A high-quality birth team really only needs a few players. However, it is important that those you choose to be on your team are a good fit for you and your needs. For this reason, interviewing doulas is a crucial step in ensuring you have the very best birth experience possible.
When you are chatting with potential doulas, it is generally a good idea to go in prepared. This means having a good idea of what you are looking for in a doula and starting the process off well-equipped with a good, thorough list of questions. The questions any given women might ask a potential doula will vary based on personality and preferences, but there are a few general questions every expecting mama should ask during the interview process.
Below we have complied a list of some of the most helpful questions to ask potential doulas during the hiring process. While many of these questions have no right or wrong answers, every single one of them will provide you with valuable information which you can use to make the very best decision for you and your family. Thrive Mama Collective has several Oklahoma City doulas who offer free consultations.
Q: “Are you certified? What kind of training have you had?”
While certification is not required to be a practicing doula, and it is perfectly possible to find a wonderful doula that is not certified, investment in a quality training does show a certain amount of commitment, and proves a certain level of knowledge in a doula. Because of these facts, it is best to ask questions about training when shopping around, and consider the amount of training a doula has had when making your final decision.
Additionally, many doulas have been trained in (or specialize in) various childbirth techniques and methods, including Hypnobirth and the Bradley Method. Therefore, if you are hoping to use a particular method during your labor, it could be a good idea to ask your potential doulas about their level of experience with that particular method.
Q: “How long have you been practicing? How many births have you attended?”
These questions go right along with the ones listed above. While it is important to keep in mind that the amount of time a doula has been working, or how many births she has attended, do not give you any definite answers about the quality of her services, these types of numbers are nice to have when comparing a number of potential doulas.
Q: “May I have references?”
Obviously, a good doula should have some good references to share with you. Get these during your first meeting and check them before moving forward. References are one of the best ways to learn more about a person’s character and business practices in a short amount of time.
Q: “Why are you a doula?”
This is a very telling question, and one all expecting mothers should ask during all doula interviews. Doulas have a very difficult job. Because their job is so taxing (both mentally and physically), it is important that your doula is very passionate about what she does and is excited to help you welcome your little one into the world.
Q: “What kinds of unusual situations have you been through? How did you handle them?”
A doula absolutely needs to work well under pressure. She needs to be able to keep her cool should something go wrong, and think and act quickly in order to keep mama and baby safe. By getting a feel for the kinds of situations your doula candidates have had to resolve and the various ways they did so, you can have an idea of how they act when something goes wrong.
Q: “What will you do to help make my labor comfortable?”
The number one job of a birth doula is to keep the laboring mama comfortable and happy throughout her labor and delivery. Ask your candidates what kinds of methods they like to employ to keep their clients comfortable as they labor. Consider whether or not these methods are appealing to you personally.
Q: “How will you involve my partner in the process?”
Most women want their partner involved in the birth of their child, and most partners want to be involved. Unfortunately, partners can fear feeling left out when a doula is brought on the scene. For this reason, you will probably want to address where and how your significant other will fit into the picture during your labor and delivery.
Q: “Do you attend births at home as well as the birth center or hospital? Are there any hospitals or birth centers you will not work in?”
Clearly if you are delivering at home, you need a doula who is comfortable in that situation. Likewise, if you are delivering in a hospital, you need a doula who is knowledgeable in the hospital birth arena and comfortable taking on the task of assisting you. When talking with potential doulas, be sure to ask them where they have attended births in the past, where they are willing to attend births now, and if there are any hospitals or birth centers in particular that are off-limits to them.
Q: “Do you have other clients with the same due month as mine? If so, how many?”
If you are concerned about the number of clients your doula takes on each month, go ahead and ask her. After all, it would be a real bummer to go into labor only to find out your doula is at another birth. Of course, this situation cannot always be avoided, so be sure to also ask the question below:
Q: “Do you have a backup doula? May I chat with her?”
Sometimes things happen. Maybe your doula comes down with a stomach bug, or perhaps she got called into another birth. Whatever the case, you will likely want to have another doula on standby just to be safe. Be sure to ask your doula if she has a backup doula, who she is, and if you may chat with her.
Q: “What are your fees? When is payment due? What is included?”
All of these are important questions that your doula will likely address without you even needing to ask. However, if she doesn’t bring up the financial side of things, be sure to get information like to cost of services, what all is included in the cost (prenatal visits, postpartum visits, hours of care during labor, breastfeeding support, etc), and when payment is due.
Q: “When are you on call?”
Obviously, you don’t want to go into labor only to find out your doula isn’t on call. When interviewing doula candidates, make sure each and every one of them is on call 24/7 around your estimated due date.
Q: “What other services do you offer? Do you offer discounts on these services to doula clients?”
Many doulas offer such services as placenta encapsulation, classes, postpartum doula services, and lactation counseling services. Be sure to ask your doula if she offers any additional services. If you learn that she does, it doesn’t hurt to ask about potential discounts for her doula clients.
This is just a base list. It is important that you add to this list, take away from it, and morph it to make it your own and ensure it fits your needs.
During the hiring process, it is important to keep in mind that you do not have to hire the very first doula you talk to. Make sure to shop around and find the doula that best suits you. You will thank yourself for it later.