This is hands down one of our most commonly asked questions. And since now we are through the holidays, and perhaps you are expecting you might be thinking about it too. When do I hire a doula?
The short answer is really...you can hire a doula at anytime. We have heard from moms as early as 8 weeks and as late as 39 weeks. There is no "right" time but there are some important things that you should consider in when you decide to hire a doula.
Your Knowledge of What Doulas Do and Who they Are
Finding a doula that is the right fit can take some time. Doulas are being invited into a very intimate time with you and your family and you should really have a good fit with them. If you aren't familiar with doulas in your area or other resources in your birth or mom community, consider researching out in your first trimester so you can begin interviewing them or attending their local events. We have several opportunities moms can meet us in the next few weeks so check our Facebook page for details.
Availability of Your Preferred Doula
Doulas are limited on the number of clients they can take each month. This is a good thing because it means you receive excellent support! But it also means they have the chance to be booked and unable to serve you. We at Frederick Moms and Doulas individually do not exceed two births a month. Our recommendation is that if you have a doula or doula team in mind, kindly reach out to them early in your pregnancy. This does not mean they (or we!) expect a contract when you do this, but they can let their team know they have a potential mom on their radar who we should consider reaching out to if we end up with requests for that month.
Desired Role of Your Doula
Doulas can take on different roles depending on what families need. Providing prenatal, birth, and postpartum support is one of the best parts about hiring a doula. From our perspective it is so much better to get to know you and your family ahead of time and it allows us to provide you the best support possible. You can pick our brains, use our resources, and attend events. While most doulas provide this type of service, some parents know they will be requesting more support on the birth and postpartum side and are not as concerned with the early support. In that case, perhaps hiring in the third trimester is appropriate for the family and they will find just as much value as if they had hired from the beginning.
Baby prepping comes with lots of financial needs. Often families choose to wait to see if a doula with be financially reasonable and others know that is is an investment worth making in the beginning. We always offer payment plans to our clients so we can begin support as soon as they desire it, and it can be a more practical investment to make. If you have a doula or team in mind and finances are part of your consideration on when to hire them, reach out and see what payment options they offer.
If you are considering hiring a doula, we would love to hear from you!