Step 1 Define what you want
Think about what services you want. Are you looking for someone to help you with your birth? Or for someone to do postpartum support? Or both? Would you want the same person to do both services, or would you be open to both?
Also think about your general philosophy. Do you lean towards a scientific approach or do you want someone who is open to alternative treatments? Ideally you want someone with a philosophy similar to your own.
Step 2 Collect names of doulas who meet your requirements
Do a google search. Check at listing sites like DoulaMatch and local or national professional groups. Visit the web sites and social media of doulas you are considering. Look at online reviews.
Check to see what they say about experience and training if that is something that is important to you.
Step 3 Do preliminary screening
Reach out to the doulas you’ve found who appeal to you. This could be by text, phone or email. Whatever you are comfortable with. Ask about pricing, availability, and what’s included in the service. Pay attention to how responsive the doula is and how you feel about the conversation.
Step 4: Interview a few
Schedule longer interviews with a few doulas who seem like they might be a good fit. I recommend an in person interview when possible, as that’s the best way to get a good feel for whether you are compatible.
Be ready with questions about what is important to you. Think back to what you decided in step one and consider how you might discuss those things with a doula.
You might consider questions like:
- What is your experience with (my doctor or midwife, families who bottle feed, twins, etc. Whatever is related and important to you.)?
- What is included in your services?
- Why did you become a doula?
- Have you chosen certification? Why or why not?
- Do you have backup? Can I meet them?
- Tell me about a time you experienced conflict in your doula work. How did you resolve it?
- What do you bring to doula work that sets you apart from others?
Step 5: Seal the deal!
You don’t have to make a decision during the interview, though if you are sure you’ve found the one, go for it!
Most doulas will have a contract or client agreement for you to sign. Read it, and make sure you understand it before you sign. Most doulas also have you pay a deposit, retainer or even the balance at this point. If more money is due after the contract signing, make sure you clear on when that is due.
Find out what happens next. Birth doulas will probably schedule prenatal visits with you, and will have information on how to schedule those and how to reach them in labor. Postpartum doulas will have a process for letting them know when your baby is born and how to schedule their shifts at that point.
I’ve created a free downloadable worksheet you can use to help you through the process, click the button below to grab it for yourself!