You’ve done the research and understand the value of having a doula support you at your birth. You’ve reached out to a few doulas and have set up meetings to get to know them. Now what? How will you know what to ask? Or how will you know if you and this particular doula will work well together? Below are the Top 10 Questions to Ask at the Doula Interview:
Why Did You Become a Doula?
I think this might be the most important question. You’ll be able to find out a lot about the doula you’re interviewing with just this first question. Maybe she had a doula at her own birth and it had a strong impact on her. Maybe she has a desire to help women make informed evidence-based choices regarding pregnancy and labor. Maybe she is already working as a birth professional (childbirth educator, prenatal yoga instructor) and this was just a natural next step in her career.
Can You Tell Me About Your Training?
There are dozens of trainings for doulas, and they can vary greatly in what is covered. Some are online-only, while others are 2-3 day workshops. Some cover breastfeeding, while others focus only on childbirth. Some include hands-on training and role playing to train doulas, while others don’t.
Are You Certified? Through Which Organization?
Just like trainings can vary, so can certification processes. Some require very little, while others can be rigorous and time-consuming. There is no right or wrong certification process, and a doula who is not yet certified can still provide you with wonderful support.
How Many Births Have You Attended?
Here is where you can learn more about their experiences. Most certifications require 3 births. Do you want a doula with years of experience? Are you interested in hiring a newly-trained doula? Or would you prefer someone in the middle?
What Is Your Birth Philosophy?
Like the first question, this can tell you a lot about the doula as a person. It’s also important to see if they’re view and yours line up. Listen to what they have to say and see if you find yourself agreeing or not.
Do You Offer Any Other Services?
A lot of doulas have training or experience in other childbirth-related fields. Postpartum care, breastfeeding support, massage therapy, and placenta encapsulation are just a few of the dozens of different services offered by many doulas.
Can You Explain Your Rates and Fees?
Are they doing this as a hobby? Is this their full-time job? Women don’t go into doula services for the money, but they still deserve to be paid a fair wage. It’s a physically and emotionally demanding job. And remember, research shows that doulas lower the likelihood of interventions and cesarean birth, which means a cheaper hospital bill for you.
If Applicable, What Were Your Birth Experiences Like?
A lot of doulas are amazing at what they do, without ever having experienced birth themselves. But if they have given birth before, it can be interesting to hear about their experience and how that most likely shaped their view of childbirth.
What Are Your Hobbies/Interests?
This is your chance to get to know her as a person. You’ll want someone you feel a connection with. Do you both enjoy staying active? Maybe you realize you both like the same tv show, or you both enjoy classical music. Whatever it is, find out more about them.
Do You Have a Back-up Doula?
Sometimes life just happens and knowing that she has a back-up in case of sickness or another client can be comforting to you both. Will you meet the backup before labor? Can you set up a phone date with the back-up doula? How is the back-up paid? These are all things the doula should have figured out well before your birth.
Best of luck finding a doula to support you before, during, and after birth!