I had a friend just give birth. She told me beforehand that she wanted to go without medication. I asked her if she had a doula, and she said she did not because hers was about to have a baby. I wanted to ask you where she could find another one because to me it doesn't seem like a good idea to go without medication without some knowledgeable help, but she had the baby early, so I didn't get to ask you about it. For the future, how should women go about finding doulas?
Thanks for your question, Linda. I hope your friend's birth went well. Here are some options for finding a doula...
1) DONA, ALACE, and Findadoula.com
DONA and ALACE are two reputable doula training organizations that have searchable databases on their websites for finding doulas. Their homepages have prominent "Find a doula" search boxes. Findadoula.com is a site I only just became aware of. DONA only lists names, phone numbers, and email addresses for doulas, but DONA's database is the largest and most comprehensive list of doulas (by far). ALACE and Findadoula.com have the advantage of giving you more information about each doula (experience, philosophy, website, etc.) which is helpful as you try to narrow down your search, but their lists include far fewer doulas. Other similar options are Doulanetwork.com and CAPPA.
2) Google search
Maybe this one's obvious, but sometimes doing a simple search such as "Arizona doula" will lead you in the right direction. For instance, "Arizona doula" brings up the ADOBE Doulas website--a great local resource for finding experienced and volunteer doulas. Most states have doula associations with lists of local doulas on their websites. And the directors of those organizations are usually "in the know" as far as helping to connect you with the right people for your situation.
3) Word of mouth
Sometimes the best way to find a great doula is simply by word of mouth. Put the word out that you're looking for a doula. There's a good chance you know someone (or know someone who knows someone) who has used a doula and might be able to refer you to them. Sometimes a personal connection makes the choice easier.
Once you have a list of names, you'll want to interview each doula to find the one who seems most compatible with your (and baby's father's) personality and your vision of what you want your birth to be like. Babycenter has a good list of doula interview questions.
I hope this was helpful!