You're pregnant, you've done a little reading, you know you want a doula to support you on your birthing journey -- wonderful! Now, how do you find doulas in your area?
- Web Search - a quick Google search of "doula (your location)" should turn up some results. It may also provide results for local professional organizations that will contain listings of doulas who are members.
- Doulamatch.net - this is a website where doulas can list information about themselves and their services. It's a nice resource because all of the information is in one place making it easy to compare potential doulas.
- Personal Referral - ask your friend/sister/cousin about doulas. Maybe they know someone to recommend, or know someone who knows someone. Hopefully they at least know what you're talking about! Additional ideas for people to talk to are your health care provider, chiropractor, prenatal yoga instructor, etc.
Once you have located the doulas in your area, choose 2-3 prospective doulas you are most interested in. Contact them to find out their availability and schedule an in person interview!
Questions to Ask a Doula
You've searched, you've narrowed, you've had that initial contact. Now the meeting is here and you actually have to interview the prospective doulas to figure out who will be the best fit to support you during your pregnancy and birth.
Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- Why did you become a doula?
- What kind of training have you had?
- Are you certified? If so, you might ask them which organization they are certified with and why they chose that particular organization.
- How long have you been in practice? Don't automatically discount newer doulas, they can still provide awesome support!
- What kind of experiences have you had as a doula? If you are hoping for a particular type of birth such as homebirth, waterbirth, VBAC, hospital birth, hypno-birth etc. you may inquire with the doula as to whether they have experience supporting that type of birth.
- Have you attended any births at _________? Your desired location of birth, may be home, a particular hospital, birthing center, etc.
- Ask for clarification on the services that they offer such as: how many prenatal and postpartum visits do you offer? What sort of topics will be covered? What is your fee? When are payments due? Do you have a contract for me to review? How many clients do you accept per month?
- When will you be "on-call" for me? What does that mean to you?
- Do you have a backup doula available in place for emergencies? Can I meet them if I am interested in doing so?
- When and where will you join me during my birthing time?
- How long do you stay during the birth? After?
- What are your greatest strengths as a doula?
- What is your birth philosophy?
- How do you see your role at my birth?
- How do you feel about the use of medication/interventions during birth?
- Do you offer any other services that I might be interested in? Some doulas also offer photography, placenta encapsulation, postpartum support, etc.
- What are the next steps if I want to hire you?
Questions to Ask Yourself After the Interviews
You've done the work, now it's time to make a decision! Here are some questions that may help you decide which doula is the right one for you:
- Is there anyone I want to eliminate due to the information I now have? Perhaps they don't have the qualifications you're looking for, or they haven't had experience with the particular type of birth you're seeking, etc.
- Is there anyone I'm particularly interested in due to the information I now have? Perhaps they have a strength that appeals to you, or offer additional services you are interested in, etc.
- Do all these doulas seem truly supportive of me? You want your doula to be open to whatever your choices and desires are for your birth. A doula is someone you are hiring specifically to support you on your journey to your best birth. Does the doula have an agenda of their own, or can you count on them to support you no matter what?
- Who did I "click" most with? You must feel comfortable with your doula! It's an important decision whom you choose to invite into your birthing time and you want to feel good around them! The doula who is the best fit for you may/may not be the one with the most experience or the one who is most obviously like you.
Once you have explored your options, gathered necessary information, and done some exploration of your own opinions you will be able to choose the doula who is perfect for you!