There’s nothing like knowing exactly what you need, but having no idea where to find it.You’ve read the Evidence Based Birth article; you know what the benefits are of adding a doula to your birth team. You and your partner (if you have one) are on the same page…you are NOT having this baby without a doula present! But, how should you go about finding a doula in your area? Well, hiring a doula is a lot like dating – after all, you want the chemistry to be right. You are going to be sharing some very intimate moments together. You need to tru-u-ust your doula implicitly. Just a few of the many things to keep in mind when dreaming up your ideal doula include the doula’s ability to be respectful of your religion or lack thereof, sexual identity, and family make-up. Most doulas will tell you that it’s a good idea to interview two to three candidates before making your decision. So, how will you go about lining up your prospects? Look no further than this short list of doula finding resources.
- I recommend starting with local doula collectives in your area. Most collectives require that their members agree to abide by a set of common practices and/or philosophies in order to become a member. Collectives also usually hold regularly scheduled membership meetings during which continuing education opportunities are discussed or offered. Here in the Sacramento Area, we have the Capital City Doula Collective – home to a wealth of birth related service providers including, but not limited to, birth and postpartum doulas, childbirth educators, placenta encapsulators, and bodywork providers such as prenatal chiropractors and massage therapists. Do a simple search for doula collectives in your area to see what comes up!
- You can also find out if there are any groups in your area that hold Meet the Doula events. At a typical MTD event, the leader will provide a brief overview of the roles and scope of practice of both a birth and postpartum doula. There may be a quick introduction of the doulas in attendance, followed by a Q&A session, a meet and greet, or something like speed dating (I told you finding a doula was like dating!) – during which you will get to speak to each doula for a few minutes. Before we break out into a meet and greet session at Capital City Doula Collective Meet the Doula events, we present a variety of skits to demonstrate the role of doulas and how we can help you achieve your birth goals. Most doulas will bring pamphlets and business cards with them so you can arrange to meet with those doulas that spark your interest for a lengthier interview – these interviews or consultations are usually free and typically last about an hour.
3. Birth worker listing sites such as DoulaMatch and Expecting are some other great options for finding a doula in your area. Birth and postpartum doulas list their services on these sites – including their fees, certifications and experience, as well as their service area. Past clients upload testimonials to the sites so you can get a better sense of the quality of services each doula offers. They are super user-friendly search options – check them out!
4. Ask your care provider – whether she or he is an OB or a midwife! Both types of care providers interact with doulas on a regular basis – probably more so in metropolitan areas, but doulas are on the rise all over the world! There are many doulas out there that have great working relationships with care providers, so don’t hesitate to ask your care provider for a referral. A referral from your C.P. is a great way to ensure that your doula will be warmly received in your birthing room.
5. And, finally, word of mouth is a great avenue for finding a doula. If you, or someone close to you, knows someone who has hired a doula in the past, talk to them about their birth experience. Be sure to ask lots of questions about how their doula enhanced their birth, including the types of services she/he provided (yep…there are some fabulous male doulas out there, too!). Finally, get their contact information and book that consultation!
Best of luck on your doula finding adventure! If you live in the Sacramento Area and would like to meet with me for a free no-pressure consultation to find out about my birth doula services, visit my website or contact me directly at email@example.com.