Questions to Ask a Birth Doula
At Birth Roots Doula Collective Inc., we offer a free, no-obligation visit to anyone interested in our care. This visit gives you the opportunity to ask your doula any questions you might have.
We do this because we believe that it is really important for you to feel comfortable and confident with your doula. We have provided some sample questions below that we hope will help you make that assessment. If for any reason you don’t feel well-matched with your doula, we can arrange for you to meet with another doula if one is available.
These questions will help to reveal if you and your doula have compatible philosophies of labour and birth, and will hopefully also give you a sense of who she is as a person. A doula with your best interests at heart should be happy to refer you to someone else if you don’t feel you are well matched with her.
- What do you think is the most important part of your job?
- How do you see your role as a doula?
- How do the doctors, nurses or midwives usually react to your presence?
- What do you think the partner’s role should be during labour?
- What are the main skills and abilities you bring to a birth?
You may wish to ask these questions early in an interview to make sure the doula offers the kind of service you are looking for. A professional doula should be able to answer these questions definitively and without hesitation.
- Do you work with back-up doulas? Could I (we) meet them?
- If I have to use your back-up doula, can I be sure I will get the same quality of service?
- Tell me (us) about your experience with birth. Cesarean birth? Home birth? VBAC? Unmedicated birth? Epidural?
- How often will we meet before and after birth? What topics will we cover at our meetings?
- At what point will you start assisting me in labour?
Although it can be tempting to avoid the details, sometimes the details reveal the difference between a professional service and an amateur. The way a doula handles practical matters can indicate her overall approach to client care, both positively and negatively.
- What is your fee, and what does it include? What are your standard payment arrangements?
- Where did you get your training, and how many hours did it involve?
- Have you taken any continuing education since your initial training?
- Will you provide references that I may contact?
- Do you have a contract to ensure I get the service I am expecting?
- Do you have a cell phone or pager so I can contact you at any time?
When you meet the doula (and it is a good idea for both you and your partner to meet her), pay particular attention to your personal perceptions of the doula.
- Is she kind, warm, enthusiastic?
- Is she knowledgeable?
- Does she seem reliable and responsible?
- Is she a good listener?
- Is she supportive of your plans for the birth?
Note: Some information provided in this section is from the DONA International handout, “Questions to Ask a Doula.” – www.dona.org