Arielle & Ashley
6 Better Questions to Ask a Doula in An Interview
For many of the people we serve, they know instantly that they would like to hire us, whether by that first phone conversation with us, email correspondence, or at the interview. A lot of people we work with don’t even interview multiple doulas because they trust the agency model and know that we will find them the perfect doula team for their individual needs. We also recognize that some people want to see what else is out there first before they make their final decision to hire us.
If you type into Google “Questions to Ask a Doula,” you will find loads of articles and blogs sharing some top questions to ask a doula, but those questions don’t actually help you discover how that particular doula can benefit you and your family.
Here are 6 better questions to ask a doula.
1. From which organization did you receive your training?
Not all training programs are created equally. Find out where the doula was trained, if it was an in-person or virtual training, and what their mentorship looks like after training. Some organizations also promote being adversary towards care providers or promote unsafe practices, which could lead to the doula becoming injured.
All of our doulas at Music City Doulas are trained and certified or working towards certification. They are offered continuous mentorship in person, online, and over the phone.
2. What are the requirements of your certification process?
Even if this doula is not yet certified, she has likely started the certification process. Our doulas have essays to complete, an intensive exam to finish, and have to research all the options provided by every local hospital and birth center they will serve and all of their policies. When we say we are the experts in pregnancy, birth, and early parenting, as well as options in our local area, we really mean it. Our doulas really know their stuff!
3. Is this your full-time job or do you work on the side?
A lot of doulas do and that can be really great, as they may have additional skills through their other jobs which may help them support you better. What is important to know is if they do something on the side, what happens if you go into labor while they are at their other workplace? Do they stay at work or will they join you in labor? If your labor goes long, are they going to leave you to go back to work or will they stay with you?
4. Who is your back-up in the event that you are at another birth, sick, or unavailable?
This one is extremely important. Some doulas have a dedicated back-up that they use while others have a pool of doulas they reach out to. Others go onto Facebook and send out a mass message stating they are in need of immediate back-up from a group of hundreds of other doulas, so you don’t really know who you are going to get until they walk through the door. If they use a back-up, make sure you are allowed the opportunity to meet with them first so you don’t end up with a stranger at your birth.
At Music City Doulas, we send all of our doulas in teams of two so you always know who will be attending your birth, you’ve met them and have already developed a relationship with them, feel comfortable with them, and they know you and your birth preferences.
5. Have you worked with my doctor or practice before? When was the last time you spoke with them?
In Nashville, there are hundreds of OBGYN’s and midwives, so it is possible the doula has not worked with your doctor before. What is important here is that she is ready to form a relationship with your provider. We make it a habit to reach out to our local care providers often and meet with doctors, midwives, and hospital administration. We believe in building bridges for more collaborative care, leading to higher satisfaction for the birthing individual and family.
Unfortunately, far too often doulas become adversary with doctors in the delivery room which can lead to increased levels of stress for everyone involved, including you and your partner. A doula is not usually going to come right out and say they hate your doctor and they are planning to pick a fight with them, so instead, you may need to think of a few scenarios to ask your doula how they might react in those situations. For example, if my doctor states that I need “x” intervention, how would you handle that situation? Your birth is about you (shocking, right?), so she should want to find out how you felt about the suggested intervention, ask if you have any questions about it, let you know about any alternatives there are if you want to know about them, and help facilitate communication between your provider and yourself so you can feel fully informed and prepared to make the right decision for your family.
6. When do you go on-call?
Many doulas, for whatever reason, are only on-call from 38 weeks to 42 weeks. Technically, if the contract states 38 weeks to 42 weeks, the doula is not expected to make it to the birth if it fell outside of those dates. Of course, one would hope that she would still attend anyway, but she is not legally bound to according to her contract. This is a concept that never made much sense to us when we came up with the business model for Music City Doulas, which is why we go on-call from the moment we receive your contract.
If you are interviewing with a doula who has a set on-call schedule, ask them what happens if you were to go into labor early or late. We have had clients deliver prematurely where their babies have had to stay in the NICU for a few weeks. In these situations, our doulas have always been available by phone and then in attendance at the hospital upon request. No questions asked. No schedules to be shifted around or attending only if it was convenient for the doula. Our doulas always arrive promptly and are able to help support these families through the shock and surprise of giving birth many weeks early.
Hiring a doula is a big decision and a very personal one.
This is a person who will witness your child’s grand entrance into the world and watch your baby take its first breath. We know you want the best experience possible. Our unwavering support is available to you with just a click of a button or a phone call. We are ready to provide you and your family with the best care available in Middle Tennessee and we so look forward to working with you.
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