Information on hiring a doula

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Hiring a PALS Doula

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 FINDING A DOULA

We are delighted that you are hiring a birth doula!

A doula at your birth has repeatedly been demonstrated to both improve medical outcomes and increase satisfaction with your experience. PALS Doula help prepare you for the best experience possible, before, durin, and after your birth.

Read on for some tips for hiring a PALS Doula!

The search feature on the Find A Doula page allows you to search for doulas by your location and due date. Doulas who are available will show up in your search. Each doula will have additional information about themselves, their fees, and their practices. Most have a link to their website for more information about them.

Read through the information on available doulas. Consider what is important to you in a doula. Is it a cultural match? Connection to your lived experience? A sense of humor? Remember, you will likely spend hours of labor with this person. It is important that you and your support team feel at ease with and confident in your doula so chose candidates who seem to be a good fit.

We recommend you select three doulas to interview. Meeting a few doulas will help you determine who is the best fit for you and your growing family. Reach out to the doula via email or phone. If you have a partner or other support people who will be with you in labor, have them come to the interview as well.

It is helpful to have a list of questions to ask the doula at the interview. Below are some suggestions that you may find useful.

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QUESTIONS TO ASK A DOULA

Tell me about your training to become a doula.

Tell me about your experience as a birth doula. How long have you been a doula and how many families have you supported?

What are ways you support birthing people in labor?

What are ways you support partners during labor?

How do you interact with my medical team?

What is your philosophy about birth and supporting people through labor?
How often do we meet prenatally? What do we do or discuss during those meetings?

How often do we meet after my baby is born? What do we do or discuss during those meetings?

Are email, text and phone support for questions or concerns before or after the birth included?

When are you ‘on-call’ for my birth? What if I give birth before that time?

I am hoping for the following at my birth or after _________________ (ex: epidural, breast/chestfeeding, immunizations, homebirth, etc). What are your thoughts on those choices?
When do you join me in labor? Do you come to my home or meet me at the birth location?

Do you have backup doulas for times when you are not available? Is it possible to meet them?
What is your fee? What does it include? What are your refund policies?
How often and when do we meet after the birth to review the labor and answer questions?

If we decide to hire you, what are next steps?

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AFTER THE INTERVIEW

After the interview, in addition to the answers to the questions, consider how the doula listened to you, how they communicated, their comfort with you and your birth choices, and their level of knowledge and experience. The doula with which you feel most comfortable may be able to offer you more support than the doula with the most experience.

Once you have made your choice, contact the doula about next steps to hiring them. A doula may no longer have availability if you wait too long to respond. As a courtesy, consider contacting the other doulas you interviewed to let them know you have hired a doula. Doulas understand and want you to fit the best fit for your family.

If you have additional questions about hiring a PALS Doula, contact info@palsdoulas.org

The PALS Difference

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WHY PALS DOULAS?

Established in 1989, Pacific Association of Labor Support Doulas, or PALS Doulas, is the oldest professional association of birth doulas in North America. Our vision, mission and values, center on our commitment to anti-racism. PALS Doulas works increase education about doula work and to increase doula access to all birthing clients in their birth setting of choice.

Our members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and trainings. PALS Doulas are dedicated professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to expectant families. At present, PALS is nearly 200 members strong.

As one of the only third-party certifying organizations, we are not beholden to a particular training or organization. This means that we have been able to design a Standard of Practice (SOP) and Code of Ethics (COE) that supports NW doulas in their work to support NW families. Our SOP/COE give doulas the assurance that their certifying organization will back them up as they utilize the full range of their skills to help families they serve to have better outcomes.

PALS Doulas is local which afford us opportunities to build strong relationships with local hospitals, birth centers, and midwives. PALS Doulas is known in the NW for being responsive to the needs of our membership as well as to the health care providers who work with our doulas. We collaborate with local birth places and providers to create continuing education, policy improvements, and better communication between all who support our birthing families.

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RESEARCH ON DOULAS

Since the 1980s, western research has indicated again and again, that the presence of trained labor support improves outcomes. These outcomes include: lower cesarean rates, decreased use of pain medications, decreased risk of low 5-minute Apgar scores, increased levels of satisfaction with the birth experience which correlates to lower rates of postpartum depression, and increased rate of breast/chestfeeding. As Dr. John H.Kennell famously said, “If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” Select any of the images to learn more

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EASTSIDE HEALTH NETWORK

In 2021, Eastside Health Network (EHN), added a new doula benefit to their plan.

This means that subscribers to EHN may receive up to $1000 in reimbursement for qualified birth or postpartum doula services. EHN chose PALS Doulas to build this network from our membership. Doulas listed in our Directory(link to new page FIND YOUR PALS DOULA) will indicate of they are part of the Network. Doulas included in the network may also be found on the EHN website here (https://www.eastsidehealthnetwork.com/about-ehn/).

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Research

“The first cry of a newborn baby in Chicago or Zamboanga, in Amsterdam or Rangoon, has the same pitch and key, each saying, “I am! I have come through! I belong!” ~Carl Sandburg