- Get a List of Names– There are both national and local doula organizations that have listings of their members. On the national level, DONA (Doulas of North America) and Doula Match are great places to start. Your city or region most likely has a local doula organization, too. For example, Doulas of Greater St. Louis is the organization in my area.
- Get Personal Recommendations– Remember that friend of yours who had a doula-supported birth? Find out her doula’s name! Ask her if she’d be willing to share specific details about her birth and the doula’s role in it. Was her experience with the doula positive? Would she recommend this doula to others?
- Make a Handful of Phone Calls– Find out the logistics of their services offered. What’s their fee? What specifically do they provide for that fee? Do they have back-up doulas? How much experience do they have? Do they have references?
- Schedule a Meeting with 2-3 Doulas– Nearly all doulas will offer an initial consultation with prospective clients free of charge. The purpose of this meeting is for you, and the doula, to decide if they are the right fit for you.
- Go With Your Gut! – While factors such as finances are obviously a deciding factor when hiring a doula, I cannot stress enough just how important it is to trust your instincts. How did you feel when speaking to the doula on the phone and in person? What kind of vibe did you get from her? Remember, this woman will be present with you while in your most vulnerable state. During birth, it’s extremely important for women to be surrounded by people who put her at ease. Choose carefully!
- Strapped For Cash? – If financial difficulties are a roadblock for you, there are other options for hiring a doula. Doulas-in-training usually offer their services for free or a small fee. Additionally, most doulas are willing to be flexible with finances if asked and may offer: payment plans, a sliding fee scale and/or bartering. If you deeply desire a doula’s presence for your birth, don’t give up!
The birth of your child is a once-in-a-lifetime event and the right doula can be a priceless addition to your birth experience!
By Expert Mommy, Sarah Baker