5 Secrets for How to Hire the Best Doula in Town
Congratulations! You’re having a baby, or babies, or you’ve already given birth! In all cases, congratulations are in order.
This transition is a huge life change, and it changes your relationship with everyone in your life. It changes your identity. And these changes are smoother with the assistance of a Doula. But you don’t want just any Doula, you want the best doula.
So if you’re wondering how to hire the best labor doula OR the best postpartum doula, here are the most important steps.
1. Ask your care provider if there are any Doulas he or she recommends . . . or recommends avoiding.
Each member on your care team needs to be able to work together seamlessly, without any moderation from you while you are in labor. You’ll be pretty busy then.
If your doula does not have a good working relationship with your doctor or midwife, the result will be tension in the birth room, which will lower your natural Oxytocin levels and prolong the labor.
While you are interviewing Doulas, it’s a good sign if you ask, “do you work with my care provider?” and the response is an enthusiastic, “Oh yes, I can work well with them or any of the doctors/midwives who are in the rotation.”
Hiring the best postpartum doula for you involves checking with your pediatrician, therapist, lactation counselor or obstetrician to see if they have any recommendations. The best postpartum doulas are often networking with other professionals who serve their clientele; and in this way, they can offer you the latest information on care and services in your area.
2. Ask friends for referrals or search online for Doulas in your area.
Nothing beats a glowing referral from a trusted friend, but with Doulas only recently becoming a mainstream birth and postpartum support choice, there is still much public relations work to do.
3. Look for a Doula who is a Certified and professional doula.
Not all Doula trainings teach the same curriculum or philosophy; in fact, they are all as different as can be. Some trainings teach Doulas to be very focused on urging families to make what they feel are the “right” choices. Some trainings focus on helping Doulas provide non-judgmental support.
The best Doula is one who has been trained in multiple methods of labor and postpartum support: she is less likely to pressure you, and will instead focus on supporting the goals that you have chosen.
Because of a wide training focus, she will have the tools to help you identify strategies that you feel are right for your family.
A professional Doula will also have an elevated motivation for you to have a good experience, because this is her job, after all. She relies on positive referrals from happy clients to sustain her business.
She is also highly motivated to make you her top priority, scheduling personal and family vacations far after she will serve your family, keeping her phone fully charged and remaining accessible at all times, and by continuing her education and professional certifications.
Because a Doula who is doula-ing for a hobby does not rely on birth or postpartum work in order to support herself, she is more often motivated by a desire to promote certain birth or postpartum choices; such as natural or un-medicated birth, breastfeeding, or any other choices.
These examples are certainly very valuable and can be wonderful experiences, when chosen by the family. However, medicated birth and bottle feeding can also be wonderful experiences when chosen by the family.
The point is, when you choose what is right for your family, a professional Doula will be equipped and eager to support and validate YOUR choices.
4. Hire a Doula who has invested in her business, and therefore, in YOU.
She will have a sound business structure that involves at it’s most basic level, a legal contract. This contract will specify all the terms and conditions of service. When will she arrive? When will she leave? When can you call her? What will she do? How will payment be arranged?”
The most beneficial contract for you as the client, is one that puts you in control of the timing. If her contract states that you can contact her at anytime and she will arrive whenever you request her (allowing for travel time), and that she will be paid hourly for her support, then YOU are in complete control of when she comes and goes.
A Labor Doula contract with vague language regarding arrival time indicates that the Doula has control over when she arrives, and may delay arriving. Postpartum Doula contracts need not specify the exact scheduling of shifts, but MUST specify the total number of hours purchased.
5. Hire only a Doula with a dedicated partner or back-up.
A professional Doula will have anticipated any possible scenario that might affect her ability to serve your family, and will have established a business structure to accommodate those possibilities.
Once you’ve gone through the work of finding, interviewing and hiring a Doula, you don’t want to risk having a stranger at your birth or in your home for a postpartum shift.
The best professional Doulas will have an established partner or back-up that you meet (hopefully in the first meeting) and are given the opportunity to see how you feel about before signing the contract.
Both Doulas will then be aware of your goals and plans, the dynamic in your family, and the details that are important to your experience.
Nobody wants to dwell on the macabre, but traffic accidents and other tragedies do occur; and with the proper preparation, they need not extend to leaving your family without the support for which you’ve paid.
With these 5 steps, you will find the best birth Doula or the best postpartum Doula, and she will be prepared, able, and excited to help you have a marvelous experience.