Picking Your Dream Doula

Contributed by BirthFocus, a popular and well-respected center for doula services in the New York City area.

First thing’s first… What is a doula?

A doula is a professional who is trained in childbirth and provides continuous support to a mother before, during and just after birth. Doula comes from a Greek word that means “a woman who serves” or “handmaiden”.

This post will focus on prepartum doulas. Stay tuned for a future Mummy Scoop to learn how a postpartum doula can guide you through the next stage to parenting peace.

How should I choose a doula? 

It seems like a basic straightforward question; just figure out your price range and hire someone who costs about that much. This would be great advice if you were hiring a landscaper, but this person will be with you in one of the most intimate moments of your life. Childbirth, by design I believe, strips us down to the most essential pieces of who we are. It is the gateway to fulfilling one of the highest callings a human can have. Being a parent. It’s beautiful, painful, and real in ways few things are and every birth is as unique as you and your partner are. 

So why even have a doula with you?

If this is such an intimate moment do you really want another person there?  I think this is a great question and for some couples the answer may be no. But for most couples having a doula actually allows for this moment to be more intimate. A doula is there to hold the space for you as a couple to welcome your baby as close to the way you hope to as possible.  Your partner is free to be your partner and is guided by someone who understands what you are going through. They don’t need to keep all the details of your birth plan at the forefront of their mind or be wary of potential interventions. Your doula is the one who holds those things and hands the tools to your partner to help you when they are needed. Having a doula is like hiring a tour guide to help you hike through the mountains in a foreign country. The best tour guides have traveled the path many times, know where common missteps are made, know the language of the natives, and want you to have the best experience possible. They can’t prevent bad weather, but can help you find your way safely to the other side.

SO how do you choose a birth tour guide aka birth doula?

  • Personality
    • The top criteria really is: Do you like this person? Would you want to hang out with them? It’s a lot like dating. Is this someone you think you could spend a full 24 hours with? Is she someone you can imagine being there when things get “real”?
    • Perspective
      • Do you feel comfortable with this doula’s perspective about birth? Does she seem to have her own agenda for your birth or is she open to and fully accepting of your opinions? How does she feel about epidural pain management, about hospitals, about birth in general? How involved will she be in your prenatal period? What Childbirth Education model does she ascribe to? Does she know your particular OB, midwife or hospital? How does she handle it when “bad weather” comes
  • Price
    • This seems pretty self explanatory, but you should be as flexible as your budget allows.  Many grandparents and friends may be willing to contribute to your doula.
  • Peace
    • The culmination of all of these parts is this: Which doula brings you peace? When you look at all of these factors, which doula’s personality, perspective, and price collectively bring you the most peace? There’s your dream doula!


Since 2001 BirthFocus has walked side by side with women and their partners providing highly personalized, compassionate, and agenda-free birth, labor, and postpartum doula care.

Register here to meet your dream doula here at Yummy Mummy, with BirthFocus’s amazing affiliated doulas.




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