Top 10 Questions to Ask A Doula!
Is Hiring A Doula Worth It?
Culturally speaking, Black women have always had companions with no medical training, like mothers and aunts, providing emotional support and comfort during pregnancy. Doulas are similar to these companions. Having the support of a Doula can prepare a family for some of the challenges they may experience as people of color. Having a doula by one's side has favored shorter labors, decrease in cesareans, and less requests for pain medication. There is actual evidence of how Doulas enhance one's birthing experience: Evidence Based Birth Review. But, one of the most valuable benefits is people who birth with a doula tend to reflect more positively on their birth experience. And birth tends to be an impactful event that one remembers their entire life; there are many reasons to protect its memory. Whether you are aiming for an unmedicated birth, planning for an epidural, or an elective cesarean, having a trained birth coach by your side can improve your overall experience.
How to Find A Doula
You're newly pregnant, heard all about doulas but have no idea where to begin? I got you! To find knowledgeable, trained, and experienced Doulas, check out Doula Match (an independent directory of US and Canadian doulas) and DONA (an international doula certifying organization).
You do not have to become certified or licensed to practice as a Doula so make sure you're clear about what type of support and synergy you're seeking in your Doula. I'm very big on energy and personally do not move forward with every client I interview with (a personal choice because my clients and I choose each other) and I’m not offended if a potential client doesn’t choose me. I want us both to be successful. And I think most doulas would agree to this point. I encourage you to evaluate doulas on the basis of their training, experience, passion and personality. Choose a few whose website or online presence resonates with you and hold a couple of interviews.
Top 10 Questions to Ask When Interviewing Doulas!
Why did you become a doula? What do you love about supporting pregnant women?
What does your birth fee cover? Ask about prenatal meetings, where and when you would meet during labor, are there any childbirth education classes offered (especially if you are a first time mom), whether there is any postpartum support, and how often can you reach out to your doula once you hire them. You might also ask for a copy of their Birth Support Agreement or Contract to read everything over with your partner and family.
3) Timing and Accessibility
When are you on call for me? What happens if I go into labor early?
Where did you receive your birth doula training? Have you pursued any additional birth work trainings (advanced doula training, breastfeeding certificates, childbirth education, etc) ? How do you stay up-to-date on current research and practices?
5) Backup plans
How many clients do you take per month? What happens if you get sick, have an emergency or are already supporting another client when I go into labor?
Do you have any strong held opinions on anything like circumcision, vaccinations or epidurals that might prevent you from being 100% supportive of our choices surrounding our child’s birth?
7) Special Skills
Do you have any special skills or special areas of interest pertaining to birth work? Do you offer any add-on services?
8) Partner Support
How do you support or involve my partner while I am in labor?
9) Labor Support
What type of support do you offer while I am in labor? What techniques do you like to use?
10) Postpartum Support
What type of support do you offer postpartum? Do you offer support for breastfeeding? Can you/will you make referrals to other perinatal professionals if we need assistance that is outside of your scope of practice?
But remember, the most important thing, more than years of experience or number of advanced trainings, is do you feel a connection to this person. Trust your gut. You are inviting this person to be present during one of the most intimate and memorable experiences of your life; make sure you are hiring someone you want to share the moment with.
I wish you the best as you search for a doula and throughout your pregnancy and beyond!