But lack of formal training doesn’t necessarily mean a doula will pose a problem. Finding one you’re comfortable with and who gets along with your physician as well as labor-and-delivery nurses require more than reviewing a resume, however. You'll also need to meet with several candidates and ask specific questions (example: "If any of your previous clients had to have a C-section, how did you respond to her doctor when he said it was necessary?"). Check references and ask around at birthing classes and hospitals to learn what people say about a particular candidate.
It’s also important to ask a doula whether she has been trained to follow certain professional standards and protocols, says Ann Grauer, president of Doulas of North America, an organization that certifies and educates doulas, training them to provide only emotional support. But ultimately, paying attention to your gut feeling is the most important precaution. If you’re not comfortable with a doula in the interview, chances are you—and others—won’t feel at ease with her in the delivery room, either.