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  • Published 01 March 2024
  • Updated 16 March 2024
How to choose a Doula

For the rest of your life, your birth will remain in your memory. Your experience and your feelings about it in the future will be greatly influenced by the people who are by your side, offering love, support, and encouragement. It's crucial to give careful thought to the identity you wish to embody at birth. How to pick the ideal doula for you is explained here.

What is a doula?

A doula is a professional with training who supports expectant mothers and their families during the whole pregnancy and delivery process. Since they are not medical experts, they are unable to provide care for women during labor. Their main goal is to give expectant mothers information about giving birth and being ready for it, as well as emotional and physical support.

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 on 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 sort of education and background do you possess?
  • Are you aware of the local hospitals, birthing facilities, and choices for at-home births?
  • When you are assisting someone in giving delivery, what is your main objective?
  • For what duration are you "on call"? What occurs if I give birth outside of your "on call" time frame?

Why Does my labor incur extra fees if I work more than a predetermined number of hours?

  • In an emergency, do you have a backup doula?
  • Even if you don't agree with my birth decisions, will you still support me?
  • What areas of expertise do you have in 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

 1. Trust your gut

Trust your intuition when it comes to choosing a doula. Ask as many questions as you need to make a decision, no matter how stupid they may seem to you. The way she answers your questions, stupid or not, will give you an idea of how patient and supportive she is. Also keep in mind that douls choose whether to work with specific clients or not.

2. Learn about her birth philosophy

Regardless of your birthing plan, doula's presence can improve outcomes, so ask questions that can tell you more about her birthing philosophy, such as which birthing sessions she feels comfortable attending.

3. Get recommendations

Collect recommendations from friends, family, your attending physician, or even others up to the street. Perhaps your best friend strongly recommends doula, who is unavailable at the time you set, but you can still turn to this doula for recommendations.

Most douls not only have a backup doula that they know and trust to be present during childbirth in an emergency, but they also surround themselves with other support specialists who match their skills and philosophy of childbirth.

What does a doula do?

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.

Before your due date, your doula will meet with you a few times so you can get to know each other. They'll learn how to best support you, such as by providing supportive referrals to ensure you have the best birth possible (for example, a chiropractor, acupuncture provider, pelvic physical therapist or prenatal massage therapist), and go through a few basic childbirth education touchpoints.

1. Collaborates with medical team

The best way to describe them is like a birthing diplomat. They are there to make your birth better. They “get” what the medical pros are talking about, and they “get” what you are talking about because they’ve been with you throughout your entire pregnancy so they can bridge any gaps between the two.

2. Helps patients know what questions to ask

At a difficult and exciting moment of the onset of labor, you may be scared and confused, so you may not know or simply forget to ask the doctor about certain nuances, in this situation doula will help you out.

3. Helps the patient feel comfortable and at ease

Childbirth is exciting, but it can also be intimidating, and doula's presence can significantly calm your nerves and help you focus on your current job.

Some people assume that they will get the support they need from their partner, but partners are often just as scared (if not more), and doula can help you both navigate the unknown and give your partner the opportunity to better support you on the journey.

4. Provides support during early labor

Managing the woman’s fear is just one of them. By helping her to stay calm, she increases the levels of oxytocin and keeps the adrenalin at bay, which makes everything easier.

5. Meets the patient at the hospital

The details vary, but most families who hire a doula arrange for their doula to be with them during labor. Sometimes a doula will join a laboring person at their home, or they might assist you in getting to the hospital or meet you there. In either setting, a doula should be accessible, available and ready to provide the agreed upon services for labor, birth, and the immediate postpartum period, starting about two weeks before your estimated due date. If they aren’t available or if they need a break, they should have back-up coverage.

6. Suggests relaxation, mindfulness and focus techniques

A doula can offer a treasure trove of non-medical pain-management techniques including massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, music and mantras. They'll try different combinations to find the right one for you.

7. Offers flexible solutions

Studies have shown that doulas can help cut back on time spent in labor, reduce a mom’s and/or coach's anxiety, lower the rate of medical interventions (including C-sections) and improve mother-baby bonding post-birth.

8. Provides emotional support

Doulas process hopes and fears, empower you with information and connect you with resources. They help create an environment of calm, respect your right to informed choice, and provide continuous physical, emotional, and informational support as you navigate labor, birth and early postpartum.

9. Contributes to continuity of care

Doctors or midwives may change shifts, and some may only be present during the final stages of birth. Doulas, however, typically meet with you before the birth, will stay with you during the entire labor and delivery process, and will often make one or two post-labor follow-up visits to check on your progress if you're breastfeeding and make sure baby is latching on correctly.

10. Acts as a liaison with the doctor

A doula serves the important role of helping advocate for you in your most vulnerable times in labor and in the immediate postpartum period. They'll help ensure your voice is heard and your preferences are honored by your medical team.

How much does a doula cost?

Doulas can be costly and aren’t always covered by insurance. Currently, only 10 states cover doulas through Medicaid, and the plans vary by state:


Reimbursable Fees 


Initial visit: $126.31; perinatal visits: $60.48/visit; abortion/miscarriage support: $250.85; postpartum visits: $180/visit  


8 prenatal and postnatal visits: $930; flat rate of $350 for assistance during labor and delivery  


Six prenatal and postpartum visits: $75/visit; labor and delivery assistance: $750 flat rate


Prenatal or postpartum visits: $47/visit; labor and delivery assistance: $488


Prenatal and postpartum visits: $50/ visit (for a maximum of four visits); labor and delivery assistance: $150

New Jersey

Prenatal or postpartum visits (total of 8): $1,065; labor and delivery assistance: $500


Two prenatal visits, care during delivery, two postpartum visits: $1,500 flat rate

Rhode Island

Three prenatal visits, labor and delivery assistance, three postpartum visits: $1,500 flat rate


Up to 8 visits: $859

Washington, D.C.

Maximum of 12 visits: $97.04 per perinatal visits, $12.13 per postpartum visit, billed every 15 minutes; labor and delivery assistance: $686.23

Why the Soula app can complement or replace a doula? 

Doula primarily provides psychological support during labor planning, late stages of pregnancy, childbirth, and help in the postpartum period. Soula app will complement and can replace doula in vain, based on the very purpose of its creation.

How to Choose a Doula


Can a man be a doula?

Anyone can act as a doula. Doulas can be men or women, but the majority are women. Doulas can be anyone, from teenagers to elderly people. 

Can a doula deliver a baby?

Doulas are not allowed to administer drugs and are not allowed to carry out medical procedures, such as giving birth. During labor and delivery, doulas are able to offer parents and their families unbroken emotional support because they aren't preoccupied with medical matters.

What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?

A midwife is authorized to practice in any part of the United States and its territories by the American College of Nurse-Midwives after completing graduate-level midwifery programs.

Conversely, doulas are not required to have a graduate degree. Additionally, although many are, certification is not required. Offering the biggest and most well-known certification program is DONA International. brings up a new window. A minimum of 16 hours of instruction are provided by DONA-approved workshops, with a focus on practical, hands-on skills, the background of childbirth, the advantages of employing a doula, and the importance of doula support for families. 

Can a doula come to my prenatal appointments?

Absolutely, it is advised that patients bring their doulas to appointments. This makes it possible to collaborate as a team and guarantees that everyone is in agreement.

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