10 Must-Ask Questions When Interviewing a Doula

Written by: Kaitlin McGreyes, Founder, Be Her Village, Inc.
Posted: June 03, 2020
Choosing a doula is no small task. Birth is unpredictable and it can be hard to know exactly what you’ll need beforehand. You know you want support, but what kind? 

Doulas are as different in their approach, training, and philosophy as they are in personality. There are birth doulas, postpartum doulas, death doulas, money doulas, and pretty much any other kind of doula you can think of! To make it even more complicated, they all offer a variety of services and packages. 

How do you narrow down the right doula for you? Here are ten must-ask questions for interviewing doulas.

1. Why did you become a doula?

Learning about why your doula became a doula will give you a lot of insight into who she is and what drives her practice. If you only ask one question during your meeting this should be it. 

Some doulas enter the field out of an interest in women’s health, some come from an advocacy background, others have had traumatic births and work to prevent the women they work with from experiencing the same. 

There’s no right or wrong reason for becoming a doula but you want to know their birth philosophy and if they will be a good fit for you. 

2. How many meetings will we have? 

Every doula offers her own package. Some offer one prenatal meeting and a postpartum visit in your home. Others offer ongoing workshops or even pair their doula services with childbirth education or placenta services. With new hospital restrictions many doulas are now offering virtual support only.

Make sure you know exactly what you are getting. And if you think you might need something more than they are offering, speak up. Your doula can craft a tailored birth package just for you!

3. How will you support my partner?

It’s a myth that doulas replace partners. Or that partners can be your doula. Here’s the truth: Your doula will support you AND your partner. 

By helping your partner understand what's going on, showing them exactly how to support you, and by handling some of the background details (turning on showers, getting an extra pillow, tagging out for bathroom breaks), your partner is able to be MORE involved. 

With a doula supporting your birth you and your partner can focus on what's important: each other. 

While doulas are providing emotional support and giving kickass hip squeezes (and showing your partner exactly where to rub your back to get you through that next contraction) your partner is freed up to be your emotional rock. 

Your doula will never replace your partner, instead the right doula will help your honey be the best birth partner they can be. 


4. What happens if you are at another birth?

Doulas try to space out their calendars so that they don’t have more than one mama due at any one time. 

However, babies sometimes have other plans and they come earlier (or much later) than expected. Make sure your doula has a partner or a backup that you will meet and come to know as well as you know your doula. That way if the stars align and your doula needs to miss your birth you will be well-supported by someone you know and trust.

5. How much does this cost?

Each doula sets their own prices and there are many factors that can affect the cost. A doula who has a lot of experience may be more expensive than one that just finished her training. Others may have another specialty like massage or acupuncture that makes their services extra sweet. 

Typically you can expect to pay between $1000-$3000 for a full-service doula package. Be sure to ask about how they take payment (is it all up front, do they take payment plans, do you pay some after the birth). And of course add whoever you select to your Be Her Village gift registry so your friends and family can chip in!

6. How many births have you supported?

Speaking of experience, make sure you have a good idea of how long your doula has been doing this kind of work. Some doulas keep detailed stats on exactly how many births they have been to, but others have been to so many that they lose track after a certain number.

Either way, ask the question so you have a good idea of what you’re getting. If you’re an experienced mom or feel like you might just want extra support but you don’t need someone with lots of experience a newer doula might be the right fit. 

If you are anxious about your upcoming birth and feel like you’ll need a lot of help learning to advocate for your wishes during your birth a seasoned doula with lots of experience is probably a better match. 

7. Are you supportive of my choices?

Life can throw us a curveball sometimes. Even when we make the best plans for our birth sometimes you end up with something different than you wanted. Make sure your doula offers non-judgemental support. 

Ask them if they are comfortable supporting all kinds of births (medicated, unmedicated, inductions, hospital birth, home birth, midwife-attended, cesarean). You want your doula to be your cheerleader no matter what choices you make before and during your birth. 

While doulas can encourage you to remember the plans you had for your birth, you have the right to change your mind at any point. The right doula for you should be keeping your experience at the center of her focus, not trying to achieve any one kind of birth outcome. 

With the right doula by your side, you will feel like you have all the information you need to make great decisions for yourself, and the voice to speak your truth at any point during your birth. 

8. What happens if I have a cesarean?

Sometimes cesareans are necessary. This is a great question for your doula even if you have no intention of having a surgical birth. 

Ask how she will support you during the surgery (more and more hospitals are welcoming doulas into the operating room) and afterwards. 

Doulas can be critical members of your birth team when you are having a cesarean (emergency or planned). They can help you interact with hospital staff, get your questions answered, and navigate the recovery. Doulas can walk you through the entire experience from start to finish and help you have a family-centered cesarean birth.

9. What kind of support do you provide after the birth?

Doulas don’t just disappear once the baby is born. Usually doulas come to your home after your birth for a postpartum visit to answer questions, help with breastfeeding, and talk about how your birth unfolded. Some doulas will also offer postpartum doula services and will cook you a meal and care for the baby while you sleep. 

Your doula should also be available by phone for any questions that come up about feeding your baby, figuring out how to sleep, going back to work, or for referrals to other providers for anything that comes up in those early weeks at home with a new little bundle. Doulas are part of your support system for well beyond pregnancy and birth. 

And finally, the most important question of the interview is not for your doula but for yourself.

10. Ask yourself: Am I comfortable with this person?

Always meet your potential doula in person. When you give birth you will need to be completely comfortable with anyone you are inviting into your space.

This is more of a gut kind of an answer. Is it easy to talk to them? Do you feel relaxed? Do you feel that spark between the two of you? That *click* that they just seem to get you? 

You want to notice how your body feels when you are sitting in a room with this person. You want your doula to fill you with ease and a sense of confidence, not make you more tense or cause anxiety. 

There are wonderful doulas out there and one of them will be the right match for your birth. Happy interviewing! 
Category: Birth,
Tagged With: doula, pregnancy, birth, pregnancy support, birth support,