|Posted on August 16, 2010 at 9:23 PM|
A Doula, aside from your partner, might be the only person chosen by you to at your birth; your ‘Perfect’ Midwife or Doctor might not be on-call at the time of your labour, you may (or may not) like the Nurse that is assigned to you, and there may be times when you may (or may not) want your partner present (I know there were times when I certainly did not want my husband there!) It is therefore essential that you find the perfect fit for you.
Before hiring any Doula, you should interview at least a few (I recommend that you interview at least three). Remember, this is your big day; you need to find the right person for you. The following is meant as a guide (and checklist) to use during the interview process to help you select the right Doula for you:
• What is her Doula training? Is she certified, and by whom? Does she have any additional training (CPR, massage, aromatherapy, TENS, breastfeeding support, etc.). But remember, training isn’t everything. Most of what a Doula does is hands-on so you should make sure that she can apply anything that she has learned.
• What is her experience level? How many births has she attended as a Doula? But numbers are not everything though. What good is a Doula that has been to 10 highly medical births especially if you are planning something different?
• What is her birth philosophy? How about Breastfeeding? Does she have children of her own? If yes, how did she birth her children and did she breastfeed? Why or why not?
• Can she provide professional references? More importantly, can she provide references from women whom had similar births to what you are planning?
• What is the scope of the Doula services she is offering? How many prenatal and postpartum visits; and how long are they? Can she help with breastfeeding or postpartum adjustment questions? Can she help connect you with resources in the community?
• What is the Doula’s fee? Will she accept a payment plan or is she willing to barter for her services? Is she willing to offer her services on a sliding-scale with proof of income, if the situation calls for it (remember, my core belief is that every woman whom wants a Doula should have one at her birth)?
• What is her availability and how busy is she? Will she be able to provide dedicated care or is she overbooked. Does she have a back-up Doula for emergency situations or to cover her if she is out of town? Can you meet the back-up?
• Has the Doula worked with your chosen care providers? If yes, ask them about her and what it is like working with her at a birth.
• How does she see her role during the birth? What do you need from her and/or want her to do during birth? What are ways she plans to include your partner in birth?
I always suggest to all of my interviewers that you interview at least 3 Doulas to ensure that you find a great fit. If you only know one Doula, ask her for two more contacts. You need to have a Doula that is well connected within her community, as this is the nature of the business. Would you hire a wedding planner that knows of only one florist? Not likely. Doulas, like wedding planners, are networkers and have lots of contacts, especially other Doulas.
Now is the time to honest with yourself. Determine exactly what it is you are looking for and then try to find a Doula that has experience in the style of birth that you want to have. VBAC, homebirth, homebirth in the hospital, and waterbirth are all niches that Doulas are passionate about. However, every birth is unique and just because a particular Doula is unfamiliar with your planned birth scenario; do not discount her as a viable option. If you like her and you feel that special connection with her and she is excited about working with you on your journey, she maybe a great fit. It is all about finding the best Doula for you.