How to Find a Doula for your
Step #1: Find a list of available birth doulas in your area. Here’s some good resources for that:
your childbirth educator, midwife, or doctor for referrals.
Seattle area doulas, call PALS at (206)325-1419 or see Seattle resource list
A list with current availability is
of North America (DONA).
DONA is the major North American doula organization, and on their
website, you can get referrals to certified doulas in many cities.
- www.doulaworld.com is a website which allows you to
search for doulas in your area. The information on the site will tell you
whether or not they are certified, and what their experience level is.
Network: http://doulanetwork.com/ Searchable: for a keyword, enter the
city you live in.
are a number of doulas who have personal websites up. Try a google search, and see what you come up with.
Step #2: From this list, and
any additional information you can find out, pick 3 – 5 doulas to contact (with
a backup list in case they’re all booked up.)
Step #3: Call the doulas you’ve chosen and do a brief phone
interview with them.
them you’re doing an initial phone interview of 3 – 5 doulas, to get a
sense of who might be a good match for you and your needs.
out if they are available for your due date. Find out a little more about
their experience, the skills and attitudes they bring to a birth. Find out
about fees and other practical details.
importantly, in this phone call, you’re checking out “the vibes”. Is this
someone you think you could be comfortable with? If so, set up an in-person
Step #4: Meet with one or more doulas in person.
out more about them, tell them more about you and
your birth plan.
if you have compatible philosophies, and if you think the style of support
they offer would be helpful to you.
the interaction doesn’t feel right to you, then let them know that, and
try interviewing other doulas! Although training and experience and fee
structure are all important factors in the selection, the most important factor is: do you and your partner feel
comfortable with this person. Would you feel comfortable having her at
your birth, and do you think she would be a good support for you? All of
us have different personalities and styles, and sometimes the chemistry
just doesn’t feel right. Trust this instinct and move on.
Step #5: Hire a doula and start working together on the details of
your birth plan.
you have found “the right doula”, start making arrangements with her for
you need a few days to decide, tell them this, but do make your decision
soon, otherwise your doula may have to pass up prospective clients while
waiting for your decision.
doulas will ask for a deposit before going on-call. This is because when
we commit to a birth, it’s a major commitment: it means not taking other
clients for that time period, it means not going out of town, or making
social plans that can’t be re-scheduled, and taking a cell phone
everywhere we go. We have chosen the job knowing the level of this
commitment, but it is also important to us that our clients honor that: if
at some point you decide not to use a doula as planned, it is very
important to call and let them know that so they can make other
Back for more
information about doulas
For another article on finding a doula: www.greatstarts.org/articles_newsletter/feature/doula.htm
c. Janelle Durham,