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Mothering › Groups › February 2014 Due Date Club › Discussions › Doula - having trouble deciding

Doula - having trouble deciding

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi Ladies,


For the last week I've been interviewing Doula's. We're having a hospital birth for a variety of reasons, but I want to try if at all possible to do natural childbirth. So, having a doula is very important to me to help me during labour especially as interventions are suggested to help me weigh those decisions. 


I'm having a lot of trouble deciding between two, input would be appreciated.


Doula #1: I really like her, she's a straight shooter, very blunt and straight forward. Which is a great fit for my personality. I know I need someone with a strong personality because I am a strong personality and I need someone who can handle that when I'm in pain and stressed. She does pre-natal education and child birth education. She also teaches hypnobirthing. She does 3-4 pre-natal visits and one post-birth visit. The only downside to her is that she's about 1.5 hours away from us and with a winter birth that is a concern. 


Doula #2: She's younger than #1, she's extremely nice and took a lot of time in our interview to really get to know me and was able to draw a lot out of me in terms of things that I'm thinking about for the birth and asked questions that made me think. She does 2-3 pre-natal visits and 2 post-birth visits. She does not teach pre-natal education or child birth education. She's located close to us and our hospital. 


There is not a significant difference in cost. Both have access to tonnes of reading materials. Both will work with the RMT I'm also working with. 



post #2 of 10

Personally I would probably pick the closer one because I'd be worried about the other one getting snowed in or having car trouble or something, and it sounds like you like both of them. If you decide to do a childbirth ed class you could go to one somewhere else. 

post #3 of 10

Hi BeagleSmuggler,

I don't have an answer for you, but I do have some questions! I'm about to start interviewing doulas myself. What kinds of questions did you ask during the interview? Did your partner join you or did you go on your own?



post #4 of 10
1.5 hours is a long way away when you make the call. I did hypnobirthing with my doula last birth. It was useful. You could just read the book and listen to the Cd. There are lots of options for prenatal education.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replied. I really like Doula #1 but I am concerned about the distance especially in the middle of February in Toronto... SNOW!


Ash - I interviewed on my own, but that was mainly because my partner works swing shift (about 3 pm - 3 am) so it's really hard to accommodate our schedules. Doula #1 actually set me up with some good questions:

  • Where does your doula live? (She recommended anything more than about an hour away may not be a good idea).
  • What kind of experience do they have, specifically have they worked in the setting you are choosing (home, hospital, if hospital are they familiar with your hospital?)
  • What is included in terms of pre-natal and post-natal visits.
  • Do they also provide education, if not what classes / sources do they recommend?
  • What life obligations do they have? (e.g. do they have  full time job, do they have their own kids)
  • Are there any specific practices they are experienced with (e.g. hypnobirthing)
  • Do they have a back up doula? If so, will you meet them?
  • What is their payment policy? (e.g. do you pay all at once, or can you pay in installments?)
  • Do they have a sliding scale on their payment (if needed)?
  • What is their policy if for any reason they are unable to attend the birth? (Most doula's refund half the cost). 
  • Have they ever missed a birth, and why?
  • How many clients do they take in a month?


Aside from all of that what each doula said is that it's personality fit that matters the most. You really need to feel comfortable and confident in this person, it's a very personal relationship. I had some additional questions for example I don't want either of our mother's to be able to come into the labour room. They are lovely people, but not when I'm in stress or pain. I asked how they would handle that. I also am working with a friend who is a RMT and I wanted to be sure they were happy to have another professional support person in the room. 


In the end I interviewed 4 doulas, and 2 of them were definitely not a good fit. The other two are the ones I'm struggling to decide between. 

post #6 of 10
Beaglesmuggler- I'm totally freaked out by the idea of birthing during snow! I got my car stuck on my street three times last year and because the snow was so heavy and our driveway so long, I could never shovel my own drive. My MW has a truck and that's important to me so she can get to our house. I might be a little paranoid.
post #7 of 10

A doula isn't like a midwife, where you call when you're absolutely positive you're about to have that baby and get to this house ASAP before I have the baby in this tub unassisted! :) Most mothers have a much more personal relationship with their doulas; I'm thinking she'll probably have plenty of time from that first text/call to arrive. In our area they're almost notoriously eager! Lol. 

I would look at experience... it makes a huge difference. A doula doing this for five or ten years with plenty of conferences and meetings and conversations with colleagues under her belt is more likely to recognize things that might need attention that others would miss, like a tongue tie that prevents breastfeeding, or in pregnancy hypoplastic breasts, etc. These are things that someone needs to catch and refer out to a lactation consultant ASAP. While personality does mean a lot... this isn't someone you're looking to be your best friend, and a good experienced doula knows how to turn off her personality during a birth and just hand over the room's energy to the mother. 

Good luck... I have an overabundance of doula options around me and lots of them are friends... so it's a matter of not hurting feelings, and choosing the right doula to photograph, the right doula to tend the four year old, etc. My midwife is a doula as well and probably the one I am MOST comfortable with, and she brings an assistant (also a doula typically) with her for births. 

post #8 of 10
Although, many Doula's do have a protocol about when to arrive. I think for us it was when contractions were 7-1-1. Our MW arrives at 5-1-1. In my case I didn't get to either of these points. No one thought I was in labour until I finally went to my MW and she checked dilation and told me the baby would be born soon. I went home and everyone assembled immediately and the baby was born a few hours later. Doula's at the practice had actually missed births that had occurred too quickly. So, I think it depends on the doula's protocol and how your labor progresses.
post #9 of 10
I would also add that if you're having 2 support persons that you should run this by your ob or MW because many hospitals have policies about the number of people that can be in the room. Sometimes this is strict - only one support person. Sometimes this is more than one support person as approved by your healthcare team.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

I ended up choosing Doula #2, just too nervous about the snow in February. Both had similar experience and had worked at the hospital where I'm registered. I'll have to double check with the OB about support people but so far no one has seemed to think 3 support people is going to be a problem in this hospital. 

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