todays culture a doula is considered an experienced labor companion who provides women and partners continuous emotional support, physical comfort and assistance in obtaining information before, during and after child birth.

When deciding on how to choose a doula, you should first consider what it is that you need. Doulas play many different roles.

Here is a list of the different types of doulas on the market:

  • Birth Doula
  • Postpartum Doula
  • Antepartum Doula
  • Bereavement Doula

Do not get confused. The terminology used before the term doula specifies their skill set or what their main focus is on. Birth doulas are typically present for the labor & delivery portion of pregnancy. However, many of them do partake in a postpartum visit.

Postpartum doulas focuses on caring for the family after baby is home. The role of a postpartum doula may be assisting with breast feeding, helping with daily chores around the house and providing the emotional & physical support that one may desperately need.

Antepartum doulas are skilled in serving mothers that are considered a high risk pregnancy and a bereavement doula supports parents who suffered a loss.

Should I hire a certified doula?

Honestly it is a preference. There are many bodies that can certify a doula. One may not necessarily be better than the other, but there are some organizations that are largely known (DONA International, Childbirth International, and BirthArts International).

You may find a great doula that is not certified but is experienced and has completed training.

Where can I find a doula?

The first thing you can do is ask your provider for any recommendations. There are also search engines geared to finding doulas. My favorite site is doulamatch.net

You can also find doulas on Dona’s website or BirthArts website. These websites only post doulas that are certified through their organization.

Google is also a great platform to use to search doulas near you.


Once you find a doula reach out to them and set up an interview in a safe public place. Remember the interview is a two way street. You may ask the doula questions to see if you’re a great fit and the doula may ask the same to determine if they can best serve you.

What questions should I ask?

When selecting a doula find out what type of births they have assisted in. Are they experienced in vaginally delivery, c-sections or epidural use? Look to see if they have any specialized skills. Some doulas offer encapsulations, aromatherapy or belly binding. There are tons of other services provided but that is just to name a few.

Here’s a list of some questions to ask:

  • Are you certified (if yes, through what organization/agency)
  • What training have you received
  • Why did you get into this field
  • What is your fee
  • What services are provided

Tips

When hiring a doula you are potentially inviting this person into your home and place of birth. Both areas are sacred. Go with your gut. If a positive vibe is not there continue your search.

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