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Your due date is approaching, and you’ve done ALL of the research on pregnancy and labor. Your partner will be with you in the delivery room, but you’re wondering if you might need more support; for both of you. A doula is a great option to prep you for your trial of labor, delivery room support, and postpartum assistance. How do you choose a doula? You keep reading this blog post, that’s how!!!
Check Out DONA
DONA International is the organization for doulas. DONA provides training and certification for doulas across the globe, including birth doulas and postpartum doulas. If you want a doula that is worth her salt, she will have a DONA certification (or will be working towards it). This should be the first website you visit when you begin your search for a doula. Not only are you able to search for DONA certified doulas in your area on this site, you can also learn EVERYTHING there is to know about what a doula does, how she does it, and what to look for when hiring a doula.
Other resources you can look into include DoulaMatch.net (this is where I found my doula!). Local hospitals and birth centers might also have a few doulas on tap that with which they have a good rapport. Also, don’t forget to check out natural food stores and yoga studios. Many of these co-op style, holistic based businesses have connections to doulas.
Schedule an Interview
Once you’ve conducted a good amount of research, it’s time to find a few doulas and schedule some interviews! Yay! Exciting! Try to connect with 2 or 3 doulas to interview. Trust me, you may not think so now, but once you get into that birthing room, you’re going to be pretty picky about who you do and do not want in there with you. Interviewing more than one doula helps you to make sure you choose the right person for your birthing experience.
It’s okay if you don’t know how to interview for a doula. DONA has a great interview script you can follow on their How to Hire a Doula page. I used this hiring guide for my doula interviews, and it helped tremendously with making sure the doula we hired was the right one.
I conducted my interviews over the phone and in person. We decided to meet at a coffee shop for our in-person interviews. The neutral location helped keep things professional, and we were able to get some pastries and coffee. Which is awesome regardless of whether or not you are pregnant.
Things to keep in mind when you’re interviewing:
- This woman will see you naked. And not just naked. She will see all of your bid-ness. All of it.
- Remember that she will be there as a support person, and unless she’s also a nurse or a midwife she will not be able to provide medical assistance in the form of communicating your wishes to your care team, or by any physical exams or interventions.
- Hiring a doula is an investment, and she will work her butt off for you. Believe me. Doula’s are worth their weight in gold and she will be worth every single penny of your investment. But her fee’s shouldn’t break your bank. If hiring her is going to put a serious ding in your budget, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of having a doula and not having one. And if a doula is a must have, but her fees are looking a little out of your budget, talk to her about your options. Many doulas are very reasonable and receptive to your family’s needs, and may be able to work out a payment plan.
After your interviews, you will have to decide who to hire. The best advice I can give you? Go with your gut. Trust your instinct on which person is going to be the best doula for you. If the person you are leaning towards has only attended one birth, and is currently working towards her DONA certification, that’s perfectly okay. Inexperience does not equal unqualified.
The doula we hired was amazing, and she was working towards her certification and had only attended one birth prior to mine (minus her own births). And I was totally fine with her not being officially certified. She had the training. She had the experience of her own births. And she had a personality that just clicked with mine and my husbands.
Plus, I knew that working with her meant that she was one step closer to gaining her DONA certification, which would allow her to continue working with other women who want to hire amazing doulas like her. Which made me feel pretty good.
Lastly, remember that this is your birth experience and yours alone. Don’t let anyone try to deter you from hiring a doula because it’s a luxury or an unnecessary expense. Like I said earlier, doulas are worth their weight in gold and I honestly can’t imagine what my labor would have been like without mine. Hubby agrees, and also couldn’t imagine going through my labor without her (if you want to read about my labor, check out our story here!).
Long story short, treat yo’self and get a doula, mama. You won’t regret it.