How to Hire the Doula That’s Right For You

faith September 21, 2012

Finding and hiring the perfect doula is more than just finding the person with the most qualifications. As with any care provider, you want to be able to trust your doula to honor your wishes during labor.

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Because of the intimate nature of birth, you will also want a doula that you feel comfortable around. This is someone who will comfort you in some of your most vulnerable and uncertain moments. If you aren’t comfortable talking to them during an interview, how are you going to tell them what you need during labor?

Here are a few things that will help you find the doula that’s right for you.

Ask the Uncomfortable Questions

Don’t find out too late that your doula is not a good fit for you. In your first email/phone conversations with a doula and during the first interview, seek to be as blunt as possible. Ask lots of questions, especially the uncomfortable ones. Be specific about your particular plans for birth.

For example:

  • How experienced are you in dealing with hospital staff?
  • How would you support me during labor if I chose an epidural?
  • What if me and my doctor chose induction?
  • What specific things would you do to support me during labor?
  • Have you ever attended a cesarean section? How so you think you would react in that setting?
  • Would you attend an unassisted birth?

If a doula acts uncomfortable about the questions you are asking, it could be a red flag. Don’t skirt around the issues. If you hit a sensitive topic, talk about it more. You may find that this doula is exactly what you’re looking for. Or, you may find that she’s exactly what you’re trying to avoid.

Shop Around for the Right Doula

If you don’t already know a doula personally, it may take some time to find the right doula. Shopping for a doula can be a little like going on a lot of first dates.

Even if you hit it off with the first one, you should still interview a few more, just to get a feel for who’s available in your area.

There is another benefit to shopping around: finding a back-up doula. Even if a doula is not your top choice, you may ask her to be your back-up.

If you don’t have a back-up doula, ask your main doula for recommendations. And, make sure you interview them. There is a real possibility that your back-up doula will show up at your birth instead; be sure it’s someone you can still enjoy at your birth.

Go With Your Gut

Above all else, you should go with your gut feeling about any doula you interview. Even if a certain doula seems like the most qualified and most professional, and you get along with them well, you should still listen if something is telling you NO.

Talk it over with your partner as well, as they will be working very closely with your doula. You don’t want you partner to feel as if they must support you in labor alongside someone that they do not like.

Try to envision your doula and how they will react to certain situations during labor, and how this will effect your own personality. If you don’t know what their reaction might be, ask.

Finding the right doula can be tricky, and only you can decide for yourself who will offer the best support for your unique personality and birth.

Also read: 4 Basic Qualities of a Good Doula

What are the most important qualities you look for in a Doula?

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  1. I wish I would have known this information about a year ago. 🙂 My chiropractor is a doula and we hired her. We had an “interview” (but honestly I didn’t really have any questions to ask mainly because I didn’t know WHAT to ask. The day of my delivery I called her in the morning saying my water had broke and the contractions had started. She told me to rest and we would be in touch. We called her a couple more times thinking she would be coming soon as the contractions were getting stronger. Finally around noon, my husband could tell I was getting really uncomfortable so insisted we go to the hospital. By then the pain was really strong so ended up having an epidural. My nurses were AWSOME, so by then didn’t see any reason to call our doula. Funny thing is she didn’t even check up on me until the next morning (we delivered our daughter the evening before). I was really disappointed as I was under the impression she would come right away and help me through the contractions. I didn’t confront her about it. I probably should have as we were out a considerable amount of money. Any suggestions on what I should do in the future?


    • Kelley, so sorry. That’s a tough one. I would say that maybe being more assertive of when you want the Doula to come, but also more communication beforehand of exactly what the plan will be when labor starts. For instance, will she come to your house, when, etc. There is not much you can do about a doula that isn’t listening to her clients. That’s why it’s so important to make sure she really values your opinion and input beforehand and there is good communication there. Glad you had a good birth anyway.


  2. This is a helpful post. I have not hired a doula for any of my births because I have been very concerned about the meshing of personalities. Not only hers with mine but hers with my husband’s as well. What I may like in a best friend is not necessarily what I desire in my birthing room. If it was, I would probably just have my BFF come along. 🙂 Anyway, it’s refreshing to see a post about doulas that does not suggest every doula/pregnant woman combo will be a match made in heaven.


    • You’ve got it Blair. Sometimes I tell women to think about how they react when they are sick or not feeling well. I personally am bossy during labor. For the most part, I fend for myself but I like someone there to do what I ask, like trying some massage or getting me some water. Other women enjoy someone who offers more suggestions and “tries” more things. Many doulas can adapt to both roles, and some cannot. It helps tremendously if you know what YOU want during labor and then you can look for the person who can do the job 🙂


  3. Vanessa,

    I am challenged with a doula that wants to provide way more nurturing, coddling and advice giving that I am needing, wanting or feel comfortable with. She is very engaged in what she does which I fully appreciate but I don’t necessarily get into the same things that she might be into in terms of super self nourishment, toning, herbal, essential oils, holistic, care giving, coddling, ‘mama’ talk, beauty of each detail of the experience etc commentary that she wants to give me. I have tried to give her suggestions about where I am but she is who she is I want to be respectful of her individuality. I spend days after each meeting with her, looking for ways to distance myself or maintain my boundaries with her so that I feel comfortable and still get what I need in terms of support. Instead I feel invaded or find myself not listening to my own wants and needs in order to appease the current uncomfortable conversation. I want to be able to determine what I need from her and when without all the overload. She is very nice and I think wants to ‘take care of me’ but I am a much more private, independent, self sufficient woman and need her to give me just what I need to be educated, make educated unbiased decisions about my pregnancy and birth and to have a happy and healthy delivery and baby (me included). Advice?


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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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