What Should I Ask My Doula? Frequently Asked Questions... and What to Ask Instead!

What questions should I ask my {future} doula?  

While I experience different questions in a doula consultation, many of them are the same.  

Here you'll find questions I get asked the most frequently - and ways to obtain more bang for your {answer} buck!

Frequently asked question #1: What organization did you train through?  Are you certified?

Training, education and knowledge are essential to any professional.  As a birth professional, it is imperative to stay relevant on current, evidenced-based information.

But, it is important that your doula know HOW to implement this information for the benefit of you, the client.

Ask this in addition to the above:  What aspect of your training will best help you support me as my doula?

Frequently asked question #2: How long have you been a doula?  How many births have you attended?

Both these questions get asked frequently.  While I think experience has tremendous value, I don't believe numbers necessarily communicate worth or ability.  

Does a new doula lack the ability to serve you well?  Does a seasoned doula who has attended hundreds of births have the ability to put their personal birth views aside to serve you in an unbiased manner?  

Ask instead:  How will you serve me my doula? Do you have testimonials from previous clients I can read?

In my own way, I'm trying to say - don't just look at the numbers.  I believe both new doulas and seasoned doulas have their own strengths to offer as your doula.

Additionally, hearing previous client testimonials can allow you insight to those who have been satisfied with their service as a doula.

Frequently asked question #3: When will you join me when my labor begins?

Your question should immediately be asked with this question:

Doula: "When do you want me to join you?"

You should discuss when you feel most comfortable having your doula join you AND which methods of communication are best to get in touch with one another.  

I am highly in favor of having a second phone number to reach your doula (if possible) if you are unable to reach them on their primary number.  Additionally, you should have the number for your back up doula as well.

Frequently asked question #4: What is your fee for doula services?  In what situations would you offer a refund?

Ask this instead: What services does your fee provide?  When can I view your contract?

By rephrasing from "What is your fee?" to "What services does your fee provide?", you as the client get more information as to the services you are investing in.  

Your doula should discuss this and more with you:

  • How to communication with your doula: how, how often and when (do they offer contact only during business hours for non-emergent needs?)

  • How often you will meet with your doula during your pregnancy and what happens when you meet (learning more about you, you preferred comfort measures, birth preferences, birth plan and more!)

  • When your doula will go on call for you

  • When and where will your doula meet you when you are in labor

  • How long your doula will stay with you during your labor and birth

  • Will your doula have a back up doula? In what situations would the back up doula be called? Do you get to meet / talk to the back up doula?

All these items should be covered in your contract.  Trust me, you want your doula to have a contract!  It communicates to you what you can expect from your doula and what happens if those expectations are not met by either party.

Frequently asked question #5:  Have you worked with XX provider at YY hospital / birth center?

Ask instead:  How will you work with my spouse/family member/midwife/obstetrician/nursing staff as part of my birth team?

Your doula is exactly that - one member out of many on your birth team.  Your doula should be there to support your birth choices and facilitate healthy communication between all members of your team.

Your doula should never speak on your behalf - this is not their role.  

What you can expect from your doula is resources to help you get the information you need by providing evidenced-based information, or presenting the question for you to ask by saying something like, "Did you have a question for Dr. X about the risks and benefits of Z intervention?"  

Finally, here are some questions you can anticipate your doula asking you:

  • What are you looking for in your doula?

  • What aspects of your birth are most important to you and as your doula, how can I best support you through them?

  • Who will be attending your birth?  How can I best support them?

Are you interested in hiring a doula for your birth?  GREAT!  Are you interested in hiring me?  Even better!  Find more information about how to hire me as you birth doula and how my services can benefit you HERE.  

DONA Certified Birth Doula and Professional Birth Photographer serving Central Missouri including Rolla, St. James, St Robert, Waynesville, Fort Leonard Wood, Salem, Licking, Dixon, Cuba, Newburg, Jefferson City and more; at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital and Phelps County Regional Medical Center.