So you’ve decided you’d like a doula to support you for your upcoming birth – congratulations on making such a great decision towards a positive birth journey!
It’s a big step for some couples to decide they need extra support.
But rest assured, this kind of support is the type you'll be very glad you prioritised.
You've probably not interviewed anyone before, but even if you have, it’s hard to know what questions to ask a doula before you hire them.
If you're a first time parent (or second or third or more!), perhaps you aren’t quite sure what you really need to find out, or what the most important questions are.
Aside from the questions you ask, your own observations and feelings about the doula is very important.
For some people, meeting someone for the first time can be an anxious time. However, it's important to gauge how you feel around the doula you meet.
- Do I feel relaxed in her presence?
- Does my partner feel relaxed in her presence?
- Does she listen to me and my partner?
- Does she have caring and understanding eyes?
- Does she have a warm, nurturing personality?
- Would I feel comfortable with her touch when I reach out for support or reassurance?
- Could I spend up to 24+ hours with this woman while I am in labour?
Trust your gut when it comes to choosing a doula.
Ask as many questions as you need to make a decision, no matter how silly you think they might be. How she handles your questions, silly or not, will give you an idea of how patient and supportive she is.
Also bear in mind that doulas choose to work with specific clients or not too. If they feel you won't be a good fit as a birth team, she may decline. Please don't take this personally, as it's a positive outcome. It allows you to find a doula who is a better fit for your needs and wants, and will provide you with the right support to the best of their ability. We're all different and unique individuals, so we can be better suited to other people sometimes.
It's important to interview several doulas, as it will help you compare what doulas have to offer, so you can find what you really want. You might find you have a connection with several doulas, but one in particular has that little extra something which stands out from the rest.
Questions To Ask A Doula
Obviously there are practical and logistical questions to ask, as well as the more in-depth questions so you can work out if she (or he!) is the right doula for you.
This first set of questions are practical questions you might like to ask upon first contact, for example, over the phone or via email.
You might like to ask any of the following:
- Are you available around my estimated due date?
- Are there any birthdays, holidays or events in that month which may prevent you from attending the birth?
- How long have you been a doula for and how many births have you attended?
- What sort of births have you supported, and do you specialise in any in particular?
- Where and when did you do your training? How many hours and births did it involve?
- How many pre-natal and post-natal visits do you recommend? 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 doulas and if so, will I get to meet them?
- What happens if you don’t make it in time for the birth, for example, as a result of a fast labour, or if we cannot contact you? What happens if we don't call you in time for the birth?
- What happens if we decide prior to the birth that we no longer want a doula?
When you send a doula an initial email, provide as much detail as you can. For example, share how many weeks pregnant you are, what your estimated due date is, where you have chosen to give birth, the name of your midwife or obstetrician if you have one, your suburb (so she can make sure she works in your area), and any special situations – for example, if you're having twins, a VBAC, first time giving birth, or if you have any medical conditions etc.
Doula Interview Questions
When having a formal interview, here are some more in-depth questions you might like to ask, to learn about her personality, and how she works and operates.
Asking any of these questions will help you make your decision:
- Why did you become a doula?
- What do you love most about being a doula?
- What skills, qualities and abilities do you feel you have to offer us?
- What are your philosophies and beliefs about childbirth?
- Have you ever experienced any tension with clients 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 chosen midwife or obstetrician? Have you worked with them before?
- If needed, can you help us write our birth preferences (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 our chosen 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 should 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?
Want to find a doula who is right for you? Try the BellyBelly Marketplace.