You’re expecting—congratulations! And you’ve decided you’d like to have the support of a doula during your pregnancy and birth experience. That’s a great move! Doulas are trained to help you achieve the kind of pregnancy and birth you’re going for, and they offer much-needed comfort and support for both you and your partner during the process. But a key thing is finding someone you feel incredibly comfortable with to take on this intimate role. You want to make sure you and your partner are excited about having this person along with you on this special journey to parenthood—and that you know what to expect from them, too.
Don’t be afraid to interview several doulas to make sure you find the right one! Asking friends for recommendations is a great place to start, but be sure to do your own research from there. To help you find the perfect doula for your family, here are six great questions to ask as you’re in the vetting process. There are many more you can add to this list, but we think these are must-haves.
1. What drew you to this profession?
This is a great interview opener to get a sense of who the doula is as an individual and why they chose the maternity care industry. Knowing and connecting with your doula on a personal level will help develop a strong, communicative relationship.
2. What is your approach to pregnancy and birth?
This question will give you a sense of their doula style. Feel free to share what you think your labor needs will be, too. This can be tricky if it’s your first pregnancy, but think about what you anticipate needing: someone to quietly rub your back and soothingly encourage you? Someone to make you laugh as a distraction? Someone to firmly push you through til the end?
3. What are you best at when it comes to your doula skills?
It’s important to know what your potential doula’s strengths are, and if they are compatible with your specific needs. This question should help give a sense of where the doula you are interviewing will be the most helpful.
4. What support do you offer partners before, during, and after labor and delivery?
Encourage your partner to engage with this question, sharing fears or hopes he or she has for the experience—especially his or her involvement with the experience.
5. What does your pregnancy and postpartum support look like?
It can be very helpful to interact with your doula a good amount before your baby is born to strengthen your bond with them. Then, after your baby’s birth, having someone who can help you process your birth experience as well as offer new mama advice as you get the hang of your newborn can be a great asset.
6. Have you worked with my doctor or midwife before?
If so, follow up by asking what those experiences were like. If not, see if your potential doula is open to connecting with your doctor or midwife before the baby’s birth. This will give you a sense of how communication between your doula and your healthcare professional will work, and then you can decide if you are comfortable with it.
And finally, a few questions to ask yourself after the interview: Did it feel like a good match? Did the doula seem engaged? Did they listen to you and respond appropriately? Did they ask you questions as well? Did their energy feel right? Be sure you jot down notes to remember how you felt immediately after your conversation.
photo: Daria Shevtsova