by Dale Alleyne-Ho
A birth doula is a trained professional whose key role is to support the laboring woman and her birth partner throughout the entire process of labour, birth and the immediate postpartum period by providing emotional, physical and informational support. A doula does not provide any form of medical information and is not meant to take the place of the birth partner.
To date there have been several evidence based studies that show having a doula present at birth can greatly shorten the length of labour and reduce your chances of unnecessary medical interventions.
When looking to hire a doula the best place to start is by asking friends and family for recommendations, word of mouth is still the best referral. Most doula organizations will also provide you with a list of certified doulas within your area. Arrange interviews with a few at a time.
Before you start compiling your list of perspective doulas to interview, sit down with your partner and prepare a list of questions you want to ask well in advance.
The following are just a few suggested questions:
- • What training/certification have you had and how long have you been practicing?
- • Can you provide us with references and is it possible for us to contact them?
- • What are your philosophies as it relates to supporting the laboring couple?
- • What is your fee structure and can you outline the services this includes i.e how many prenatal and/or postnatal visits are included?
- • How can we best contact you?
- • Do you arrange for back up doulas in the event you are not available and is it possible to schedule a time we can meet with them?
- • At what point do we call you and where do you meet us once labour starts? At home/hospital?
- • Do you provide any postpartum services; if not can you recommend a postpartum doula?
Aside from education, qualifications, experience, references and more…one of the most important things to have is a connection with the person whom you are considering hiring to become your doula, whomever you choose should be both respectful and supportive of both you and your birth partner’s choices for your labour and birth.
Dale Alleyne-Ho, (Hons.) R.E.C.E, CCBE, is the ead Author of “The Ultimate Guide to Labour & Birth”
She is also the Owner of ‘The Complete Family’
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