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Old 07-21-2013, 03:21 PM   #1
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Tell me about doulas

I'm starting to look for a doula in my area.

I'm shocked by how different they are. One offers 24/7 support starting only two weeks before due date. I won't ever use this anyway, but I've seen others that are available if you have questions the whole pregnancy. The same one only does one prenatal appointment and one postpartum appointment.

Is there any sort of standard of services or what do you expect and look for?

What questions do you ask before hiring one?


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Old 07-21-2013, 03:31 PM   #2
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Re: Tell me about doulas

I think they vary a lot. You might check something like the DONA website to see if there are any standards for how much care they should offer outside the birth, but I think women need different things and want different things, so I bet there's a wide variance.

I had one for my first birth, and I think she did 3 prenatal visits and 2 postpartum. (Incidentally, mine arrived unannounced postpartum--very bad idea with a woman who has given birth in the last few days--and then I never saw her again. Oh well--she worked very hard during the birth and more than earned her fee.)

I just looked for someone who was familiar with the kind of birth I wanted (a home birth with HypnoBabies) and that I felt comfortable with. I asked her about her experience and how she handled different situations. I also was interested in breastfeeding support at that point (my first baby) and so I asked what kind of resources and ideas she had about that.
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Old 07-21-2013, 04:07 PM   #3
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Re: Tell me about doulas

We have a doula this time is someone DH knew growing up, so that was a major deciding factor (plus she and I clicked as well when we had met previously). She does 3 prenatal visits and 2 after and is "on call" for two weeks before and after my due date (but she said that is more of a formality, they come no matter what!) She works with a few other doulas so that she has back up just in case. I'm so glad we have her as DH is not really receptive to things like this unless someone he knows supports it (and apparently I am not included in that - he needs to do things that "other" people do, whereas I wanted the doula for me and who cares what anyone thinks!)

When I was looking into other doulas in the area, what ours offers seemed pretty standard for number of visits and fees.
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Old 07-21-2013, 04:57 PM   #4
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Re: Tell me about doulas

They vary widely, and knowing what's important to you will impact which one you choose (that's not so helpful, I know); do they do massage or will they only talk to you while you're in labor, when do they become available 24/7, do they do any "gift" service (acrostic of baby's name, etc) that's of interest to you, will they only stay for 12 or 24 hours after arrival or will they stay until the bitter end? Don't forget to take into account if they're planning any vacations near your EDD. If they're unavailable, do they have a back-up doula they will call? Can you meet the back-up doula? Do they have a cell phone number they'll give you, or just a house phone? Do they do any post-partum visits, do they do breastfeeding support? How much do they cost?

Besides gathering information here, take notes from candidate websites/interviews, and make a comprehensive list, then check off which criteria each candidate meets.

Also very important but unquantifiable is whether or not you "click". This is a person you're going to be around while very uncomfortable (physically and emotionally), if it's a person who rubs you the wrong way while you're still pregnant than you don't want them with you during L&D, they'd be yet another hurdle rather than a help. I'd rather be doula-less than have the wrong person there.
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Old 07-21-2013, 06:34 PM   #5
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Re: Tell me about doulas

I think it's mostly just about finding one who offers what you want. Some moms will want lots of pre/post birth support, and others will only need them there for the actual labour and delivery. Some will want specific techniques or methods used during labour, others will just want a calming, encouraging presence.
Decide what you are hoping to receive from your doula, and then see if there's someone who offers that sort of service.
Me DH married for almost 15 years, parents to 7 small people, so far.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:33 AM   #6
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Re: Tell me about doulas

Bookmarking this thread, I too am considering a doula this time around and this is good info!
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