Considering hiring a Doula?

11 April 2017

Considering hiring a Doula?

Considering hiring a Doula?

Doula insights

A doula (which comes from the Greek word for female servant) have been used for many years to provide labor support to women. Unlike midwives and L&D nurses, doulas are not medically trained but provide emotional, physical, and information support to women and families during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the post-partum period.

We talked to Jessica Weisbrod from Birthing in Love ( a doula service based in Newport News, Virginia, about her role as a doula and what she brings to the birthing experience.  Jessica has been a doula for almost 6 years and chose the job based on her own experience, “I had a few awful birth experiences and I never wanted another woman to go through what I did. Women hire a doula because they want to feel supported in their choices.”

What service does a doula offer?

What doulas provide in terms of their service, can vary depending on the woman’s individual needs. Packages can include support such as birth plan advice, texts, on-call help, birth support and post-partum support. Meetings or home visits are done during antenatal and postpartum period, therefore support can be given once the baby or babies are home. The Doula’s support includes help with breastfeeding, relaxation techniques and birthing positions. At Birthing in Love birth packages ( However, this can vary or be adapted to the needs of the client and her birthing partner. “I have packages starting at $150.00 going all the way up to $1500.00. It all depends on the woman’s needs. I also frequently offer discounts to low income, single mothers, and military.”

Finding the right Doula

There is currently no central register for doulas in the US, however other parts of the world may have a register, so it would be wise to check if there is a register. Jessica suggests using the website, as a good starting point for finding a doula in the US or Canada as it provides detailed profiles, testimonials and availability. Obviously, a woman seeking to appoint a doula will need to know that they will be compatible before choosing them. This is often decided at an initial meeting, “By doing a consultation, basically a ‘get to know each other’ meeting. You can usually know right away if someone is a fit.”

Doulas are not required to undergo any professional qualifications but Jessica does recommend training, “It's always a good idea to take a training course first. There are no regulations on being a doula. A doula could choose to become certified through an organization like Birth Arts International, which offers fantastic training or choose not to be certified and learn through an apprenticeship. You may find a doula who has been to hundreds and thousands of births and be one of the most sought after doulas in the area but has never been certified.  A different doula may be certified but only have attended 5 births. And vice versa. You just have to find the right fit for your family.”

Experiencing birth from a Doula’s perspective

Doulas need to guide women through their pregnancy and birth, Jessica feels the most important qualities of a Doula need to be “Empathy. Compassion. Calmness - even in the face of chaos.”

The relationship between a woman and her doula can be an emotional one and in certain cases, a doula might have to make difficult decisions. Jessica says the most difficult part for her is “When your clients birth plan has gone straight out the window (for her own safety), but you know it isn't at all what she wanted, but there's nothing you can do about it.”

Equally, job satisfaction can be a great part of the job, Jessica describes the best part of being a doula as “…being told by your client that they are so happy you were there for one of the most important days of their lives and how they couldn't do it without you.  (Though of course I always tell them that of course they could have, I just made it a little easier.)”

Click here for further information about Birthing in Love doula services.

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