So, you have decided that you want a doula to support you and your partner during your birth, but you have no idea where to start or how to find the right person. After all, this person is going to be play a big part in your birth. They will also play a huge role in the outcome of your birthing experience. It is so important to find a doula with whom you and your partner feel comfortable. Where do you even begin?
Check online at doulamatch.net, ask around local parent groups, check with your OB or midwife, and view websites to get an idea of where to start. Many doulas offer a free consultation prior to booking services. This consult is more of an interview for both parties, allowing both the doula and birthing person/partner a chance to see if the three (or more) of you are a fit. To prepare, figure out why you want a doula and what you hope to accomplish by having a doula present. Do you want an energetic doula or would you prefer a relaxed and calming one? What do you want your birth to look like? Are you okay with a newer doula or would you like an experienced one? Keep these answers in the back of your mind while you are in the consult. Once the consultation is over, ask yourself those questions and figure out if you are happy with the answers. If so, AWESOME! You may have found your doula! If not, keep searching for "the one".
I have compiled a list of the most popular questions to ask your doula. After receiving the answers, you should be able to determine if they are a good fit for your family.
1. What is your philosophy surrounding birth?
2. What made you decide to become a doula?
3. What training/certification have you completed?
4. How would you describe your role at my birth?
5. What support can you provide me and my partner?
6. Will my partner feel left out if I have you as a doula?
7. Are you able to provide unbiased support surrounding topics such as pain management, vaccines, circumcision, feeding, etc?
8. Are you comfortable attending birth at home/birth-center/hospital? What about water-birth/land birth/c-section?
9. Do you have a back-up doula in case I have a long labor or you need to leave for any reason? Can I meet them?
10. Can I contact previous clients for references?
11. What are your fees?
12. What is included in your fees?
13. Do you offer any other services related to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum?
14. When will you be on call for me?
15. How many clients do you take on per month?
Obviously the list is not limited to just this, but after asking these questions, you should be able to see if you and your partner vibe with this doula. Could you hang out with this person for 20+ hours straight? Do you feel comfortable around them? Do you feel confident they will hear you and support what you want? Your doula will be with you during one of the most intimate and vulnerable times in your life, so your comfort with them is key. At the end of the consultation, do you feel like you just made a new friend? Can you trust them? This is what you want to look out for. It is okay if they are not a match for you. Doulas understand. They really do.
I hope this has helped give you an idea about what to ask during your consultation. As always, I offer free consultations and would LOVE to buy you a coffee (or tea/smoothie).
Happy searching and good luck!
Staci Michele, The Statesville Doula
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The Statesville Doula provides fertility, birth, and postpartum doula services, placenta encapsulation services, bengkung belly binding classes and private binding sessions, belly casting and more! We are located in Statesville, NC and are committed to providing quality care at affordable prices. We support birthing people from all backgrounds and beliefs, no matter how they are bringing a baby into their home. Check us out! We would love to hear from you.