Hiring a Birth Attendant or Doula – Questions to Ask

So you've decided you'd like a Birth Attendant or Doula to support you for your upcoming birth – congratulations! It's a big step for some couples to decide that they need extra support, but rest assured, this kind of support is one you will be very glad you called upon.

Most of us probably haven't had to interview anyone before, even if we have, it's hard to know what questions to ask a potential Birth Attendant. If you are a first time mum (or even second or third or more!), perhaps you aren't sure what you might need to find out from Birth Attendant or what is most important to ask. So we've come to the rescue and created an interview sheet for you, which you can download and print, ready to use! The questions will also be displayed below for those who don't have access to a printer.

Apart from the questions you might ask, your own observations and feelings about this person is also very important. Both parties might be nervous about meeting someone for the first time, however do try to gauge how you feel around this person. Ask yourself:

  • Do you feel relaxed in her presence?
  • Does your partner feel relaxed in her presence?
  • Does she listen to you and your partner?
  • Does she have soft, understanding eyes?
  • Does she have a warm, nurturing personality?
  • Do you think you would feel comfortable with her touch when you reach out for support or reassurance?
  • Do you feel that you could spend up to 24-48 hours straight with this woman while you are in labour?

Just like childbirth, use your instincts when choosing a Birth Attendant. Ask as many questions as you can, no matter how silly you think they might be. You need to be able to connect with the woman who will support you during such an intimate time. You will share a special relationship, so if it feels right, and you are happy with the answers to her questions, she may be the right Attendant for you! Don't be afraid to interview several Attendants as it will help you compare what others have to offer and find what you really want.

Enjoy the wonderful benefits of having an Attendant by your side and here's to a wonderful birth!

Click HERE to download the printable Birth Attendant interview questions. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open it.

Birth Attendant Interview Questions

Initial questions prior to meeting a Birth Attendant or Doula – e.g. over the phone

  • Are you available around my due date (from 38-42wks)? Are there any birthdays, holidays or events which will prevent you from attending the birth?
  • How long have you been a Birth Attendant for and how many births have you attended? What sort of births have you supported, e.g. caesarean, natural birth, waterbirth etc.
  • Where and when did you do your training? How many hours and births did it involve?
  • Do you attend the birth only or are there pre-natal and post-natal visits? Do you offer packages?
  • What do you charge and when is payment required? Do you have a non-refundable booking fee or ‘retainer'? Under which circumstances do you offer a refund?
  • Do you have any back-up Birth Attendants and if so will I get to meet them?
  • What happens if you don't make it for the birth, for example in a fast labour or if we cannot contact you? What happens if we haven't called you in time for the birth? What happens if we decide prior to the birth that we no longer require a Birth Attendant?

Birth Attendant Interview Questions

Questions to ask upon meeting a Birth Attendant or Doula

  • Why did you become a Birth Attendant? What do you love most about being a Birth Attendant?
  • What skills, qualities and abilities do you feel you have to offer us?
  • What are your philosophies and beliefs about childbirth?
  • How do Midwives and Obstetricians usually react to your presence? Have you ever experienced any tension with family members or medical professionals? If so how did you handle this?
  • Do you have children? Do you have childcare arrangements if I go into labour at anytime of day or night?
  • What were your own birth experience(s)?
  • What are your beliefs about pain relief?
  • What do you see as my partner's role during labour?
  • Will you support my partner too? If so, how?
  • What are your thoughts about my Midwife or Obstetrician? Have you worked with them before?
  • Will you attend a pre-natal appointment with us to meet our Midwife or Obstetrician?
  • Can you help us write our Birth Preferences (aka birth plan)?
  • How many births per month do you attend? Do you have any other births due around the same time as us? If so, when are they due?
  • How far away are you from the place of birth?
  • What will happen when I am in early labour? When should I inform you that things are happening? Will you come to my home in labour (if not homebirth) or will you meet me in hospital?
  • Are we able to contact you anytime with questions by phone or email? Will you be uncontactable at any times? How do I contact you and when can I contact you when I am in labour, day and night?
  • Have you worked in our chosen hospital or birth centre before? What are your thoughts about it?
  • How long do you stay for after the birth?
  • What are your experiences with breastfeeding and what are your philosophies?
  • Are there any books or workshops that you recommend to pregnant couples and / or new parents?
  • Do you have any references? Can I call one or two of them?

Click HERE to download the printable Birth Attendant interview questions. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open it.

Last Updated: December 8, 2014


Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a writer, doula (trained in 2005), and a mother of three awesome children. She's passionate about informing and educating fellow thinking parents and parents-to-be, especially about all the things she wishes she knew before she had her firstborn. Kelly is also passionate about travel, tea, travel, and animal rights and welfare. And travel.

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