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If you’ve decided to hire a doula to support you through childbirth or related conditions, you want to make sure you’re hiring the best available person for your specific case.
But you can’t hire people to do everything. You’re the person in question. You need to interview the doula yourself and determine if they’re the best fit for you.
If you don’t have previous experience with interviews, interviewing a doula can be much of a drag. And obviously, the most demanding part of the entire experience is coming up with the interview questions.
We’ll help you do the strenuous part, so you can quickly get a doula and work together towards the safe delivery of your baby.
Questions to ask a potential doula
1- How did you train to become a doula; are you certified?
American doulas don’t need certification, but if you want good value for your money, you should get a doula that’s at least certified by the Doulas of North America.
In place of certification, you may also ask if the potential doula has completed any training programs.
There are several doula training programs out there, and depending on where you stay, you can always get a good one around.
If a doula can’t prove their professional training or certification, there is no reason to continue with the interview. They will end up messing up your childbirth somehow.
2- How many births have you seen?
The answer you want for this question depends on how much you’re willing to shell out for a doula. Before certification, a doula must have attended to three births, so that’s the bare minimum.
However, more experienced doulas are typically more expensive than less experienced ones. But the experience may be worth the extra payment if you value jobs well done.
With most doulas taking around four clients per month at most, you should set realistic benchmarks for the person you’ll be hiring.
3- What can you do; what are the restrictions around your job?
Doulas aren’t medical professionals. They only exist to help you through the challenging stages of childbirth, and there are some limitations to what they can or cannot do.
A doula shouldn’t be suggesting medications or diagnosing conditions in any way. That’s solely the work of a medical practitioner, which they aren’t.
However, a doula is qualified to provide physical and emotional support, and they should be ready to supply you with certain information upon request.
You can also ask for the restrictions around their timing and work rate. Some doulas can only answer a specific number of calls per day, and working above their limits means you have to pay even more for their work.
Doulas take multiple clients at the same time. While some restrict themselves to two clients per month, some may take up to four.
They can’t be in two places at once. If your doula takes on more than one other client apart from you, you should ask if they have a backup in case they don’t have time to answer your call.
Always ask how often they’ve had to resort to a backup doula. If it happens too often, you should make sure that you get acquainted with the backup.
5- Can I meet the backup doula too?
If your doula answered the previous question in the affirmative, and you see the possibility of the backup doula having to come around on a critical occasion, don’t avoid this question.
You should always interview everyone you pay to work for you. If the backup doula isn’t someone you like being around, they could be the one to appear during your childbirth, messing up what you paid for.
Before agreeing to the idea of a backup doula, you should also ask some questions from them to make sure that they’re almost as good as the first-choice doula.
6- What inspired you to become a doula?
Some people decided to become doulas due to a childbirth experience. Others need a job that lets them support others without going for a nursing course.
This question shows the main reason why your potential doula decided to take the path of caring for expecting mothers.
If it ends at anything other than to streamline your childbirth process, you should reconsider your choice.
7- What does your pricing include?
Doulas usually charge per hour, with extra charges to help with labor and post-childbirth events.
Before hiring a doula, ask how they charge their clients. If the doula is on the more experienced side and helps with other services that you might need, you can learn how those services affect the final price.
The standard pricing should be for about two prenatal visits and two postpartum visits. If you need other services like help with lactation, the prices may skyrocket.
8- Do you have any reviews, testimonials, or referrals?
If you’re not confident about the abilities of your potential doula, you can ask for reviews from past clients.
While anyone should be able to provide these, you can ask for the contact information of these reviewers and ask them questions about the experience to confirm that they’re not family and friends promoting her services without ever using them.
9- How many clients are you currently seeing?
Depending on how frequently you think you will be seeing a doula, you may want to hire one with a lesser workload.
You can’t tell the number of clients on their to-do list without asking them directly. Doulas won’t give you wrong answers about this, so it’s up to you to decide if they’re too busy for you.
Having up to four concurrent clients is normal for a doula if you care about that.
10- How do you often support laboring women?
If you need specific help with your childbirth process, you may want to confirm if your potential doula can provide that help.
Asking how they support women in labor tells you what they do when their clients are birthing their child to help you decide if they can help.
You can also consider asking if they render specific services. If they don’t, they can refer you to a relevant medical professional.
11- When will you be on call for me?
Your doula should be your guide throughout the birthing process. That’s why you need someone that can be available every day throughout the week.
While you may not always need your doula to come over, you want them to be contactable at any time with instant responses.
You should also get the contact information of the backup doula if the regular one is unavailable.
12- Do you offer any additional services that I may need?
Most doulas offer additional services to expectant mothers. Some doulas are birth photographers, lactation consultants, or even massage therapists.
Hiring a doula that offers any of these services can make those services significantly cheaper, as you may receive a discount due to the fee accumulation.
A doula that offers no extra services isn’t bad. The answer to this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker; you shouldn’t just waste your time interviewing a birth photographer when you have one beside you.
13- Can I meet you after the birth to talk about the labor?
This request is more like therapeutic help, but some doulas do offer this service. If you think you need someone to give you an objective review of how your childbirth went, your doula might be that person.
While your doula may charge for a meeting outside of her usual schedule to discuss anything, you want to know if she’s once done it to avoid wasting money on a useless service.
14- What are some challenges you’ve faced as a doula?
Just like any other job out there, being a doula isn’t without its challenges. From lack of cooperation by the medical practitioners to addressing something they didn’t receive training for, doulas can face and overcome serious challenges.
Learning about some challenges your potential doula has faced and how they overcame those challenges can help you hire a good doula.
15- How can I contact you?
Your doula will typically give you her contact info, but forgetfulness does happen. If you’ve decided to hire the doula, the first thing you’ll need is how to contact her at any time.
While a doula should always be available on call, they may prefer text for less urgent discussions; and you want to keep a friendly relationship with your doula.
The process of transitioning a potential doula to a hired one isn’t a one-step process. However, the most demanding step in the process has to be the interview process.
Nobody likes to ask too many questions. That’s why we’ve devised a comprehensive list of questions to ask a potential doula before making them official.
Your first meeting with your potential doula isn’t a job interview; try to make the atmosphere friendly and welcoming to build a good first impression with them.
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