Before you hire a doula, you should meet with them via a birth consultation so you can interview them. This can be done in person at their office or over zoom/facetime. You could also meet a doula at a library, coffee shop, or another public place where you can chat about personal details but also practice safety guidelines for meeting a stranger.
During this first meeting you can ask the doula you are interviewing all about their philosophy on birth, what service packages they offer, the details about their services, and how much they charge. There are some other questions that, as a doula myself, I think are important for families seeking a doula to ask during the interview.
Did the doula you are interviewing with participate in training to become a birth doula? Where did they earn their training?
While some doulas may not yet be certified because they have to support a certain amount of people prior to becoming officially certified, they have most likely already received training on how to be a doula. Some doulas choose not to use a certifying business and instead train under a doula mentor.
You can also ask the doula at your interview what other continuing education they have received on top of their initial training.
As a doula myself, I trained through Birth Arts International and Stillbirth Day in order to become a Birth, Adoption, Bereavement, and Postpartum Doula. I continued my education in various subjects through Evidence-Based Birth, the Family Equality Council, & Local training programs.
This is an important question to ask a doula! What is fueling your potential doulas drive to serve your family? Being a doula is hard work that means being on call, supporting clients emotionally and physically for extended periods of time and more. Your doula having a passion for their work will help drive them through the tough work they are committing to.
Even for the best prepared doula, life sometimes happens in unexpected ways. Does the doula you are interviewing have a backup doula who could support you in case they are for some reason unavailable to attend your birth or are called away from your birth for an emergent situation? A doula having a backup shows they are prepared for the unexpected.
Does this doula offer prenatal support throughout your pregnancy? Will you be able to call or text them during your pregnancy if you have questions about prenatal appointments with your care provider? If you are struggling with a pregnancy discomfort like heartburn, will you be able to contact them to ask for assistance? How quickly can they get back to you?
Making sure that you are investing in a doula who can help you during pregnancy is important because there are so many things to navigate during pregnancy, regardless if you are a first-time mom or have 2+ kidos at home.
Does the doula’s birth contract include any postpartum support? Are they trained as a postpartum doula or can they refer you to a postpartum doula in case you need assistance after baby arrives? While not all birth doulas are trained as postpartum doulas, this additional training can be super helpful when it comes to helping you transition into life with your newborn.
Partner’s matter too!
When it comes to questions to ask a doula, this should be a top one if you have a partner/spouse. When your partner feels supported by a doula, they are better able to support you in return. As wonderfully trained as some doulas are at supporting birthing people, no one is going to understand you the way your partner or spouse does. When a doula and partner/spouse can work together well, it amplifies the support they both can provide for you, creating a wonderful environment to labor and give birth!
Ask the doula in your interview how they work to support a birthing person’s partner/spouse. How do they work to include your partner/spouse in the birth experience?
Woo! Bonus Question!
Be sure to check with the doula to see if they can provide other services that would be helpful and relevant to your family. For instance, some doulas are also Certified Lactation Consultants and can assist with breastfeeding after your baby is born. Doulas can also provide services such as:
Do you still have some questions about What Questions to Ask a Doula during an interview ?
Do you think something should be added to the list of questions to ask a doula?
Please feel free to contact me HERE and ask away!
Jenni Jenkins – Sekine is an Oklahoma City Bereavement, Birth, & Postpartum doula and Child Birth Educator who serves her Central Oklahoma community. She is also a midwifery assistant with Holistic Birthing Services and began her journey as a student midwife with the Midwives College of Utah in 2022.
To learn more about Jenni, please click here.