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The first question to ask a potential birth doula is whether she's available around your due date. If she is, here are some other questions you may want to ask. You can talk to the doula over the phone first – but before you hire her, it's important to meet her in person to make sure you're compatible.
- What is your training? Are you certified? If so, by what organization? And what was required in order to receive this certification?
- How many births have you attended? Are you familiar with my doctor/midwife/hospital/birth center?
- Do you get along well with my caregiver?
- When would you join me during labor?
- Which labor-coping techniques do you think tend to be the most helpful? (If you have a specific technique or method in mind that you plan to try, ask about her experience with it.)
- How would you work with and involve my partner?
- How do you feel about the use of pain medication during labor?
- Why did you become a doula?
- Tell us about some of your birthing experiences.
- What's your fee? (Doulas' fees range from about $300 to $1,000.)
- What does your fee cover? How many visits or hours?
- What's your refund policy?
- Do you have anyone else due near the time I'm due? (Most doulas limit the number of clients they accept to two to four per month.)
- Do you have a backup arrangement with another doula or group of doulas in case you're not free when I go into labor? Can I meet them?
- Can I talk to a few of your recent clients?
- Will we meet again to address any concerns or questions I have and to review our birth plan?
After the interview, try to imagine the doula at the birth with you and see if you feel good about it. Ask yourself:
- Do I feel comfortable around this person?
- Is she warm, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable?
- Does she communicate and listen well?
- Will she support my choices or does she have her own agenda?
It's also a good idea to check a few references. Ask what they liked most about the doula and whether there's anything they wished she had done differently.