What to Ask When Interviewing a Doula

A doula can be an invaluable member on your labor and delivery team. The first step to picking the best one for you? Asking the right questions. Here’s your handy checklist.
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By Celia Shatzman, Contributing Writer
Updated January 10, 2018
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A doula serves many roles to a laboring person, from coach to cheerleader to massage therapist. Their mission? To make sure you have the birth experience you want. That said, it’s essential to find someone you click with—which means a face-to-face interview is essential. Asking friends, family and your ob-gyn for recommendations is a great place to start. You can also visit the Doula Organization of North America website and use the “Find a Doula” feature to search for a doula in your area.

Questions to Ask A Doula

Once you have a list of candidates, start scheduling interviews. To make the right choice, have an idea of what your needs are: What’s your budget? What qualities do you value most in a doula? Then have the checklist below with you at your meeting, so you’ll be sure not miss asking these crucial questions. Don’t be shy about jotting down a few notes. Finally, make sure to notice not simply what they say but how they say it.

  • What kind of training do you have? Are you certified, and if so, through which organization?
  • Have you taken part in any continuing education programs?
  • What is your philosophy about birth?
  • How would you describe your doula style?
  • Why did you become a doula?
  • How do you most often support people in labor?
  • How many births have you attended?
  • What are your fees? What is included in your doula package? What happens to my fee if, for instance, I need an emergency c-section and labor support is no longer needed?
  • Have you ever given birth, and, if so, did your birth experience inspire you to be a doula? Why? Did you have a doula? What did you learn from your birth experience?
  • Have you attended births at my birth location and what were your experiences there?
  • Do you have any other clients that have due dates near mine?
  • Do you have a backup doula? If so, may I meet them? How often is your backup doula used?
  • Do you make any visits before the birth?
  • Do you offer any postpartum care or follow up? Does that require an additional fee?
  • May I email, text or call you with questions?
  • Do you have experience with birth complications?
  • Have you attended births that have ended up as a c-section?
  • Have you attended home births?
  • At what point in labor would we meet up? How should I contact you during labor and at what point? Is it okay if it’s in the middle of the night? Are you always on call?
  • Do you stay for the entire labor and childbirth, or do you have a time limit for long births?
  • How do you work with the birth person’s partner?
  • How do you work with a midwife or doctor?
  • How do you support the laboring person?
  • What coping techniques do you find most helpful?
  • What are your tactics for pain?
  • How do you feel about epidurals or any pain medication?
  • How long do you stay after the birth?
  • Do you have experience with breastfeeding instruction?
  • Do you offer any additional services, such as placenta encapsulation?
  • Is it possible to read any reviews you might have? Do you have any references and if so may I speak with them?

Questions to ask yourself

After you’ve met with a candidate, take some time to write down a few immediate impressions. Here are some questions to ask yourself to get the process started:

  • Did you feel as if they were really listening to you during the interview?
  • Did you feel comfortable with the,?
  • Did they seem compassionate?
  • Did they ask you any questions?
  • Did you feel they wwere interested in you and what you want?
  • Did they communicate well?
  • Did they seem knowledgeable?
  • Did their views on pregnancy, childbirth and medical care align with your own?
  • Did they take the time to answer all of your questions or did you feel rushed?
  • Was it easy to make the appointment with them?
  • Did you click with them?

Updated December 2017

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