How to Choose a Doula
A birth doula is a birth support, someone who offers physical and emotional support running up to and during the birth. It's a really special role, different from hiring a professional.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a doula:
- Birth is an intimate experience. I am always struck by how quickly it goes from meeting a couple, to doing some antenatal sessions, to being at the birth in all its rawness and glory. It's not a rational thing so trust your gut on who you feel comfortable with. It's all about chemistry.
- Think about why you want a doula. Continuity of care has been shown to reduce the length of labour, reduce the need for instrumental delivery and the chance of caesarean section. A doula can also help to adapt to changing circumstances, which can make an experience positive even if it doesn't go to plan.
- Meet or speak with at least 3 doulas so you can get a sense of each person's style and learn more about the process.
- Think about what aspects of a doula are important to you. Do you want someone who offers skills such as aromatherapy, massage, rebozo ( a scarf technique that is used to relieve tension)? Do you want a strong advocate e.g. in situations of high risk or challenges getting access to what's important for you such as accessing the birth centre, or pressure for induction?
- If you have a partner, think about how they gel with the doula. In an ideal situation the partner and doula can support one another so both are present, fed and rested and able to fully be there for the labouring woman.
- Look up doula organisations for their 'find a doula' services but also use your networks such as your local Positive Birth Movement Group , pregnancy yoga teachers, antenatal teachers and other local pregnant women or mum friends.