If you are a pregnant mother exploring the idea of hiring a Doula in the Tulsa and Northeast Oklahoma region, there are some specific topics you should educate yourself on. Not only are Doulas increasingly helping expectant mothers prepare, deliver, and move forward with a newborn, they are also highly certified and experienced in the childbirth experience as a whole. The ability to draw from a Doula’s real life experiences is a huge advantage most new mothers do not have access to. Your expectations as a mother should never be ignored. Professional Doulas understand they are part of a larger team of people ready to care for the baby. Successful Doulas are dedicated to the mother, their client, and will provide continuous support throughout the birth planning, labor and deliver, and postpartum transition. As you move through the Doula hiring process in Tulsa, OK, be aware of the following ten aspects.
- Previous Training – The majority of qualified Doulas have attended a DONA, Bradley, or CAPPA workshop. Most Doulas are able to become certified through their organization after 5 or more births.The entire Doula training process can take several months to several years. The International Doula organization, DONA.org offers a Doula locator service that is helpful when beginning your search.
- Previous Experience – As listed above, a fully qualified Doula should have ten births completed. When exploring a Doula candidate’s previous experience, look for the types of women they have supported, which hospitals or birth centers they have worked in, as well as any specialized care they have provided. Experienced Doulas may have worked with birth complications, for example, or coordinated care for babies with special needs. He or she may also have coordinated birthing processes in the home.
- Business Model – It is important to understand a prospective Doula’s business model. You want to be assured that a qualified Doula will be present for your labor and delivery. While working with a sole proprietor is perfectly acceptable, you do run the risk of your Doula being unavailable during your times of need. Many Doulas in Tulsa, OK operate as a partnership or team to avoid such absences. Mothers should be fully aware of the Doula’s business model and have met each team member and feel comfortable with them. I use other doulas that I have worked with and sometimes helped train as my backup doulas.
- Pricing Structure – Typically Doulas charge a flat rate, however, understanding a prospective Doula’s fee structure is very important before entering into any type of contract. Prices can vary greatly between doulas and cost is not necessarily an indicator of experience or level of training.
- Prospective Doula’s Birthing Philosophy – A mother’s hopes and expectations are complex during childbirth which is why it is important to be certain a prospective Doula’s philosophies match your own. Some questions to consider: how will he or she support you during the laboring process? Does he or she support natural childbirth or medically assisted childbirth? Is your doula for birth comfortable working with your care provider and your place of delivery?
- Communication Strategies – How will your Doula support you before, during, and after childbirth? What types of communication exercises will he or she utilize between you and your partner? How often will you meet with your Doula face‐to‐face? If something feels off between you and your prospective Doula’s communication, it is important to discuss it ahead of delivery.
- Postpartum Services – Does your prospective Doula have any prior experience with postpartum support? If he or she does, be certain they openly discuss this history with you and that future postpartum expectations are clear. Mothers are often stretched thin after giving birth and need to be reassured that their Doula will be available for consultation and that his or her consultation will be beneficial.
- Parenting Philosophy – One of the major decisions a new mother must make is how to nourish her child. Whether breast milk or formula, the mother and the Doula must understand and support one another. Alignment on parenting philosophies such as feeding, diapering, sleeping, and other fourth trimester parenting choices is crucial to a successful relationship with your prospective Doula. Your views on parenting are unique and very important to your success as a mother, any professionally qualified Doula in the Tulsa, OK area will support you and put your priorities over his or her own agenda.
- Extensive In‐Person Interviews – While searching for Doula candidates in Tulsa, OK it is perfectly fine to talk over the phone, once several candidates have been finalized, it is important to meet with these Doulas face‐to‐face on more than one occasion before delivery. Be certain to include any parenting partners or support people in your life. Some perceptions may arise on the prospective Doula’s ability to listen to your needs, support your decisions, and get an overall positive or negative feeling about them. Any qualified, experienced Doula should be open, honest, and willing to share experiences with you. That type of openness should allow a mutual connection to grow. If you go away from the interview still apprehensive, it is best to move along to another candidate. Typically, initial interviews are free of charge and most doulas will meet in a public place like a coffee shop or restaurant.
- Verify a Doula’s Credentials – While this may be as simple as a public record search, it can also be as extensive as hiring a private party to perform a full background check. You are inviting someone into your life during a very emotional process and therefore should be positive about his or her previous lifestyle choices. As previously stated, any professionally qualified Doula in the Tulsa, OK area should be 100% open and honest about his or her background. If there is anything held back it should be taken as a warning sign.
The value of hiring a Doula extends far beyond the birthing and postpartum process. Mothers and babies guided by a caring Doula in Tulsa, OK tend to have emotional support, breastfeeding success, and easier transitions into parenting. Communication between parenting partners increases because Doulas educate from a nonjudgmental point of view. A Doula often provides practical support as only a seasoned professional can, which is why I encourage thorough analysis of any prospective Doula’s credentials, philosophies, and business model. I am certain the relationship you create with your Doula will be long‐lasting and rewarding. I hope you will consider Doula for Birth as your birth doula provider.