A family sent me an inquiry to ask if I had doula referrals for Seattle; which inspired me to expand on this list which I wrote in my guide ‘How to Hire a Postpartum Doula.’
An internet search
This is how I found my birth doula 12 years ago!
I went down a google search rabbit hole and discovered two doulas via a parenting forum; one of which was via the Berkeley Parents Network and the other escapes me.
I met with them both and ultimately chose the doula who had the professional and personal experience to support my vision.
Cons: This probably isn’t a great way to find a doula if you prefer personal referrals.
Pros: This is a great way to find a doula if you don’t mind checking references and taking time for an in-depth meet and greet.
I also highly recommend investing in a consultation; my clients find it’s money well spent. They get to ask questions related to their needs versus the generalities which are found on FAQ, for example.
Referrals from friends who’ve used a postpartum doula
Many families find a doula through friends.
A personal referral from a trusted friend offers an opportunity to find out what it’s like to work with a particular caregiver from someone you know and already trust.
It also gives a well rounded picture of how the doulas skills and services translate into a beneficial experience for your family.
Cons: If you and your friend aren’t on the same wavelength in regards to parenting philosophies, you may find the doula isn’t the right fit.
Pros: You know the doula is great because your friend probably wouldn’t refer someone with whom they didn’t have a great experience.
This is how I discovered my pediatrician.
Most childbirth educators have an exhaustive list of providers related to pregnancy, postpartum and newborns; pediatricians, lactation consultants, massage therapists, perinatal psychologists, Mommy and Me groups and doulas.
Cons: It’s possible they refer you to someone who they’ve referred others to without much consideration; who is nice and professional, but isn’t the right fit for your family.
Pros: You’re receiving a referral from a trusted professional who more than likely is referring to care providers they have vetted.
Ask your birth doula
As a postpartum doula, I’ve received many client inquiries from families referred by their birth doula.
Like childbirth educators, birth doulas tend to have a comprehensive list of care providers from which they refer clients. My birth doula referred me to my childbirth class and massage therapist. Both great referral experiences.
Cons: It’s possible, if you have very specific needs, you won’t like the referral. Ask for a couple of names and be specific about your non-negotiables.
Pros: Most birth doulas take the time to get to know their clients and usually have discernment on which caregivers are the best fit for a family.
Asking your care provider: obstetrician, midwife, pediatrician or lactation consultant for referrals
When you ask your care provider, you’ve probably spent some time with them and they know what type of person you are; enabling them to match you with someone who is a good fit for your family.
I’m regularly referred by care providers and the clients are often well matched since the individuals referring know my philosophies and how I support families.
Cons: If they refer someone and you work with them and aren’t happy it may feel weird or not depending on your experience.
Pros: Care providers, generally, refer to doulas who they know, like and trust.
Calling a doula organization to find a postpartum doula in your area
Finding your doula through an organization is great for families who want to ensure their doula is affiliated with a professional doula organization.
Cons: You may miss out on working with a seasoned doula who has extensive experience and has chosen to remain independent of a formal doula organization.
Pros: You will find a doula who works within a specific scope of practice which you’ll be able to learn about through the doula organization.
Choosing a doula is as much about synergy of personalities as it is about qualifications.
For this reason I feel social media is a great way to get to know a doula.
Social media offers a glimpse into a doula’s personality, philosophy and sometimes a little behind the scenes.
Cons: Not a single one comes to mind. I’ve met lots of families and colleagues online and they were exactly what I expected since I already got to know them online.
Pros: You already know if you like the doula before you talk.
Generally most people who go through an agency are seeking someone quickly and prefer not to handle the interview process independently.
You get to tell them what you’re seeking in a doula and they’ll provide you with a list of options.
Cons: Agency fees. Many experienced and seasoned doulas don’t work through agencies.
Pros: It’s a one stop shop for a list of doulas and you’ll receive third party support during the interview process.
A few lingering thoughts…
Give yourself enough time to find a doula.
When you book your doula during your second trimester, you have an opportunity to build a rapport with your postpartum doula prior to welcoming your baby.
Some families start looking in their third trimester, maybe they found out about postpartum support in their childbirth class or they realize they’d like some support when they bring their baby home. There’s still time to find a great doula match for your family. The key here is not to compromise on any non-negotiables because you may feel time is running out.
If your baby is already home and you’re looking for a postpartum doula, the opportunity is still there to find a great doula. You probably have a good idea of what type of schedule and care would most support your family.
You may book a consultation with me if you’re looking for a postpartum doula or you desire support with choosing a doula in your city.