Your birth will impact the rest of your life. The people you have present will forever be in your memories so we know how important it is to choose the right team. Here are some tips to choose your doula.
Meet Face to Face
Most doulas offer free consultations and you should definitely take advantage of this! There are many important factors that will play into how your doula fits with your birth team, but in my opinion, the most important is how her personality meshes with yours.
Are you looking for a doula that feels more motherly or grandmotherly? Maybe you prefer a doula that is more sister or best-friend like. Are you looking for someone laid back and quiet or someone with an upbeat personality to distract you with jokes.
Do you prioritize someone with a lot of trainings? Are you hoping for a bag of tricks doula?
We all know the kinds of people we feel most comfortable with. That’s the kind of person you want to choose as your doula. How will you know if a doula is this person? Schedule a consultation and meet with her. Go to a Meet the Doulas event and meet with many doulas. Take a free class that she offers, sit in the background like a creepy stalker person and watch her. I don’t care how you go about seeing your potential doula in person, just see her. Don’t try to choose your doula without meeting her in person!
What Matters to You
After you have decided on a doula or two that are likely a good fit, its time to details. Here is a list of things that might be important to you:
- What training has she received?
- What experience does she have?
- Is she available around when you are due?
- Is she experienced with your birth location or provider?
- What services are available?
- Does she have experience with your specific situation?
- What is her price/your budget?
- What is her on call policy?
- General instincts about having the doula in your home or private space
There are many training and certification agencies and paths to being a doula. Some are in person. Some are online. There are doulas who train through internship. All methods of becoming a doula teach different philosophies and have different scope of practice. There are excellent doulas on every path. The best thing you can do here is take a look at how she was trained. Learn about their scope of practice and general birth philosophies. Determine if she is experienced in the things you are looking for, such as counter pressure. Has she taken other trainings that would benefit you? Some doulas have extra training in breastfeeding support, carseat safety, postpartum care, etc.
How many births has she been to? Has she attended births at your birth location or with your provider. Were they positive experiences. Does she have experience in your specific situation, such as VBAC experience, multiples, high risk, unmedicated, epidural, home birth, or hospital, etc. Do you need postpartum help to? Are you hoping for sleep suggestions or breastfeeding support?
How many other births will this doula take around your due date? When does she go on call? For example, many doulas go on call at 37 or 38 weeks but we go on call immediately when our contract is signed. Does she have a back up in place?
Does this doula offer a package in your price range? Maybe she will accept payments and it’s possible she will barter.
Does she feel like a good fit?
We are back to meshing and I still feel like this is the most important. Most of the time when I meet with new clients, they just know that I’m the right doula for them. I think it’s important for both parents to feel at ease with the doula and its preferable if they can both be at the interview. Our doulas are trained to doula the whole family and we place high priority on everyone being comfortable. Do your older children like her and how about your dog? When you choose your doula, make sure she fits the needs you have and feels right to you!