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  • Published 21 December 2023
  • Updated 29 January 2024
Building Your Birth Team: Choosing a Doula

You will remember your birth for the rest of your life. The people who are there with you, providing support, love and encouragement, will have a huge impact on your experience and how you feel about it when you look back. It’s important to spend some time thinking about exactly who you want at your birth. Here’s how to choose the perfect doula for you.

Finding candidates

There are lots of ways to make your list of possible doulas. You can ask friends and family for personal recommendations. You can join online groups that are focused around some of your birth goals or preferences (such as homebirth, VBACs, or unmedicated hospital birth). People in those groups will know whether particular doulas are knowledgeable and supportive when it comes to specific birth goals. You can also ask your care provider for a recommendation, or simply do an internet search.

Asking questions

Because birth is such an intimate and vulnerable experience, it’s a good idea to talk to multiple doulas to find your best match. Here are some questions you can ask potential doulas:

  • What kind of training and experience do you have?
  • Are you familiar with the hospitals, birth centers, and home birth options in this area?
  • What’s your primary goal when you are supporting someone during birth?
  • How long are you “on call” for? What happens if I have the baby outside of your “on call” window?
  • Is there an additional cost if my labor goes longer than a set number of hours?
  • Do you have a backup doula in case of an emergency?
  • Will you support my decisions about my birth, even if you disagree with them?
  • Do you have any specialties when it comes to birth support?

You’ll also want to consider practical issues, such as the doula’s pricing and payment schedule, whether they are covered by insurance, and how far they are from the location where you plan to give birth.

Choosing a doula

Once you’ve spoken to several doulas, you’ll have to decide which is right for you. Sometimes you may just get a really good vibe or feeling from a particular person. Don’t discount that in your decision-making. This person is going to be present for your birth, so how they make you feel is an important part of the decision, even though it can be hard to quantify.

Welcome to the team!

Once you’ve chosen your doula, they are a part of your birth team. They are there to support you throughout the rest of your pregnancy, birth and beyond. And ultimately, no matter which doula you choose, having a doula at all will help you have your best possible birth.

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