Questions to ask a Doula

Thinking of hiring a doula?

For many of you reading this website it will be the first time you have considered using a doula.  You may not be sure of what you need to know about your prospective doula so you may wonder what questions you could ask.  I’ve added some suggestions below which could help you to formalise your own list of questions.  However, always remember that it is the rapport you have between you and your doula which is the most important.  You will birth best when you are with someone you are 100% comfortable with.

 

Questions you may like to ask during the initial telephone call.

  • Are you available to support me around an estimated due date of ****?
  • Would I be your only client at that time?
  • Do you support women at my chosen hospital/birth centre or home births?
  • What are your fees?
  • What does your fee cover?
  • When could we meet with you to discuss?

 

Questions you may like to ask during the interview.

  • What training did you have to learn skills for labour support?
  • How long have you been a doula?
  • Are there transferable skills from what you did previous to that?
  • How many births have you attended?
  • Do you have education and experience providing any other type of care for pregnant women such as childbirth education?
  • Why did you become a doula?
  • How do you view your role during labour and birth?
  • If you were looking for a doula yourself to be at your birth, what would you look for?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses as a doula?
  • Have you supported other women using my choice of midwife, hospital, birth center or home birth team?
  • Do you have any concerns with my choices?
  • Do you get along well with my birth care providers?
  • What is your antenatal and birth package fee?
  • What does your fee cover?
  • Do you offer any payment plans or vouchers my friends and family can gift us.
  • What’s your refund policy?
  • When are you on call to come to my birth?
  • How many times would you meet with me/us before the birth to discuss our preferences or concerns?
  • When would you come to be with me in labour?
  • How long would you stay with me if I have a long labour?
  • Would you leave me at any time during labour?
  • How long would you stay with us after the birth?
  • What services do you provide during labour and birth?
  • How do you feel about the use of pain relief during labor?
  • What do you bring with you?
  • How do you help women cope with labour?
  • Have you any experience with my particular type of pregnancy i.e. twins or multiples
  • Have you any experience with my particular type of birth choice i.e. VBAC, Home birth
  • What do you feel about …….. (ask about any concerns or preferences that may be on your mind)
  • Which special labour or birth techniques do you find to be the most helpful?
  • How would you work with and involve my partner and family?
  • Would you be available to come to midwife/consultant appointments with me if desired?
  • Are there any possible extra costs I should know about?
  • Do you have any other clients due near the time I’m due?
  • Do you know of anything now that may cause you to be unavailable around the time of my birth?
  • Do you have a backup arrangement with another doula(s) in case you’re not free when I go into labor?
  • Can I meet with your back up?
  • Do you have any references you can show me?
  • Can I talk to a few of your recent clients for reference purposes?
  • Would you be available for questions before the birth either by phone, text or email?
  • When would you be available to answer questions?
  • Do you offer a birth debrief session after the birth?
  • Can you offer me support with breastfeeding?
  • What other support can you offer me in the post partum period?

 

Things you may wish to consider after the interview.

Try to imagine the doula at the birth with you.  How do you feel about it?  Explore your feelings by asking yourself some of these questions:

  • Do I feel comfortable around this person?
  • Is she enthusiastic to support me?
  • Does she have a calming energy around her?
  • Is she experienced and knowledgeable?
  • Did she really listen to me and communicate well?
  • Will she support my choices or will she encourage me to follow her own choices?

 

It’s also a good idea to check a few references. Ask what they liked most about the doula and whether there’s anything they wished she had done differently.

It is also advisable to meet with a couple more doulas as each doula is very different in personality, experience and the way in which they will support you.  You will be sharing a very special and intimate time with your doula, one in which long lasting memories are made.  Your relationship with her can change your birthing experience so take the time to  feel sure you have chosen the right doula for you – it’s important!