If you read our post: Should I Hire a Birth Doula? you’re probably convinced that every mama-to-be deserves to have a doula by her side during the momentous occasion of labor and delivery. Your next question might be, ‘How do I find a birth doula?’ I recently asked both of the aforementioned questions, and as I type this, my 3-month old baby sleeps on my chest, having entered the world via a natural childbirth that I thought I wasn’t capable of, but that my amazing doula and supportive husband helped me achieve. Read on to learn tips on finding the right doula for you!
It’s worth repeating: DONA International cites that numerous clinical studies have proven when a doula is present to support and assist the mother at her baby’s birth, the following positive findings are a result:
- shorter labors with fewer complications
- reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
- reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
- reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans
And according to the American Pregnancy Association: “Other studies have shown that having a doula as part of the birth team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40% and the request for an epidural by 60%.”
Here are some tips on how to find a birth doula:
1. Use Word of Mouth & the Internet to Find a Doula
One of the best ways to find a doula is to ask friends and acquaintances with children if they would recommend the doula who assisted them — or whether they know of any good doulas even if they didn’t hire one for their own birth. Also, ask your doctor or midwife if they may suggest any doulas or doula services they have previously worked with. The web is another great resource. Most cities have sites geared toward moms-to-be and moms, which feature forums wherein people may pose questions and garner responses. Sometimes simply Google-ing a doula’s name or the name of a service will result in enough information to guide you in one direction or another. An example of one such mother-centric site is urbanMamas, which has helped me many times. You can also go directly to DONA International to get a list of doulas in your area. But bear in mind, that many great and qualified doulas may not be certified with DONA, so they won’t appear on their list.
2. Write a Birth Plan
You’ll want to write a birth plan so you know exactly what kind of support you want and require from a doula. Whether you’re planning on getting an epidural at the start of your labor, or if you’re aiming for natural childbirth, your hopes for delivery day play a huge role in deciding on the best doula for you. Some doulas specialize in assisting mothers through natural childbirth, but you want to find someone who will support you no matter what avenue you choose. It’s the doula’s role to be there to help you. A doula should not have her own agenda or judgment with regard to your birthing process.
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