Hiring a Doula: Answers to Your Top Questions (Part 1)

In our years of experience as doulas, one thing is very clear: those who decide to hire a doula don’t take this decision lightly. After all, it’s an important investment in your pregnancy and birth experience! This means you might have a lot of questions swimming around in your head when it comes to hiring a doula and making sure you find the right fit. And we have answers! 

Questions About Hiring a Doula

Today, we’re sharing the answers to some of your top questions about getting a doula, so keep reading for the information you’re looking for. 

What is the role of the doula?

The main role of a doula is providing emotional and physical support throughout the birthing process. From helping you prepare for labor to providing comfort measures and advocating on your behalf, your doula can be by your side every step of the way.

Doulas are also excellent sources of evidence-based information about all aspects of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care, so they can help you make informed and empowered decisions about your care.

Keep in mind, there are also different kinds of doulas to consider when making your decision. While some doulas provide all of the support mentioned above, others may specialize in one specific aspect of care such as postpartum doula services or breastfeeding support.

Is a doula my advocate?

This is also a complicated question and one that has changed over the years. 

Doula training historically taught that doulas don’t advocate for their clients. But with the BIPOC rate of maternal mortality being 4 to 5 times higher than those of their white counterparts in the U.S. it has become acceptable for doulas to advocate when appropriate. 

The stakes are so high! 

We certainly do the work to prepare clients to advocate for themselves. But it would be unethical to silently stand by if we understood that action needed to be taken and we didn’t take it. 

Should you hire a doula?

Even a specialist in Fatherhood at WTF, David Arrell unequivocally rule #7 states, “Dude, Hire a Doula.” 

John Kennell, MD, a pediatrician and pioneer in continuous labor support research has said, “If a doula was a drug, it would be unethical not to use one.” 

To better help you answer this question for yourself, however, it’s helpful to consider the benefits of hiring a doula. 

What are the benefits of hiring a doula?

Research has shown continuous labor support with a doula is risk-free and highly effective. Here are some of the evidence-based reasons that could influence your decision to get a doula.

Strong Evidence-Based Support for Doula Use

Credible long-standing research supports the use of doulas for continuous labor support. 

A professional not related to the patient has incredibly powerful benefits such as:

  • More likely to have a vaginal birth
  • Less likely to have pain medication
  • Less negative feelings about their birth
  • Shorter labors
  • Less complications at birth
  • 25% – 39% reduction in cesarean rate

One important study also showed a marked decrease in cesareans when a doula is added to the labor partner:

25% cesarean rate with a partner lowered to a 13% cesarean rate with a partner AND A DOULA.

In the case of a labor induction the results were even more incredible:

59% cesarean rate with partner alone lowered to a 13% cesarean rate with a partner AND A DOULA!

So, if you ask us, hiring a doula, if at all possible, is an easy decision. 

What they do on paper is nothing compared to the impressive benefits you will feel simply upon hiring one! 

Clients report feeling so much better even just having signed the paperwork. And it only gets better from there!

You have someone who has no agenda except to support, inform, and champion you from that moment on. This includes 24/7 communication with your doula to get information on anything that may come up or any worry you may be having.

Okay, I’m sold. How do I hire a doula?

Getting the right fit for YOU and YOUR NEEDS is the most important thing.

Choosing a Doula

There’s so much more to choosing the right doula than simply asking, “how many births have you done and are you certified?”

You’re not hiring an insurance agent. This is an intimate experience! You and your partner will want to completely click and connect with your doula. 

Before asking the generic questions of your prospective doula, it’s even more important to first ask YOURSELF some questions! Then you will be in a much better position to ask your prospective doula the questions that will matter to you.

So, that concludes part one of this series…but don’t worry, we have the list of questions to ask YOURSELF about hiring a doula ready for you. Find it here

Contact us for more details about hiring doula services so you can come away feeling more prepared and empowered for birth!

Who We Are

Online Childbirth Class Instructors and Hospital Doulas Lisa Collins, MA., CD(DONA), ProDoula, Evidence Based Birth® Instructor Marnie Lea, RDH., CD(ProDoula) Co-Founders of The Hospital Doulas.