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Six Tips For Choosing the Right Doula

A pregnant mother is holding her baby bump outside during the sunset at Succop Nature Park in Butler, PA.

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! You are pregnant and about to go on one of the most rewarding journeys of your life. You've decided that you want to include a doula through your pregnancy and delivery. Great! But, how do you find the right doula for you? I will be answering that question in this post. The doula you choose will be with you in the delivery room, so you want someone you click with, who you know will be supportive and empathetic. They will be with you through some of the most intense parts of your pregnancy, delivery, and maybe even postpartum, so you want to make sure you are in love with your choice for your doula!

What is a Doula?

According to DONA International, a doula certifying organization, a doula is "a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to their client before, during and shortly after childbirth to help them achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible." Doulas do not provide medical advice, but offer emotional and physical support during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. This means that you will essentially have a person dedicated to your wants and needs during your pregnancy and delivery. The support you gain from a doula is invaluable and all the more reason to choose carefully.

How to Find Doulas Near You

A simple internet search can be a starting point for finding your doula. Search "Pittsburgh Doulas" through Google, and the search will return many results, but it can be tricky to know which ones are reputable through just a Google search. Other options for finding a doula to interview are getting recommendations through family and friends who have used one, ask your healthcare provider to recommend a couple to you, or check your hospital to find out what doulas they recommend. Another option is to search for a doula on DONA International. You can search for doulas in your area through the website and know they have the certifications needed to be a reputable doula.

So now that you know how to find doulas near you, how do you find the RIGHT doula for you? Read below for six tips for finding the perfect doula for your needs.

1. Certifications and Training

There isn't any specific schooling REQUIRED to be a doula, but I know that if I'm hiring a doula to be my support through pregnancy and birth, I want someone with some training and certifications. What training and certifications does the doula have? Usually you will find the answer right on the doula's website, and if not, ask them in your interview.

2. Go With Someone You Click With

This may be the most important tip from this list. Make sure that you click well with your doula! She will be your emotional support during hard moments, so you want someone who you really get along with and who you feel supported by. When you are interviewing your doulas, go with your gut!

3. Services Included

First, consider what services you want included and then confirm your doula can provide that. Do you want care through postpartum or do you just want a doula for the birthing process? What does the pricing include? Will your insurance cover the cost or will you need to pay out-of-pocket?

4. Accessibility

How can you get in contact with your doula? Will you be able to have access to her via text? Can you contact her at any time, or are there time limits to contacting your doula? Is there a back up doula who can take over if yours isn't available? These are all good questions to ask perspective doulas.

5. Philosophy on Pregnancy and Birth

Ask your doula what types of births they are comfortable attending. Some may primarily support natural births or home births, others will be comfortable in hospital births, and others do a combination of everything. Ask before you hire! Getting a doula's perspective on their birth philosophy will give you a better idea of whether she aligns with your birth philosophy and if she will be the right fit for you.

I hope this post has given you some insight on how to choose the right doula for you. Doulas get into this profession because they want to help mothers and families - these are amazing people! The important part is choosing the right doula for your needs!


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