How to Find a Doula
Start by checking with your local hospital -- some have in-house doula programs, though it's likely that you'll need to hire one privately. Get recommendations from the teacher of your childbirth classes, your ob-gyn, or a pediatrician's office. A doula's set fee can be as low as $250 or as high as $1,500. Most insurance companies don't cover the cost.
You can also contact one of the major doula organizations: DONA International (dona.org), International Childbirth Education Association (icea.org), or the Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators (alace.org).
Once you've identified several potential doulas, call to see whether they're available around your due date and to get a sense of your compatibility. "The right personality is important," says Masterson. "Spend time with the doula beforehand to make sure you click."
When you meet, ask about her training and birthing experiences, her fees and refund policies, whether she works with other doulas for emergency backup, and what sort of interaction she likes to have with clients before the birth. Some prefer regular meetings; others just want phone updates after each obstetrician appointment. It's also a good idea to get references.
Copyright ? 2006. Reprinted with permission from the February 2006 issue of Parents magazine.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.