How Do I find the Right Doula? 10 Important Questions to Ask During an Interview
Updated: Jan 30, 2019
Finding the right doula for your birth space is essential. I always recommend that people interview a few. How your doula looks on paper is one thing, but that ‘gut feeling’ is so much more. It is important that you think about questions that are important to you, but sometimes it can be a little tricky thinking of the right questions! Here are some questions to ask your potential Doula:
1. What type of training do you have?
Many certifying organizations have completely different philosophies. It is important that you hire a doula that is on the same page as you, and that your doula's training reflects that.
2. What are your fees? Do you take payment plans or work on a sliding scale?
Some training doulas have set fees, while others are happy to offer pro-bono births while they are in the certification process. Some highly experienced doulas offer a couple pro-bono births a year for community outreach. The point is that you really don’t know until you ask. If you see a doula that you really would like to work with but their fee seems too high, it never hurts to call and ask. If their fee is firm they will likely be able to refer you to someone that they know and trust who has more flexible fees.
3. Do you have a backup Doula?
Never assume that all Doulas have backup! Some don’t! It’s important to know their policies about meeting their backup and how that process works.
4. What type of communication should I expect from you prior to birth?
Does your doula have “prenatal meetings” prior to birth? How often will your doula contact you? What type of communication does your doula expect from you?
5. When do you come to the birth and how long do you stay?
Some doulas come as soon as you feel that you need them, while others come only during active labor. Some doulas will stay with you for the entire duration of your labor even if it goes 40+ hours, while others have a 12 hour clause where they charge additional fees.
6. How do you support birthing people?
All doulas have different philosophies, styles, techniques, and approaches. Different doulas support in different ways. Knowing their methods of support, and making sure that they align with what you are looking for, is really important.
7. How long do you stay after the birth?
Some doulas only stay for a short period of time after the baby is born, while other doulas will stay 5+ hours. Make sure that you know what your doula typically does, and if you feel like they can provide the postpartum support that you need.
8. Do you have training and/or practical knowledge or experience in breastfeeding?
If you are planning on breastfeeding, then all the support you can get is good! Check in with your doula and see if they would be able to support your breastfeeding goals. Asking them if they know what a proper latch looks like or if they have IBCLCs they can refer you to.
9. Do you offer postpartum care or visits? Is there an additional fee for additional visits?
Some doulas offer postpartum visit(s) and some do not. Some people want additional support after the baby comes and some people do not. Do you need/want additional support? Would your doula be able to provide that for you?
10. Do you have children at home? What are your potential reasons for not being able to attend my birth?
Knowing what your doula’s life looks like is important. Does your doula have another job? If so, how flexible are their hours? Does your doula have children? Does she have to rely on a babysitter to attend your birth?
A doula is more than just an investment. They are someone that will support you through what is potentially a vulnerable and emotional time. Birthing people who have doulas tend to have more satisfying births overall. Your birth space matters and who you invite into it makes a difference.
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