Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Interviewing Potential Doulas

 Pregnancy tests from Cora... we had to be *sure*! 

When we were pregnant with Cora we interviewed one Doula who we hired to help us with the birth. Just from reading her website and the variety of her own personal birth experiences I knew that she was right for us as soon as I saw that we clicked personally at our first interview (she also came highly recommended by a friend from high school! I didn't just randomly find her online).

This time around we realized we weren't going to be able to work with her (this was seriously a really hard decision that had a lot of emotions involved!), she is now a Midwife and, rightfully so, her fee as a Doula rose to reflect her knowledge and education. It just wasn't in the budget since we were paying everything upfront and not using insurance this time. :(

We had come full circle back around to needing to hire a new Doula. The first time around, I literally printed out a generic online questionnaire. Some things we'd talk about more than others and went off on some great tangents that really let me get to know her, her style and her personality. If you're a first time parent or even if you're interviewing a doula for a subsequent birth there are a lot of great questions out there already, a quick Google search will help you!

This time around while those generic questions are certainly important, I had some really specific questions about their work and style of helping laboring moms that I wanted to ask. These were things that I wouldn't have known about myself if I hadn't gone through labor and delivery once before. I wanted to share the questions and reasons behind them and hopefully it can help someone out there!

□ Name:

□ Why did you become a Doula? Tell me about your birth experiences and birth philosophy.
(I don't think a woman necessarily has to have given birth or have a similar birth experience to what you're planning to be a great Doula, but her experiences will shape how she views birth.)
□ What certifications do you hold? How and where were you trained? Are you a member of any doula associations?
(Do some google searches, some certifications/associations require yearly renewals. The different certification and associations have different birth philosophies. I don't put much weight on this question but it's good to know)
□ How long have you been a doula? How many births have you attended as the primary Doula?
(I think 30-40 is a golden number for a doula with experience, but if you're doula shopping on a budget fewer births attended generally mean less expensive)
□ What additional training have you done since you became a certified doula?

□ What techniques will you use to help me through labor? What do you bring in your Doula Bag?

□ Do you use Essential Oils and Aromatherapy to assist in Labor? Favorite Oils?
(Essential Oils were really helpful in my last labor. I use them now but am not familiar with them enough to feel confident that I would have an oil on hand that would be useful for particular issues in labor or how to use the oil properly for my symptoms)
□ What is your favorite relief measure to use for a laboring mom? (Rebozo, Ball, massage, EO's, positioning...?)

□ What types of births have you attended? Any unique or difficult situations have you dealt with?

□ How will we communicate before the birth?

□ Are you available to answer questions before you go on-call for my birth outside of our prenatal appointments? If so, what form of communication do you prefer?

□ How do I get in touch when labor begins?

□ At how many weeks do you go on-call for my birth and how long after my due date do you stay on call? If I were to go into pre-term labor before that point would you be willing to join me?
(Some doulas don't go on call more than 2 weeks before your due date, you could be out of luck if you go into labor before that! Same rule can apply to going more than 2 weeks past your due date, some care providers will let you go past 42 weeks!)
□ When and where will you join me? Do you have a rule of thumb about how frequent/duration my contractions should be before you join me or would it be when I feel I need the support?

□ How do you want to be notified when I'm in labor? A heads up text/call when I think I'm in the early stages or would you rather just get the "I need you" call?

□ What if you are unavailable when I go into labor? Do you have backups? Can I meet them?

□ What is your policy if something unexpected arises, such as a really long labor or you have a personal emergency? 

□ Do you have any clients with due dates close to mine? How many births do you schedule per month?

□ Do you have any other commitments or black-out dates near my due date? What happens if I go into labor on one of those days?

□ What are some of your favorite ways to involve my husband in the labor and birth process?
(It is a myth that a doula replaces your partner! A doula should complement and help your partner support you!)
□ How do you work with the Midwives and assistants during birth? How do you view your role, as compared with theirs?

□ How long will you stay with me after labor? Do you offer nursing/lactation support during this time?

□ Have you worked with my Midwife or Birth Center before? What was the experience like?

□ What happens if I need a transfer or a c-section? Have you attended c-sections as a Doula?

□ Do you provide any postpartum services? If so, when do you start and how long do you stay on?

□ What is your fee and refund policy? What does it cover?
(What if they don't make it to your birth?)
□ May I review your contract?

Have you ever hired a Doula?
Any must ask questions you have for interviewing a Doula?

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