I’ve been working as a professional birth partner or doula for nearly 10 years, heres my top ten tips for choosing the best doula for you.
Congratulations you are making a smart choice by deciding to hire a doula.
1, Word of mouth, if you’re recommended a doula by a friend or family member then make sure to contact her.
2, Avoid any doula with hidden extras, the doula who charges you for the cab to the birth or who will add costs to your bill for her food and drink during the birth. Ask about costs.
3, The doula with “DOULA” branding, its fine to pass a card or leaflet but I’m suspicious of doulas who wear t shirts with their logo and number on.
4, A control freak doula, I’ve witnessed a doula tell a women “your birth will be s*** if you don’t hire me ” eek run, run from this kind of doula.
5, The same goes for if your doula has a negative attitude to anything you want, its YOUR birth not hers.
6, The doula who talks endlessly about how perfect her births were, this is YOUR birth. Its your story not hers. Good doulas try to never mention their own births incase it influences their clients choices in anyway.
7, Hire a doula who has trained with a respected expert, I did my course with Michel Odent a retired OB who attended thousands of natural births as well as medicated births,There are many great courses but there are also lots of crap ones, do a bit of research, many many people are “training” doulas, the truth is there is no course that can prepare your for working with women the way actually getting to births will.
8, Consider whether you need a doula, do you need to hire a doula? I’m not suggesting you substitute your mother or sister,(many a birth has been stalled because the mothers mother is around!) eeek ! I’m suggesting that after reading about birth, watching videos on natural birth and believing in your body’s ability to birth that you might find that you hire a doula and when you go into labour never get round to calling her ! This isn’t an issue for most doula’s as they usually cover this in their contract or agreement. As the client you need to ask about what if I don’t call you to the birth? Some doulas will charge full price, some a percentage and some just the deposit, take into account that the toughest part of the job of birth partner is being on call, 24/7 for weeks on end its exhausting.
9, Do NOT hire a doula who has a negative attitude to midwives or other health professionals, i’ve heard of doulas telling clients to go against the recommendations of midwives, its ok to question why a decision is being made or ask for time to think but to refuse on the say so of a doula is not on. Doulas are NOT health professionals, we are hired to secure your emotional well being.
10, Be wary of doulas who don’t use a contract or agreement of any kind, they often change their minds or fail to turn up when called to a birth and you could be left out of pocket.
I love love love attending births its an honour and a privilege and I remember every single birth I’ve attended.