There are many lists on the web giving questions you should go over when hiring a doula. You may be familiar with those. What I find essential, (beyond if a doula tells you her background, number of births attended, and why she became a doula) is finding a person you can be vulnerable in front of during one of the most exposing moments possible.
What to ask your DOULA:
Are you certified?
There are many ways for a woman to become a doula, and some choose to go through certifying organizations. We want to encourage you to find a doula that has used a certifying organization and has, or is in the process of completing her certification.
Being certified ensures your doula has gone through training, done research for your place of birth about resources and current information, and has a support system for herself that will help ensure she has the tools she needs to support you in the best way possible.
If a woman has not gone through a certifying body, there are times when one's own personal experiences, beliefs, and barriers can creep into her work. Being able to look to a certifying body's curriculum and ask questions of a doula's support philosophy may identify any red flags early in your interview.
What is your role at a vaginal birth and cesarean delivery?
Having a clear understanding of how your doula can support you through a planned or unplanned cesarean as well as vaginal births can reveal the extent of her comfort and depth of ability to offer non-judgemental support. We are proud to provide helpful and valuable support to mothers delivering by cesarean and hope your doula will as well.
Many women plan to have a vaginal birth. Many women believe it is only valuable to hire a doula for a vaginal birth. Your doula should be able to support you well regardless of the method of delivery.
What does your support look like when we are not face-to-face? And how does that relate to being "On-Call?
Can you call your doula with questions?
Can you rely on your doula to get back to you in a timely fashion? Does she have a policy for response time?
What happens if you go into labor before your due date?
What would keep you from attending my birth?
As a consumer of services, you need to know the ifs and whens of that service not being completed. Your doula should have terms organized in the contract you agree to, and she should have a reliable back up support. You should not be surprised to find out your doula won't be present because a holiday is close to your labor day.
And here are some questions that are just for you to consider after meeting a doula for the first time (or even after a phone conversation.)
1. Do you like this person?
2. Would you like to talk to this person again?
3. Does this person help you see your goals more clearly?
AND THE KICKER...
4. Would you like this person to be at your birth?