7 Questions to Ask a Doula

So you’ve decided you want a doula on your birth team. You’ve set up interviews, and you’re excited to meet each of these wonderful women. But what do you ask in the interview? Here are some ideas of things you should include in that initial consultation with each doula you consider.

1. What brought you to birth work?

This is important, because it gives you background on what a doula’s priorities are. Was her call to birth work because she had a difficult birth herself and wishes she had support? Does she feel called to care for others? Has she wanted to support women in birth for most of her life? What drives her passion for this work? Each doula has a story, and knowing her “why” will help you know her!

2. What training do you have, and how much experience attending birth have you had?

This is a question I get at most interviews. It’s important that your doula has either been trained, or has a fair amount of experience, or both. Training is very helpful in knowing all of the ways labor and birth can progress, and ways to be helpful, but actually witnessing and supporting birth can be just as valuable. It’s up to you which is more important to you, or if they both are!

3. How do you see yourself supporting me?

This is great, because it gives the doula a chance to share all of the things she does best. Does she have a massage background? Is she trained in accupressure? Or aromatherapy? Or prenatal yoga? Or hypnobirth? Does she have affirmations or guided meditations she can share with you? Will she pray with you, or read you scripture during labor if you want it? Is she comfortable being hands-on for pain management? Does she feel comfortable standing back if you and your husband are managing things well? Is she confident in supporting your birth plan, and providing a safe space for you to discuss your options if your care provider wants you to do something? What are her strengths? This is especially important if you see yourself laboring in a specific way, and want to be sure your doula can provide the right support for your plan.

4. How will you support my husband/baby’s father?

Doulas do not replace dads during labor! Find out all the ways she plans to encourage dad to support you during your labor, and how she can support dad in caring for himself so he can be at his best to care for you!

5. Do you have backup in case of client overlap or doula illness?

The answer to this should always be YES! A doula should never put herself in a position where she could leave a client unsupported. She should have a solid plan for someone to attend each birth in her place, in the event of a client overlap or illness.

6. Do you offer any other services?

Some doulas have other wonderful things to share. For example: postpartum services, childbirth education, lactation and breastfeeding support, meal planning, baby wearing, sleep training, photography, belly binding, placenta services, and more! If you’re looking for multiple services, finding a doula that can offer more than just birth might save you time, energy, and even money, if she offers bundles or packages!

7. Any of your personal questions.

Are you planning a VBAC? Ask if she has experience supporting VBAC! Do you have a history of birth our other trauma? Ask of she’s been trained in trauma informed care. Are you planning a home birth? Ask if she’s familiar with your midwife!

When it comes down to it, this is the time to ask all of the questions you need answered to feel comfortable and confident with the person you’re inviting into your birth story. You need to find someone who makes you feel safe, and that you’re comfortable with feeling vulnerable in her presence. Don’t be afraid to ask her tough questions! Not every doula is a good fit for every mother. Finding the best fit is worth the time and effort!

Did I miss any questions you think are important? Share yours in a comment below!

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