Hiring a Doula, Part I: The Search

Welcome to Hummingbird’s 3 part series on Hiring a Doula. I get asked every so often how I “get” my clients. Doulas rarely have store fronts and big advertising budgets, so what does the process look like for pregnant couples who want to hire one? Where do you find us? This week, we’ll start at the beginning: how to search for doulas in your area. Next week, we’ll look at the cost of hiring a doula. And finally, we’ll go over the interview process and how to hire The One.

The Search

Once you’ve decided you’d like a doula to be present at your birth, the search process can feel overwhelming. After all, you’re looking for a person you’ll feel comfortable in front of at your most vulnerable. Thankfully, the number of trained doulas in the U.S. is booming, so once you begin your search, you’re bound to find a handful of people you’d like to interview.

Let’s start with where to look first.

Social Media

Use that handy “looking for recommendations” button on Facebook and ask your network about their doula connections. Word of mouth is huge for doulas. If a mama and her partner had a good experience, they’re bound to want to rave about their doula to you. Ask for appliance repair recs; your aunt Linda will be your only response. Ask for doula recs; you’ll have to turn off notifications for your own post.

Get Your Partner Involved

Dads and partners almost always feel sweetly surprised by how much their doula’s presence supported them during the birth of their baby. Get your own partner involved in your search process and ask him to chat with his friends about their experiences. If your partner is anything like mine, it may take some prodding. But once he starts hearing from a few buddies or coworkers about how essential doula support was for them, he’ll get on board.

Practice Yoga

Check out the prenatal yoga classes in your area. Whether there’s a whole studio dedicated to pregnant mamas or just a few classes here and there, the teacher will almost certainly have a list of resources for you. The doula and yoga worlds tend to overlap.

Ask the Professionals

Although your OB might not be 100% on board with working alongside doulas, she’ll probably be able to share a few recommendations with you. And honestly, if your doctor isn’t enthusiastic about the idea, maybe that says something about how she’ll treat you when you’re in labor. If you’re working with midwives, they will definitely be able to steer you toward great doulas with whom they have worked in the past.

If you see a chiropractor regularly, see if she has names to pass along. The same goes for massage therapists, reiki practitioners, healing touch providers, and doctors of traditional Chinese medicine who do acupuncture. Professionals who work on the body are sure to be a wealth of information and doula referrals.

Other Websites and Resources


Doulas of North America International


Doula Match


The Childbirth Collective*

*I am not a member of the Childbirth Collective. While I think the organization does great things for the birth community in the Twin Cities, I simply cannot commit to the level of membership they require. I encourage anyone looking for a doula to not discount those of us who are not part of the CC.