15 REAL Questions to Ask Doulas (Plus 5 Questions That Don’t Really Matter!)
I get it. Finding a Doula can seem daunting. But with a few “insider” tips, you will be well on your way to finding a doula who will be the perfect member to add to your birth team!
If you live in Kansas City, you may have noticed that there are quite a few doulas in the area. As a doula myself, I would guess that there are at least a hundred trained doulas in Kansas City. There are SO MANY great options for you!
Are all trained doulas practicing currently? No. Are they all actively promoting their business? No. Are they all the same? Sure not! But does that mean that you have to interview ALL of us to find one who is a good fit? Thankfully, also no.
So how does one go about finding the right doula?
Well, considering birth is such an intimate time, you want someone you connect with and feel like they get you. Right?
It’s kind of like dating… except, it’s not. There’s a level of professionalism (at least, I hope there is) and that professional - albeit, intimate - relationship is only for a short amount of time.
So if you were to Google “Questions to ask doulas” you would get lists with questions like:
“Are you trained?”
“What is your philosophy on birth?”
“Are you certified?”
“How many births have you attended?”
What is your cesarean rate?”
NONE of these things really matter!
If a doula is practicing, they probably took a training.
If they are a good doula, their philosophy on birth will be - none. Your birth is not the place to have a philosophy. This is a real life journey that you are going though!
Certification? There is not a single certifying body that determines or maintains the standard or quality of doula practice. So holding certification is not by any means what makes a doula a good doula!
As far as how many births a doula has attended - Every birth is different. A doula could have attended a hundred births and still be faced with new scenarios and challenges with yours.
Doulas are not responsible for birth outcomes, although studies do show that having us at a birth can increase likelihood of a positive experience. However, since some women who are planning to have cesarean hire me, I do not keep track of these numbers since it is viewed as a negative if I’m just sharing rates. As a doula, your birth is not just another statistic.
So here are a few REAL questions to ask doulas that will get you a REAL look into who they are, how they operate their business and help you find out if you have common ground with them!
What is your relationship with medical providers in the area? Do you have any who refer to you?
Tell me about a hard situation you’ve been in and have kept a cool head.
What made you go into doula work?
If you can’t make it to a birth, how do you ensure that your clients have support?
Will I get to meet your backup at some point?
Do you have reliable childcare for your own children?
Are you on call for your clients from time of hire or from 36 weeks?
What do you love about Kansas City hospitals?
Tell me about how you provide support to partners or other family members who will be at my birth. What do you do to care for them or to get them involved?
Will you leave me if I get an epidural or need a cesarean?
What are some things you enjoy doing in your free time?
What did you do before going into doula work?
Have your own birth experiences shaped how you provide support?
*Do you have young children? Are you still breastfeeding and need to take a break to pump?
**Do you have any physical limitations that would inhibit you from certain aspects of support? (Sensitivities to scents, prone to migraines when you go without sleep, bad period cramps, etc)
* This is not a reason to not hire a doula. Many doulas take birth clients shortly after giving birth themselves. But knowing that they will need to take these pump breaks is for your own benefit.
** I do not include this to be insensitive to those who have any physical limitations. It is simply for you, as a person looking for a support person, to know these things and to know to ask about them. For example, if your doula is prone to horrible migraines if they go without sleep for a long period of time, that is something you may want to know about before you hire!
Aside from these questions - do some background work. No, I don’t mean running a background check. I mean, check out Facebook/Instagram pages - business AND personal. Search them in moms groups - I’m in this one and this one, and you are more than welcome to search me ;) See how they interact with others when they aren’t being put on the spot, see what their opinions are on various things, see what their interests are!