Am I Comfortable With You Seeing Me Naked? {Questions to Ask Your Would-Be Doula}

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 {Image by Laney Sweet, the Birthing Tree}

Am I Comfortable With You Seeing Me Naked?

(And other important questions to consider when interviewing your potential doula.)

1)  What is Your Spirit Animal?

Ha, ha. Just kidding. Actually, not really ~ this question is a great opener for your would-be doula, and a good icebreaker. Your potential doula should have a great sense of humor, she shouldn’t take herself too seriously, and she should be able to roll with the punches.

2) How much do you charge, and why?

It’s important to know what the doula charges so that you can budget accordingly. I recommend interviewing doulas pretty early on in the pregnancy (around 29 weeks, even) so that you can make the necessary financial considerations.

Yes, a doula’s fees are a major expense for most families. However, in my opinion, a good doula is worth her weight in gold. From my years experience as a nurse and a mama, I would rather pay for a doula than buy a crib (for real). That’s just me — I have seen what a huge difference a doula can make in a healthy birth outcome, and a great birth experience.

If at all possible, don’t limit the doulas that you interview solely based on budgetary concerns.

  • Most doulas are willing to set up a payment plan.
  • Many doulas will offer sliding-scale fees to moms in need.
  • If you have a baby registry, I strongly recommend using a registry like Babylist that you can customize. Half of the stuff on a typical registry most moms don’t use ~~ maybe put those funds toward a birth or postpartum doula!

READ this article about why doulas charge what they do.

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{Maria Pokluda, Doula, Great Expectations}

3) In the past year, how many times did you need another doula to cover you for all or most of a labor and birth? 

This is important to know. How important is it for you, as a mama, to know that the doula you interview and bond with will be the doula present for your birth?

4) Who is your back-up doula, and can I meet them?

COLD, FLU, ANOTHER BIRTH, OH MY ~ It’s good to know who might be at your birth if your doula can’t be. It is reassuring more than anything to know that your doula is a professional and so has made arrangements for who will be present in her place if need be.

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 5) What does being a doula mean to you?

Doula – the root of the word is Greek ~ doulos, means servant of God. A great doula knows that it doesn’t matter how a woman chooses to give birth ~ only that the woman feels loved, supported and empowered during the process. A doula is there to serve, not make decisions for you or tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.

READ: 50 Things Doulas Do Best

 6) Have you ever worked with my midwife/doctor before? What was your experience like working with them?

Birth is a team effort. My favorite births to be present for are those where midwife/doctor, nurse, and doula are all on the same team, working together to support a mother through her best birth. Though not a necessity, it’s an added benefit when the “team” has worked together before, especially with a minimally interrupted, natural birth process. This is an added benefit as well for a gentle Cesarean birth. 

 7) Are you familiar with supporting moms through a hospital birth/birth center birth/home birth/water birth {insert whatever you the mama are planning}?

Different doulas have different strengths and different specialties. Some doulas are very comfortable in the hospital setting but not at a home birth, and some doulas are very comfortable at out-of-hospital birth but are less comfortable with hospital birth. In a perfect world your doula should have expertise in a variety of settings.

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Art by Jody Coughlin, via the Mandala Journey

8) What is your role for a mother who receives an epidural during birth? What is your role for a mother who has a C-Section?

Even if you are a mama planning a home birth, this is an important question to ask. A doula can be beneficial regardless of the twists and turns of the birth experience, and regardless of the birth outcome.

My favorite doulas to work with are highly skilled in helping position mothers with an epidural (some of them transfers from home-to-hospital setting), and doulas that are comfortable in an OR. Great doulas are even helpful for a planned C-Section birth!

READ: Dream Birth

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{Melissa of the North Dallas Doula Associates, demonstrating use of a peanut ball}

9) What are your tricks-of-the-trade that are unique to your practice as a doula?

Many doulas have extra skills and training, such as massage, acupressure, use of the Mexican Rebozo, aromatherapy, placenta encapsulation, and birth pool rental. Many doulas will bring special tools with them to births – massage tools, hot and cold packs, peanut balls, LED candles or essential oil diffusers. Most doulas are trained and experienced in breastfeeding support. Ask your doula about her special skills or offerings.

10) What other services do you or your doula group offer?

Some benefits of working with a group of doulas is that they may offer extra services ~ birth and baby care classes, meet-ups, mom and baby outings, and referrals to local resources (from acupuncture and chiropractic care, to lactation consultants and holistic pediatricians). Group visits and meet-ups are a great way to meet and connect with other mamas ~ a huge benefit for a brand-new mama.

melissa{Melissa Espey-Mueller, Doula, of the North Dallas Doula Associates}

Most importantly of all when you interview a doula is the way she makes you FEEL (something words cannot describe).

Here are some QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF ~

1) Am I ok with this woman seeing me naked?

Because she will be ~ and if you are inhibited around her than she does not belong in your labor and birthing room.

2) If I have met this woman before, am I excited to see her again? When I picture my dream birth, is this woman present?

You should really like your doula — seeing her face should make you happy. Your doula will be present through some of the most difficult moments of your life, and the best ones ❤ Her presence should feel like a ray of sunshine.

3) Does this woman make me laugh?

Birth is a wild ride, just like motherhood itself. One of the best ways to enjoy this wild ride is to keep laughing. If you hold onto your sense of humor and joy, there’s no obstacle that you can’t conquer — in birth and beyond.

Happy birthing!
Love, Kate 

READ:

How to Hire a Doula (DONA)

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