In celebration of #WorldDoulaWeek, families and birth professionals everywhere are singing the praises of doulas. There are many benefits of having a doula with you throughout pregnancy (doulas help prenatally, too), and during labor, birth, and postpartum -- some of which have been proven in studies (see: Evidence for Doulas). With the popularity of doulas increasing, we're seeing more and more doulas available for families everywhere. You could have many choices for a doula in your area, which is a good problem to have! Interviewing with more than one doula will help you determine who best fits your personality and desires for labor support. Most parents will tell you that when they found their doula, they just knew it was the right match. But beyond the "gut instinct" and connection factor, there are specific questions you can ask a potential doula that will help you know if you will work well together.
6 Questions to Ask a Potential Doula
1. Tell me about a little about yourself and why you are a doula. Sounds like a simple question -- and it is. This open-ended broad question is the perfect way to start off an interview. It will give you insight into your doula as a person and professional, as well as how she presents herself and communicates with others. Is she professional, super nervous, make eye contact, upbeat, too wordy -- each of these will either resonate or not.
2. What is your philosophy on how women give birth? Contrary to popular belief, and what the media says, doulas support all kinds of births. Yet, some doulas feel strongly about how a woman should give birth. Ideally, your doula's philosophy on birth will be one that respects the natural, physiologic process and supports a woman's right to be fully informed and make her own choices.
3. Will you support me through any decision, even if it means choosing something not on my birth plan, like an epidural or induction? Along the lines of the above question, this further clarifies your potential doula's stance on supporting a woman in labor.
4. How will you involve/include my partner or birth support person? A doula's job is not to replace a dad, spouse, partner, or family member, or friend, but rather to fill in the gaps and encourage your birth partner to provide the support that helps you the most.
5. What's your relationship like with care providers and hospital staff? A doula works for her client, but how she works with care providers and staff is important. A doula's role is not to speak on your behalf to providers, but a friendly disposition with other professionals goes a long way toward enhancing your overall birth experience.
6. Do you have a back up doula available for my due date? A back up doula is better than no doula at all. In the event your doula has an emergency during the time you go into labor, it's essential that she has a back up in place to cover your labor and birth. You should have the opportunity to meet the back up doula, if you desire.