How To Find The Right Doula

By: Care Messer Doulas March 22, 2019


There are two questions parents seem to ask me over and over. “How can I afford a doula?”, and “How do I know which one is right for me?” Affording a doula, sometimes means getting really creative with your finances or just cutting back on normal expenses that are extras in your budget. That’s a pretty simple equation to solve. When choosing the right fit, there are some things to look for on their websites that will help you narrow down the search. Look for a face behind the name, sometimes that’s an immediate connection so you can look more closely. Look for a description of the training and certifications that she has and the level of experience(length of time doing doula work, number of births, references/testimonials) for what she is charging. The Doula industry right now is not regulated so anyone can call themselves a doula and put up a website. Finding out what doulas in your area are charging for the level of experience is essential. It’s important that you hire a Professional Doula, especially if you are paying professional prices!

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Video transcript:

I am a doula.

– So there’s two questions I always get at the Birth Education Center. One is how do I afford a doula, especially if I’ve paid for my birth education? I need both. And two, how do I know they’re the right fit? I don’t know these women and they’re kinda strangers to me. We’re gonna address those today. Number one, ask for money towards your doula in lieu of birthday gifts, shower gifts, Christmas presents, whatever holidays are coming up. It’s really simple to say instead of a shower gift, we’re really saving for a doula because it’s so important to us that we have someone to support us at our birth. And what’s really funny is that you’ll get $50 towards your doula and you’ll still get a present because everybody has to buy this baby a present.

Number two, look into your health savings account or your flex spending account with your insurance. A lot of times they will reimburse what you put out for a doula. Very important to know if you have that benefit. And number three, some people call it a season of sacrifice, where they start to reprioritize some of their spending habits. They may let go of their Starbucks habit, they stop going to movies as often and stay home and watch Netflix, which, that’s not always a bad thing, if you know what I’m saying. They stop going out to eat all the time, they may not get their nails done as often, they spend less on their hair and their eyelashes and stuff like that.

Taking those little bits of excess really can add up and you can have the support you need for your birth. There’s also one thing that I hesitate to say because a lot of people say you should barter for a doula, especially if they’re a student doula or ask them to do it for free. I’ll never say that for two reasons. One, you don’t know what this woman has actually had to put out for her education and her books and all the stuff for certification and she may be in a deficit right now. She also may have to leave her kids with a sitter while she’s coming to your prenatal visits as well as your birth, and it’s too expensive for her to have to pay to be at your birth, and those expenses need to be covered. Her family can’t be put out to attend your birth.

So that’s why I hesitate to say barter or see if you can get a free doula because all doulas have expenses. Their time is valuable. And next, how do I know with this stranger, if it’s a good fit? Well, a face-to-face interview for a half an hour can really help solve that and all doulas bring different skills to the birth and I want to give you a few examples of what kind of specialties doulas can bring to an interview that you may hear that might be the right fit.

– As as UCSD Volunteer Hearts and Hands Doula, you get called in for parents you’ve never met before who are already in labor. You’re meeting them for the first time when they’re getting ready to meet their baby. This has given me so much experience learning how to be flexible and jumping right into unknown situations. And since every person and every baby is unique, it’s so important to be adaptable in order to support different kinds of families and their unique birth preferences.

– I am a birth and postpartum doula as well as a licensed midwife, which allows me to serve families as a monitrice. A monitrice can provide extra support during your labor while you’re still at home and I can listen to the baby’s heart rate with you, check your vitals, and offer cervical exams, and continue support when you go to the hospital.

– With my experience as a lactation educator, I support new moms in getting their babies and their breasts together for a nurturing and supportive relationship that shouldn’t suck.

– As a homeopathic practitioner and a coauthor of a book that’s all about pregnancy and postpartum nutrition, I can help bring balance back into a mom’s body if she’s experiencing unwanted or uncomfortable symptoms. Those could range from morning sickness and heartburn to insomnia or restless leg syndrome in pregnancy or into postpartum, where maybe she’s experiencing hemorrhoids or some uncomfortable continuation with clogged ducts that could possibly lead to mastitis. So homeopathy can help treat those things effectively and holistically. Homeopathy also works so well on those precious newborns or anything that might come up with the new baby.

– I am a board certified massage therapist and reiki master. To a birth, I believe I bring another element of healing and intuition. I have an innate ability to know what you need before you do.

– I specialize in all variations of normal such as birth defects and babies who need extra love after birth.

– As an innate postpartum care provider, I love using ancient editions and the science behind those to help families and new moms survive and thrive.

– One thing I focus on with my birth families is education on postpartum healing. One thing I specialize in is belly binding, which helps bring warmth into mom’s body and helps support her core.

– I’m a birth doula but I also specialize in gentle potty learning and the ancient art of elimination communication so that you can get your little ones less reliant on diapers from as early as birth.

– I’ve been a doula for nearly six years and I’ve attended over 200 births but I don’t yet have any kids of my own. I have found this to be an asset in my practice as a doula because I haven’t had any experiences or personal traumas related to birth that could potentially impact the way that I show up for my clients. Additionally, I find it really easy to manage the unpredictable on-call schedule that comes with being a doula because I never have to worry about childcare. So just like having kids isn’t a prerequisite to be a great OB-GYN, neither is it a requirement to be a great doula.

– Since I lost my mom before I had my children, it’s really important to me to hold space for other women in similar situations when it’s time for them to give birth.

– As a birth doula and a survivor of abuse, I hold a special place in my heart for those like me, and I want nothing more than for them to feel heard, respected, and empowered in every decision that they make.

– As a birth photographer, I’m also specially trained in bereavement and I’m able to support families through the loss of their pregnancy at any gestation through either doula services or birth photography as well.

– I’m a doula. I’m also a military wife. I understand the military lifestyle, I know that many times our partner isn’t guaranteed to be there on one of the biggest days of our lives. As a doula, I can be there to support you.

– Before I became a doula, I worked in the medical field. I believe that this helps me with families who are nervous and birthing in hospitals and kind of just help put them at ease when they hear certain lingo that the doctors and nurses are talking or see certain instruments. I’m able to, with my background, kind of put them at ease and talk them through every situation.

– I’m a postpartum doula and I’m also a board certified lactation consultant which means I can give you an elevated level of care for some of the more challenging breastfeeding issues.

– As a mother, I have experience with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. This allows me to bring truly nonjudgmental support to the table. I can also validate the feelings that you’re having and I can help normalize the scary, intrusive thoughts that might seem really terrifying to the outside world.

– So bottom line, where there’s a will, there’s a way. You can always find somebody that’s a right fit. Most doulas take payments and if you find the right fit, we’re gonna do our best to try and figure out how to make it work. We want you to have the support you need at your birth, and we want to be able to be there for you and your family.

About the author:
Care is the founder of the Birth Education Center, San Diego HypnoBirthing and Cuddle Sanctuary San Diego. She is a Birth Educator, Hypnotherapist, Birth and Postpartum Doula, INNATE Care Provider, Erotic Blueprint Coach and also professional Cuddler. She specializes in connection work between people and increasing self boundaries for a more balanced life together.