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How do I choose a doula?

For Parents: Choosing a Doula

When parents find out that I work as a doula, the number one question I am asked is, “what should potential parents look for in a doula?”

New mothers are constantly bombarded with opinions about how they should experience their pregnancy and give birth. Everyone from grandparents to co-workers has an opinion on the big do’s and dont’s of pregnancy.

Because we are each uniquely and wonderfully made, every mother is different. Every birth I different. Each pregnancy is different. Likewise, what is a must for one mommy can be a hard pass for another. Pregnancy is your individual motherhood journey.

It is wonderful to get advice. But wisdom in parenting demands that you choose as the mother what is best for your family and to be resourceful in addressing your family’s needs.

Doulas are a huge resource to new mothers, whether they are first time mothers or not.

We offer emotional, physical, and spiritual support to mothers as they navigate a vulnerable time in the growth of their family.

Sometimes provider choices can be limited by affordability, MD accommodations, or even health insurance carriers. The best thing a new mother can do is exercise her power to choose a doula that can support her in having the birth experience she wants and see her through that experience.

Birth is unpredictable, but it does not have to be scary if everyone involved is educated, informed and respectful of the birth family’s choices.

Here are my the ten most important questions to ask when hiring a doula:

1. How was she trained? Where has she supported birth: home, hospital, birth center. Does she have testimonial to people who can speak to her professionalism and service level?

2. What is her experience? Is she a mother? Has she studied birth outside of personal experience? Is she competent enough to support you? This will be different for each couple.

3. What do her services include? Are hours of support or care clearly defined? Is her role clearly defined?

4. What are her fees? What does she charge? Is her fee competitive? How does she want to be paid?

5. Does she work alone? Does she have a backup in place? Does she have local referrals available?

6. Does she have a limit on the number of births she attends per month?

7. What is her communication system? Does she have a reliable phone? Does she respond promptly?

8. What experience does she have working with higher risk mothers, if applicable or supporting mother with any other special conditions: multiple gestation, VBAC, hypertension, diabetes?

9. What is her birth philosophy? What are her basic beliefs about birth? Are they similar to your family's beliefs about birth?

10. Do you like her and feel comfortable in her presence? Can you be honest with her? Can you trust her and still feel free to make your own decisions?

11. Do you want her at your birth?

If you are in the Houston metropolitan area and interested in any of my birth or postpartum doula services, please use this link to book a consultation with me.

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