Answers to your doula questions
Selecting the right doula is a two-part decision: the first part is based on the doula’s education, experience, and philosophy (and does it meet the standards you are looking for in a doula); the second part is based on personality and if you feel like it’s easy to connect and be with her. Remember that she will be there during one of the most important days of all of your lives (mom, dad, and baby), so look for someone who takes times to listen to you, wants to know your preferences, and is excited about working with your doctor/midwife/nurses at the hospital. Take time to interview several doulas before you select the doula who is the right match for you.
Certification is very important. There is no licensure for doulas, and doulas can and do work without being certified. Without certification however, a doula sets her own standards and parameters for the profession. Certified doulas, on the other hand, are accountable to an international certifying body (such as CAPPA, DONA, To Labor) and must uphold the Code of Conduct and work within the Scope of Practice for that organization in order to maintain certification. Certification also requires that a doula show proof of continuing education for recertification, which is very important as information about pregnancy and birth is continually changing based on research, trends, and guidelines set by organizations like ACOG or WHO. When interviewing a doula, be sure to ask about certification and if she is currently certified, the certification process, standards, and whether the organization she is affiliated with is internationally recognized.
Doula services vary depending on education, experience, and what part of the country you live in. Doulas in the Cincinnati area charge between $250-$1100 for services that include the basics (prenatal appointments, phone and e-mail support, attending your birth, being on-call several weeks at a time, back-ups, and postpartum support) and sometimes additional things like photography or classes.
I offer payment plans or the option of working with a apprentice doula I am mentoring. Apprentice doulas are in the process of certification and their fees are often lower as they seek to increase their experience and meet their requirements for certification. I work very closely with my apprentice doulas in guiding them through the process of working with you and attending your birth. Contact me if you’d like additional information on working with an apprentice doula or if you are a student doula who is interested in applying for my Apprenticeship Program.