Do you know what questions to ask your doula? Here at Colorado Family Doula in Denver, I understand that choosing the right doula can seem a little overwhelming, after all, you may already have a great deal on your mind with a new baby on the way. However, by asking the potential doula the right questions, you’ll be well on your way to creating a connection and determining if she will be the right fit to support your birth journey.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Doula?
This question is a good way to find out more about your doula’s personality. She should be able to share insights about her philosophy, journey and history. Knowing what motivates and inspires your doula can provide a look into values that both of you hold in high regard.
What Type of Education and Training Do You Have?
When it comes to questions to ask your doula, this is an important one. To become a doula, there are no formal requirements or licensing agencies. Therefore, just about anyone can call themselves a doula. However, you can ask if your doula is certified by organizations such as DONA or CAPPA. Certification ensures that specific guidelines have been met for education, training, as well as ongoing instruction.
How Many Births Have You Attended?
You should know how much experience your doula has. If you and your doula have a strong interpersonal connection, you may not think the experience is that important, which is fine. If you are facing a potentially complicated birth because of you or your baby’s health, your doula’s level of experience may be of more importance to you.
At Colorado Family Doula in Denver, I have a great deal of experience and have assisted with numerous births including cesarean births, breech births, and twin births. If you want a doula with experience, please feel free to contact me today to learn more.
What is Your Birth Philosophy and Approach?
Knowing your doula’s philosophy can help you determine how well your own philosophy will mesh with hers. Doulas are often supportive regardless of your situation or choices, but it’s important to avoid surprises well in advance. As far as questions to ask your doula, this one can tell you a bit about your doula’s approach. Maybe a prospective doula is very high energy or maybe they are low key and soothing. Finding out how they approach labor and delivery can help you determine if their approach will meet your personal needs.
Are You Available?
Knowing your doula’s schedule around the time of your delivery is important. It may also be helpful to find out how many clients a prospective doula manages regularly and plans to manage around your expected due date. For example, here at Colorado Family Doula, my on-call commitment beginning 2 weeks prior to your expected due date. At this point, I will stay in the Denver metro area and be available to join you for the birth. You can also inquire about whether your doula has a backup in case of emergency (on the part of your doula) or some sort of contingency plan.
Do You Know my OB/GYN or Midwife?
While a doula may not know your midwife or doctor, what you may really want to know is how great of a team player your doula can be. It can also be useful to have some idea about whether they are experienced working with the medical and nursing staff at the birth location you have arranged. Whether you’re headed to Sky Ridge Medical Center, Swedish, Castle Rock or Parker Adventist, University of Colorado Hospital, even Mountain Midwifery Center of Colorado, your doula should be familiar with these settings.
Do You Have Additional Training or Expertise?
A number of doulas have additional training or expertise. Some are also registered nurses, massage therapists, or lactation consultants. For example, here at Colorado Family Doula in Denver, I am also a certified childbirth educator and offer classes to my clients as well as at area hospitals.
How Can You Help My Partner and/or Family?
While a doula is typically focused on supporting you, one of the questions to ask your doula is if they also assist and educate partners and family. It will be helpful to know more about how a prospective doula will work with your birth team. Additionally, some doulas offer post-partum care services. Finding out about such services can help you determine whether you may want help creating a nest for rest when you and baby come home.
What Do Your Fees Cover?
You should have a clear understanding of what your doula package includes. Some doulas offer pre-packaged options, others offer “a la carte” services, and some give you the ability to tailor packages. Discuss how many prenatal visits are included, how long the doula will remain with you at the hospital (and what that entails), and discuss postpartum visits. Knowing these will help head off potential misunderstandings and can help clarify specific situations for you.
Do You Have References?
Talking to past clients can give you a very clear understanding of what the doula may be like in the labor and delivery room. You can find out what prior clients liked most about their doula experience, as well as their thoughts on your prospective doula. While previous clients may not have needed the same things you want, it can be enlightening. It is a good idea to talk to more than one client. This can help you find potential patterns, which may be positive or negative, that will show you more about what you can expect from your doula.
Questions Aside, Look for a Connection
In the end, you want a doula that you feel comfortable being around and talking to about your journey. Your doula is going to be present for a very vulnerable moment for you and your family. If you are not comfortable, you should pay attention to your gut feelings and interview other doulas. Finding a good fit between you and your doula is important and can help immensely in the delivery room. Pay attention to whether you felt your doula was listening to you and is interested in your needs and expectations.
These questions to ask your doula are a great way to get to know a prospective doula better. If you are currently looking for a doula to support your childbirth experience, please contact me here at Colorado Family Doula in Denver. I look forward to sharing my story with you.