How to choose a doula

Choose wisely

Your doula is literally your birth servant. She should be able and willing to support you in whatever way you wish as long as it doesn’t contradict her ethical code. Not only will a good doula better your chances for less pain and medical intervention during labour, she will be by your side at one of the most intimate times of your life.

Birth can be intense. Finding a doula who is a good ‘fit’ with your family will make all the difference.

Meet, greet and grill

Meet with potential doula candidates by phone or in person to get a feel of their approach, personality and level of experience. Here are a few questions to ask a potential doula:

  1. What is your background?  Few doulas started out as doulas. A doula often brings with her years of history in different jobs and of course her own personality and approach.
  2. Are you certified? By what organization? Certified doulas are held to an ethical code and should never force their beliefs on you before or during birth. A good ‘fit’ in this case might be personality, background and training and, of course, connection.
  3. What is your training and experience? The word “doula” isn’t trademarked and can be used by anyone. Ensure your doula has received training from a reputable source.
  4. How will you support me before during and after birth? Support varies between practitioners. It is important to have a clear idea of how your doula can and will support you. For instance, is she experienced in massage, relaxation techniques, breastfeeding support?
  5. What are your fees and what do they include? Fees can vary widely between doulas based on considerations such as what services are included (access by phone, photography, number of meetings / planning sessions) their education, background, experience or regional demand.
  6. Would it be OK with you if I wanted to “________” during labour? The “blank” could be anything you want or are nervous / curious / fearful about. This could be “labour for as long as possible from home”, “ask for pain killers if it gets to be too much”, “have you step in only when my husband gets tired or overwhelmed”.

Above all – trust yourself. Your ideal doula might not be the best educated or the most experienced, but she might be the best match for you on b-day.

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