A doula is a companion, coach and advocate for the laboring woman. A Cincinnati doula provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the pregnant person before, during and after childbirth. The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek language meaning a female servant or helper.
The job of a doula has been around in some form since ancient times but it was not until modern day that the word “doula” became popularized by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read’s book Childbirth Without Fear (1947) which advocated natural childbirth with minimal medical intervention and argued that birth should be treated as an act of love between mother and child rather than just another surgical procedure.”
So the job of a doula is to help the laboring woman through her birth by providing continuous emotional and informational support. If I were going to hire a doula there are certain things I would consider most important in choosing one.
1.)Education & Certification
If you are considering hiring a midwife it may seem like an obvious requirement that they be trained in order for them to do their job well, but when it comes to doulas many people assume that because of lack of certification or formal education they don’t need as much training or skill. Some states require any person who considers themselves a doula to become certified which shows at least some level of commitment on the part of that individual but unfortunately many still don’t seek this goal. If I were hiring a doula I would insist upon at least supervised training.
If you are going to hire someone to help you through one of the most intense physical and emotional experiences of your life you want them to have experience so that they know exactly what to do when it comes time for your birth. While there is no specific number of births needed in order for a person (or even an organization) to be considered qualified this does not mean that any amount of experience will be helpful or informative. When choosing a doula remember that more does not equal better, judgment is key here . Even having only assisted at several births can give a person valuable information about how the process works but if they haven’t experienced alone don’t even consider hiring them to be there with you.
3.) Their Experiences from other Mothers
A doula can say all the right things and might even look good on paper but if their track record shows that they didn’t help or hurt you in the past then this should raise some red flags. If someone has a long history of providing support for mothers and positive results when it comes to birth, hire them! It’s an investment into your own well-being that will keep giving back for years to come . Reach out to other moms who have used the doulas services before and ask about their experiences. This is also a great way to find out exactly what areas this person specializes in which can be helpful especially if you are having trouble deciding.
4.)Knowledge & Skill
Along with having a proven track record and experience another big factor to consider is what level of skill the doula has when it comes to supporting laboring mothers. Do they understand first aid? Are they aware of their surroundings, are they able to provide comfortable positioning for the mother-to-be ? What about comfort measures such as birth balls or showers? Knowledge is power in childbirth especially if you need your doula to step in and help so be sure that they know how to deal with common problems that arise during labor. It’s always a good idea to ask them questions like this point blank so there can be no confusion . If possible try talking with previous clients or examine their website (if available) for a list of services provided.
5.)Personality & Personality Fit
During labor you will need someone who is calm, steady and confident so that they can guide you through the process . It’s important to remember that your doula is there to support you throughout the entire birth so if they are nervous or scatter-brained now would not be the best time for them to start. If their personality seems okay on paper but just doesn’t feel right meeting with them in person or calling up previous clients will help determine whether this is a good fit!
6.)Awareness & Comfort Level with Alternative Birth Options
In order to provide the most effective support during labor (especially for those hoping to have an alternative birthing experience) a doula should be very familiar with at least some of the methods that are available. You want to make sure that they can offer basic comfort measures such as back rubs or techniques to help you stay calm but it would also be helpful if your potential doula’s knowledge went further than this. If you are planning on working with a midwife or making use of a birthing pool then having someone who is knowledgeable in these areas will give you confidence that they know how to work effectively with these things . While many certified and experienced doulas specialize in providing support during “normal” birth this doesn’t mean that their services won’t benefit mothers who are using alternative options.
Not only should your doula be able to effectively communicate with you but they should also be able to work well with your other support team. If your midwife or doctor is someone who intends on facilitating during delivery it’s important that they get along and work together . Again this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hire them if they don’t have this skill, just be aware that things may not run as smoothly as possible.
8.)Professionalism & Flexibility
Since there will probably be many people in the way of supporting you during labor a doula who can remain professional through all situations is invaluable! They should also be flexible enough to make any potential changes to your birth plan without letting their ego get involved because something else came up. Being able to roll with the punches is key to a positive and effective labor experience since things don’t always go as planned.
9.)Cost & Payment
It is also important to make sure you have an idea of what the doula will be charging you before you sign anything or invest any money into their services. If they offer packages that seem too good to be true then chances are there’s something missing from them so be careful about this! It is nice if they come with benefits such as free phone calls, complimentary birth classes or other things like that but ultimately remember that you’re hiring them for their labor support not for these extras .
10.)Follow-Up Care & Referrals
Another thing worth considering is whether your potential doula will be available to follow up with you after the birth. It is important to have someone who can answer questions that you may have after the fact such as how effective was their labor support or if there are any other services they provide, so make sure to ask about this beforehand!
If you’re in need of a doula hire one that specializes in providing natural birth support and be sure to do your research into them before signing anything . Birth will probably be one of the most important experiences you ever go through so it’s worth hiring someone who is experienced and qualified at doing what they do best !