Choosing a labor doula is a little like falling in love: The chemistry has to be just right. After all, this trained birth assistant will be at your side during one of the most important days of your life. So how do you find your special someone? Enter doula speed-dating, a chance to meet a variety of doulas with different styles, backgrounds and experience levels in hopes of finding “the one.”
An event in New York City last fall attracted the attention of expectant first-time parents Alicia Muñoz and Mike Zambito. “It was a minimal investment with maximum benefit,” says Muñoz of the free 90-minute experience, which started with a brief introduction and then broke into speed-dating format, sending a different doula to visit each couple every 10 minutes.
Requests for doulas have risen by 37 percent in the past five years, according to the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association, and similar “meet the doulas” evenings are popping up around the country. Vying for expectant parents’ attention at doula date night events are young rookies, seasoned grandmas and, as in the case of Muñoz and Zambito, a warm, grounded midwife- in-training who captured the couple’s hearts—and landed the job. To find an event, Google “doula speed-dating [city name]” or seek out doula collectives in your area. — Wendy Kagan