1. Experience and Training – Is your doula professional trained?
When searching for a doula near you, it’s important to consider their experience and training. Look for a doula who has attended a reputable doula training program and has experience supporting women during labor and delivery. Ask for references and read reviews from previous clients to get an idea of their level of expertise. A doula who has experience working with your chosen birth plan, whether it be a natural birth or a planned c-section, can also be beneficial.
2. Does your potential doula communicate well?
Another important factor to consider when choosing a doula is communication and compatibility. You want to find someone who you feel comfortable talking to and who understands your needs and preferences. A good doula should be able to listen to your concerns and provide emotional support throughout the entire birthing process. It’s also important to find someone who communicates well with your healthcare provider and can work collaboratively with them to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your baby.
Going back to our first doula – I was so fixated on having a natural labor without pain medication. However, our daughter was sunnyside up and, because my water was leaking, they had to give me medicine to induce labor. Back labor + contractions from the medicine may have been the most excruciating combo I have ever experienced. At one point, I was ready to give up on a natural labor. I knew that my doula was willing to support me in whatever I wanted, but she encouraged me to change labor positions one last time before deciding to change my birth goals. For me, that was the ticket – it allowed me to finally relax during contractions and alleviated some of the pain. I was able to push through and deliver naturally. I was so thankful to have my doula’s support, no matter what the outcome. I really appreciated her effort to try and help me achieve my goals by making suggestions while still offering support whatever I chose.
3. Is your doula’s schedule flexible?
When searching for a doula near you, it’s important to consider their availability and flexibility. You want to find someone who can accommodate your schedule and be available for your birth, even if it happens outside of regular business hours. It’s also important to find someone who is flexible and can adapt to changes in your birth plan or unexpected circumstances. Make sure to discuss availability and flexibility with potential doulas before making a final decision.
4. What does support during labor and delivery practically look like from your doula?
One of the most important roles of a doula is to provide emotional and physical support during labor and delivery. This can include helping you find comfortable positions, providing massage or other pain relief techniques, and offering encouragement and reassurance. When choosing a doula, ask about their experience with different labor and delivery scenarios, such as natural birth, medicated birth, or cesarean section. You want to find someone who can support you no matter what type of birth you have.
With our second, my birth plan changed mid labor due to some unexpected circumstances. I really appreciated that our doula knew me well enough to know that it was time to pivot and fully supported my decision. I was so glad she didn’t try to talk me out of my choice, but instead knew me well enough to support me in what we both knew was best.
5. Does your doula provide postpartum care and follow-up?
In addition to supporting you during labor and delivery, a good doula will also provide postpartum care and follow-up. This can include helping you with breastfeeding, providing emotional support as you adjust to life with a new baby, and connecting you with resources in your community. When choosing a doula, ask about their postpartum services and how they can support you in the weeks and months after your baby is born.
Local Doulas Near You
LaRay, owner of The First Forty Days, is a doula near us who provides postpartum care.
When asked why she loves being a postpartum doula, LaRay said, “My favorite thing is providing new mothers a sense of relief. When they know I am coming to them, they know they will be well cared for; fed, hydrated, able to take a shower or bath and relax. They know when I leave, their kitchen will be clean and their laundry will be done. I know how meaningful that was for me during my postpartum seasons.”
For those on the fence about postpartum care services, LaRay explains, “it is one of the hardest life experiences. A postpartum doula allows you the time to truly rest, heal, and care for your new baby while we handle the rest. It is truly a lost art in our world today. We mothers need more care, support, and help to be healthy and the best mothers we can be!” ♥️
Sarah Oldre is the owner an a Certified Birth Doula with over 10 years of experience. She and her team offer a variety of services from Bradley Method® birth classes, birth doulas, postpartum doulas, placenta encapsulation, and lactation support.
Kelsey and Grace are a team of sisters who are trained labor doulas. They provide those services, as well as, lactation education.
Please note the content and information within this post are not intended to serve as any form of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always consult with a licensed physician.