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How to Interview a Birth Doula

Remember, there's no right way to hold an interview. It all depends on what your goal is. Is your goal to find someone to be a physical presence during labor? Do you need someone cheering you on from the sidelines? Is your partner the type to be 100% involved and so you need someone to be their 'coach'?

First, talk it out with your partner or your personal labor support, whomever that may be! What do you both envision would be the role of your doula? Your ideal doula should be able to adapt to your situation, whether that means hands on, a sideline support or even a combination of both. In these times of Covid, most hospitals are allowing you one personal support person, like a spouse, parent or friend PLUS your hired, certified doula. You want everyone in your labor space to be on the same page as far as what everyone's role is.

Start by finding a doula in your area, via google,, a Facebook search, OB/Midwife referral, etc., and set up an interview or consultation. I like to do mine on zoom, so you're in the comfort of your own home and usually your spouse or support person can also be there to ask what questions they may have. During this interview, let them know exactly what you're looking for in a doula. Tell them all of your expectations, fears, excitments, ask the questions.

Next, I like to ask the doula their story. This is an important part for me, both as a doula and as a mother. I want to be able to connect to my doula, on a personal level. After all, this is one of the most personal and vulnerable situations you will ever be in and you deserve to feel comfortable with everyone in the room. I was talking with a friend the other day, who lives on the opposite side of the country, and she said she wants her doula to feel like her best friend - who knows what she needs before she even asks. No, I don't think that type of bond comes from an interview, but you can usually tell if you'll be able to form a connection with your doula before you decide to hire them.

Some of the big questions you should be asking your doula:

  • Why are you a doula?

  • When would you join me in labor?

  • Do you have a time limit on labor support?

  • If you do need a break for sleep/eat/etc., will you bring in a backup?

  • What if you're at another birth when I go into labor?

  • What happens if I go into labor and it's before or after your 24/7 on call period?

  • What measures of support do you provide?

  • In terms of your support, what's your biggest strength?

  • What kind of support will you have for my spouse/partner? How do you work together?

  • How many prenatal visits? Are they virtual? What do we discuss?

  • Will you visit after the baby is born?

  • Does your skill set cover breastfeeding?

  • Who do you have on a referral list for massages, chiropractic care, yoga, postpartum doula support, pediatricians, etc?

  • How many clients do you support each month? How many do you having during my birth month?

  • How many births have you attended?*more on this below

  • What's your fee? Can I break that up into more manageable payments?

Again, there is absolutely no right or wrong way to conduct an interview with a potential doula. My biggest advice is to make sure you (and your partner) can envision them being with you during your labor and delivery. If you're not sure after your interview, tell them you have some more questions before coming to your decision.

This is your labor, your birth, and while you can ask our opinions, ultimately what we want is to help you feel supported in whatever decisions you're making.

*The number of births attended shouldn't be your deciding factor. If your potential doula is certified, there's a high chance they've been through an extensive training and also have a huge network of support if they need any further resources. If your potential doula is a parent, they've been through the throes of labor themselves (although, this is ALSO not a reason to pass up a doula. There are plenty of labor doulas who aren't parents themselves, and this can allow them to completely take their own experiences out of the equation and focus solely on you). Regardless of the number of births they've attended, if you have a connection with them and you can picture them being there for you during such a sacred time in your life, I think you've found your doula.


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