Choosing a Doula

Choosing the right doula for you may seem like a daunting task.  So many personalities and experience levels to choose from.  For some, knowing where to start can be a barrier to starting the search at all.

Once you get started you may wonder how many people you need to interview before you find the right one.  I don’t think there’s a formula for how the search should be done, but do think that there are universal indicators that might help you sense whether you have found the right one for you.

For one, there has to be chemistry.  You’ll recognize this by how easily you click with the person.  This is something that could totally happen with the first doula you consult! You’ll know when you feel it. 

Second, really feel out what’s important to you.  Do you want a doula who can give you her undivided attention?  Is the training a doula receives important to you?  How about the length or type of experience she has?  Do you want a doula with similar beliefs?

Probably most importantly, you will want to be comfortable with this person.  Birth works best when women feel safe.  Which means that you will benefit the greatest by having a doula present that has that effect on you.

Here’s a handout written by Childbirth International that has some additional insights:

Choosing a Doula

When you are ready to start searching for a doula, how you do that will depend on your preferences and resources.

Local mom groups are a great way to get suggestions and also hear/read testimonials.  Either general mom forums or ones that target a particular parenting style will both work.  Social media outlets like Meetup.com, Cafemom, and Facebook all have groups like this.

If you are not part of a local group, there are meet ups that are hosted by organizations like Amazing Births and Beyond.  Amazing Births and Beyond is local to my area, but I’m sure a quick Google map search will get you well on your way.

If that’s not your style, then see below for a list of accrediting organizations that offer “doula finders”.  It might help to do a little research and get a feel for what the organization is about.  While that won’t define how a doula practices, it’s a good place to start.  It will give you a glimpse into what her course work was like and what ideals she identifies with as far as birth and support goes.             
 
Childbirth International – Find a Doula 

Dona – Find a Doula

Birth Arts – Find a Doula

Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association – Member Search

The International Childbirth Education Association- Member Directory

The Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators – Find a Doula

This list is not exhaustive.  If you know of an organization I have not listed then let me know and I’ll add it.

If you hired a doula for your birth, I’d love to learn about how you went about it.

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