How can I pick the right doula for me? Where do I even start?

You might be nervous about interviewing doulas. Or unsure what steps to take first.

Start with identifying what you want from your doula. Reassurance? Physical support and comfort during labor? Specialized expertise in attending twin births or VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)? Knowing what you want is the first step to making sure you get it! Likewise, a good doula finds out what you want and works toward that, instead of offering a “one size fits all” service.

Keep in mind that the doula who is right for you may not be the one who has attended the most births, but could be the one who can offer the support you need and with whom you and your partner “click” the best.

Consider the following when you’re speaking to a doula you’re thinking about hiring:

  • How much time does she spend doing the talking during your conversation? How much time does she spend listening to you? A good doula listens a lot!
  • How much does she include your partner in her questions and discussions?
  • Do you feel able to speak your mind with her or are you worried about what she will think?
  • Do you feel this is someone you would enjoy getting to know and appreciate having present at your birth?
  • What kind of formal training or work experience has she had as a doula?

Some doulas have had basic training with a weekend workshop, while others have done months of extensive study, and some have been trained “on the job” with no formal schooling; is there a particular training background that is important to you? Check the website of your doula’s training organization to find out more about her formal qualifications. You can find out about Childbirth International training programs here.

If there is something specific you are looking for, or a particular concern you have, ask her how she has supported other parents in your situation. In the end, listen to your instincts!