You’ve called a couple of doulas, talked to them on the phone and set up a doula interview to meet a few in person. What kinds of questions should you be asking your potential doula to find out about her doula services?
This question is a great way to learn about her past. In general, there are three types of women who become doulas: women who had a traumatizing birth experience and want to prevent that from happening to anyone else, women who had a perfect birth experience and want other women to share a similar experience, and women who just enjoy helping laboring couples. While there’s no right answer to this question, you do want to make sure your doula isn’t going to be working through any issues she’s had from her previous birth—then the focus isn’t on you, but on her.
Doulas are there to offer attendance at your birth. But when they show up varies dramatically. Some doulas will help you at your home in early labor, while others will join you at your birthing facility. Some doulas will leave as soon as the baby is born while others will stay for an hour or two to make sure breastfeeding gets off to a good start. Some doulas offer prenatal visits where they get to know you and your partner, while others don’t. Some doulas will come to your house after the baby is born to check in with you, while others won’t. Some doulas offer other services such as photography, gift baskets, belly casting and educational classes.
It’s very important that you read over the doula contract before signing it. There are clauses in some contracts stating that doulas require a two hour notice before they can attend you. Some doulas have contracts with rolling fees. You’ll also want to know what happens if your doula no-shows or is unavailable. Do they provide a back-up? Does your doula contract state that they have the right to leave after a certain number of hours?
One of the more important doula interview questions is about number of births, certifications, other classes, and other areas of study such as massage therapy, herbs, hypnosis, Reiki etc. Don’t let a doula tell you they’ve been a doula for twenty years without finding out about the number of births they’ve attended; they may have done only two births with a twenty year break between.
You want a doula that will fight for your goals for this birth. If you want an epidural, your doula should support that. If you want to avoid medication, your doula should also support that. It’s extremely important that you and your doula are on the same page about your birth or you may not get the birth you hope for.
You may have found the perfect doula but it doesn’t do any good if she’s out of your price range. If she is out of your price range, ask about delayed payments, bartering and discounts. Maybe she’ll give you a discount if you pay in cash or pay the total amount when you sign the contract.
As you close the doula interview ask about contact information. Your doula should give you a home phone number, a cell phone and an e-mail contact. If you can’t contact her, or she’s unavailable she should give you the name and number of a back-up doula.
The information in this article is not medical advice. This information is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure anything during your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum time. Always check with your care provider before following any advice from TheOnlyBabyStop.com.