How to choose a Doula (A guest post from Cathy Norton)

29 Feb

How to Choose a Doula

Working with a doula through your pregnancy, birth, and first weeks of parenting can be an amazing and rewarding experience. She will come to know you on a personal level and support you throughout the whole process with encouragement and care. But how should you go about finding the right doula? Here are the steps you should take.
1. Decide What You’re Looking For – There are many different reasons why a couple may want to give birth with a doula. You may be looking for emotional support and reassurance during your first birth. On the other hand, you may want someone with expertise in a certain area such as twin births. Since doula styles and philosophies can vary greatly, it’s important that you decide on the qualities you’re looking for in a doula before you start your search.
2. Make a List – The next step is to make a list of doulas you want to interview. Most couples start looking around the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy, so that they have plenty of time to decide. The best way to start looking is through personal contacts, since they will give you recommendations you can trust. You can ask your friends with children, obstetrician or midwife, or even the instructor of your childbirth course if you took one. Another good place to look is through doula certification organization websites. Many of these websites will have referral lists and search options for local areas. You can also look on doula search engines or simply Googling doulas in your local area, but it’s important that you make sure they are certified.
3. Phone Interviews – Once you have a list of doulas you’d like to interview, call them up so that you can narrow down your list. When you make these calls, ask basic questions about availability around your due date, experience, price, and approach/philosophy. If one isn’t available, you might also ask if she has other recommendations. The other purpose of making these phone calls is for first impressions – you should look for those you feel comfortable with and can relate to.
4. Meetings – Plan to meet with three or four doulas from your phone calls. Even if you click with the first one you meet, it’s good to meet with a few others just to be sure. Prepare a list of questions in advance – you can find good doula questions online if you need help. While all your candidates may have good answers, it’s important that you listen to your instincts and choose the doula that feels right to you.
Cathy Norton has worked as a Registered Nurse in various hospitals for over 20 years. She also owns the site Becoming a CNA which offers resources for those looking to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.

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