Questions to ask your doula
If you’re nervous about what questions to ask your doula, fear not! What you should know first is that there really aren’t any questions about childbirth that bother us. We’ve been asked pretty much everything under the sun about birth before (plus a few pretty off-the-wall things too) so it’s really tough to ruffle our feathers. As long as you’re polite and respectful, we have no issues answering your questions, even the ones you think you should already know the answer to. It’s what we’re here for. We genuinely enjoy sharing our knowledge and experience! Here are a few ideas about questions to ask your doula to get you started:
- What’s your general philosophy about birth? While this may seem like a pretty deep question to kick off an interview with, I think it’s an excellent place to start. (Alternatively, you could ask her what made her want to become a doula.) The reason I like the philosophy question is that it allows us to share our views on childbirth and this is a great way for you to get a sense for how she will interact with you and the other members of your team in the birthing room.
- Have you supported anyone who has birthed with my provider/at my facility? The answer to this question is not necessarily bad or good, but it may be helpful for you to pick your doula’s brain about the ins and outs of the typical birthing experience with the provider you’ve chosen. If she doesn’t have any experience with yours, she can give you a few suggestions about what questions you may want to ask when going to your prenatal visits.
- Do you support primarily women who have natural births? If you’re not sure you want a natural birth but are interested in having the calming presence of a trained professional who can help to ease your fears, as well as the fears of your family members/partner, plus an extra pair of hands to run for ice chips/cool cloths, be sure to be up front with her about your expectations. Your doula’s answer to this question will help you to gauge whether she’s a good match for this type of role. Some doulas are more comfortable than others with ways to be helpful and useful when medications are used, simply because we are very skilled at providing comfort measures (hip squeezes, positions, and more) which can make medication less necessary.
- What are some of the ways you work with husbands/partners? Doulas love working with dads to help them feel more confident about their role in supporting you. She can make suggestions for ways he can help you, or simply reassure him of the normalcy of the birthing process. This is another great question which can help you get to know your doula and her personality.
Hehe, good ol’ Walter Cronkite. 😉
(Unnecessary) Questions to Ask Your Doula
I place these in the unnecessary category only because these are the types of questions your doula will answer in the fine print (her contract). Be sure to read her contract thoroughly before signing and returning, and if there’s anything you think she may have left out or that you still have questions about, feel free to give her a call.
- What does your fee include?
- When are the payments due?
- When during labor should I ask you to join me?
- What happens if you get sick or are otherwise unable to attend my birth?
- What is your refund policy?
- What happens if I have a Cesarean birth?
- How many births have you attended? All doulas attended their first birth at some point! It’s more important to find a doula you really connect with, and to properly compensate her for her time with you (not to mention the time and resources she’s put into her training), than it is to find someone with a ton of experience. Yes, we become more adept “birth navigators” with time, but our passion for women has been there since the very beginning of our career.
I hope these ideas on questions to ask your doula are helpful. Doulas are for all women with all types of births, and I hope you’ll consider interviewing a few.