When interviewing your prospective Birth or Postpartum Doula, there are a few key questions that you should be asking to know if they are the right fit for your support team.
Where did you take your Doula Training?
Technically, you do not have to take any formal training to be a Birth or Postpartum Doula. However, there are so many layers to comfort measures during labour and birth, positions, postpartum recovery elements and emotional healing that having a trained Doula can make a world of difference in your experience as a parent. Being certified adds another layer of professionalism and seriousness to your Doula.
At what point are you on-call for me?
The answer to this is a bit tricky, but technically your Doula should be on call for you from the moment you sign your contract with them. If you have a question during your pregnancy, you should feel confident that you can text or email your Doula and that you will get a prompt response.
Do you have a back-up that I can meet prior to 36 weeks?
This is an important one as babies arrive on their own time schedule. If your Doula books more than 1 birth per month (which many of us do) you will want to be sure that they have a backup Doula who can assist until they are able to get to you, or who can spell them off in the instance of a particularly long labour. You are well within your rights to ask to meet the backup prior to full term!
What is your opinion on (insert topic here)?
As Doulas, our opinion stays at home. It is not our place to tell you, advocate for you, advise you what is best. Whatever is best is what works for you, and that is what your Doula should respond with.
What happens if you get called by another client while you are attending my birth?
Again, this is where your Doula having a backup will come in handy! We always stay with whoever called us first, and while we may need to check out phone from time to time if we are on -call for another family, you can be rest assured that we will stay with you until an hour or so after the birth of your baby. The backup may need to start care with the other family, while we stay with you, and only following your birth will be bid adieu and tend to our other client in person.
Other notable questions to ask could include....
What happens if my labour is particularly long? Do you take breaks? Is there an hourly rate over a certain number of hours?
How many prenatal visits will we have prior to birth?
How long do you stay with us after birth?
Can you help us with (insert topic here)?
You want to feel confident in your birth team, so make a list and ask all of the questions that you need to. Your doula is there for you, so no question is off limits! Building your confidence, empowering you, supporting you...that's what you Doula does.