When should I hire a Doula?
Every Doula works differently and offers different types of services. You might find it challenging to find a doula that suits your needs if you have very set ideas. Your best bet is to start looking early. Most doulas offer a free consultation either over the phone, email or in person. It is a good idea to interview more than one doula. This will give you an idea of what is out there in terms of philosophy, personality and experience. I recommend that you start looking at around 5-7 months gestation. This will give you plenty of time to find a doula in your area and give you time to do prenatal workshops with her if she offers them. It also gives you plenty of time to build a rapport and establish a trusting relationship.
That said, some doulas will accept to work with last minute clients. Some doulas will accept to attend only the birth while other doulas require that you take prenatal education with them in order for them to really get a sense of what will help you in your labour.
It is important to consider the schedule of a doula. Typically, a very busy doula attends a maximum of 4-5 births per month. If you contact her at the last minute, she might not be able attend your birth if she is booked. If this is the case, ask her to recommend a backup that you might contact.