Childbirth is perhaps one of the most miraculous events a person can experience. After all, you are bringing a life into the world. The magnitude of the event is unmatched in my humble opinion. During pregnancy, every woman wonders and thinks about what their birth experience will look like. Whether you are contemplating medication, an unmedicated birth, cesarean birth, vaginal - even the most detailed and well thought out plans are often foiled because in the end, we can't possibly know exactly how a birth will play out before it happens.
One of the things to consider is who you want by your side during labor. This is where considering a birth doula comes in. The role of a birth doula is really to be another person of support and an advocate in the room for the mother during labor and delivery. It is of course a very intimate and personal experience so inviting someone in to your space should be thoughtfully considered.
Here are a few things to consider if you are contemplating hiring a birth doula:
What kind of support are you looking for during labor and delivery? i.e. someone to talk you through contractions, someone to help with pressure points, someone to hold your hand?
What background and experience does the doula your are considering have?
Do you want to go through an agency or a doula who has a private practice?
Does the doula you are considering have a contract?
What are the fees and what is included in the fees? i.e. prenatal meetings, postpartum meetings, how many hours of labor.
What is the backup plan in the event your doula isn't able to make it to your birth?
What communication style does your doula have?
How does your partner feel about inviting a doula in to the birth?
Has the doula been a part of births at the hospital or birthing center you will give birth at?
Have you talked to your health care provider about having a doula a part of your birth?
For more great info on what to ask when interviewing a doula and more detailed information on what a doulas role is, check out Episode 20 of the STJ Podcast!