Tips for hiring a doula

Questions to Ask A Doula or Other Birth Professional Before Hiring

Colorado Doulas Association provides contact information for birth professionals throughout Colorado in an effort to promote doula services around the state. We are not a certifying or regulatory organization. Before hiring a doula, parents are encouraged to research the professional’s background & experience, including: certification status, legal status, require a back-ground check for all in-home services and get references from previous clients. You can check your care-providers legal status here.

If you are dissatisfied with the service your doula or birth professional provides, please contact your doula directly, or contact her certifying organization.

Birth Doula Interview Questions

What is your educational background?
How did you receive your training as a Labor Support Person?
Do you give care for births in the hospital? At a birth center? At home?
How many births have you attended? Over what time span? What is your average number of births per month?
What type of clients have you cared for? Who is your backup? When might she care for me?
What are your fees? When do I need to pay the fee? Do you have a sliding scale? Will you barter for the fee?
Will I be able to get insurance reimbursement for your services?
Do you restrict your practice in any way?
When would I call you? Can I reach you 24 hours a day?
Will you come to my home when I’m in labor?
How will you know if a complication arises while I’m laboring at home?
Have you ever worked with my physician/midwife? What was that experience like?
Are any restrictions placed on you by the hospital/birth center? If so, what are they?
Do you get along well with the hospital staff or my doctor? Have you had any conflict with them? If yes, do you think it will interfere with your ability to help me?
If someone suggests an intervention that you feel is unnecessary what will you do or say?
How can you help us minimize the need for an episiotomy?
If I need a cesarean will you be able to accompany me?
What do you provide that is different from what the hospital/birth center staff can provide?
What do you provide that is different from what my partner can provide?
What do you provide that is different from what my physician/midwife can provide?
Why did you become a professional Labor Support Person?
What do you like best about your job?
What do you like least about your job?
Why do you feel labor support is helpful?
May I have references of others you have cared for?

Postpartum Doula Interview Questions

Why did you decide to become a doula?
How long have you been a doula?
What is your educational background?
Are you certified? If so, by what organization?
What are your fees? Do you have a minimum hourly requirement?
Are you available at night (is the hourly rate different)?
Do we have to pay your travel costs in addition to the hourly rate?
What types of services do you provide?
What types of services do you not provide?
What do you provide that is different from what my partner can provide?
Have you ever provided postpartum services for anyone with a disability?
What do you like best about being a postpartum doula?
What is your philosophy of childbirth?
May we talk to previous satisfied clients?
How do you handle conflicts with family members?
What is your availability? Are you flexible to stay longer, if needed?
Have you had a police/background check?
Do you have a valid driving license?
Do you know first aid/CPR?
How do you feel about breastfeeding and what is your experience of it?
How would you describe your philosophies on parenting? How do you feel about children?
How do you help with sleep deprivation of mothers and fathers?
Do you provide assistance with older siblings?
Do you do light house hold organization and cleaning?
What are the signs of postpartum depression and how can you help me if I experience depression?
What makes you a great postpartum doula?

Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Midwife….

What is your birth philosophy?
What locations do you practice?
What is your training?
MW – Are you certified? If yes, with whom and why? If no, why not?
MW – Are you licensed in the state of Colorado?
MW – What is your scope of practice?
MW – Do you come to my home or do I come to your office?
At what intervals will you see me during pregnancy?
MW – When would you transfer a patient to the hospital?
Are there are circumstances (physical, emotional, and/or spiritual) would you not take a woman as a patient?
MW – When would you risk out a patient?
When will you consider me “overdue?” _________
What do you do when I am “overdue”? What are my options when I am “overdue”?
When am I premature?___________________________
What do you do if I am premature?
Are there limitations on who can be in the delivery room? What about a doula?
Do I need a childbirth class?
Do I need a breastfeeding class?
What routine tests do you perform during pregnancy? ________________________________
What are your routine intervention rates?_____________

Breaking the water?______________
Continuous monitoring?____________

What is the cesarean rate?__________
What is your VBAC rate?___________
What is your induction rate?_____________
What methods for induction do you use?_______________
How do you feel about a natural, un-medicated birth?
If I choose to get an epidural, how soon can I get it, and when will it be too late?_____________
When do you perform an episiotomy?
When would vacuum/forceps be used? Which method is preferred?
What do you think of birth plans? Will it be placed in my chart so all the staff can have access to it?
What if I choose to turn down a suggested procedure?
Do you attend all of your own patients, or is there an on-call rotation? If on-call, do all the other providers share a similar birth philosophy?
Do you do water births?
What makes up the majority of experience in practice? Has the provider seen normal labor and birth? How often?
What positions are you comfortable catching in? Hands/Knees? Squatting? Standing? Water? Birthing Stool? How often do you catch other than in the “c” position?
Are there any protocols that are non-negotiable? If you cannot refuse – you are not consenting.
What is your style of practice (laid back, hands on, managing)?
What routine herbs or supplements do you like your patients taking during pregnancy?
At what point in labor do you normally arrive and how long are you with patients during labor?
Do you ever encourage induction by herbal or other natural means? If yes, like what?
What is your perception of the role of a doula?
What do you usually use for inductions?

Questions to Ask the Birth Location

Does this location have everything available that is most important to me? (tubs, birth balls, wireless monitoring, etc.)
What are the standard protocols or routine procedures? (How often do they monitor?_________________________ How often do they want to check you?_________________ IVs? Food during labor? Water during labor?)
Are they okay with you not wearing the gown and wearing your own clothing?
Is a water birth available?
Are birthing stools or non-reclined pushing and delivery positions encouraged? How often do women deliver their babies in a position other than on their back?________________
What is the no/low intervention rate?__________ These numbers are tracked monthly.
What is the epidural rate?___________
What is the episiotomy rate?___________
What is the cesarean rate?______________
What is the induction rate?____________
What is the VBAC rate?__________
Are mom and baby friendly practices used? (no routine interventions, no separation of baby and mom, breastfeeding is the norm, position changes encouraged, doula accompaniment is accepted, labor induction rates are low, etc.)
What happens with the baby after delivery? What is done routinely?

_______________________________________________What is negotiable? What is not?
What kind of breastfeeding support is there?

Things To Watch For and Ponder Afterwards….Time to Talk With Your Partners…

Have the questions been answered specifically? Don’t be afraid to push for an answer or find someone else that will answer it.
Does this place/person exhaust me every time I see them or talk with them?
Does the provider seem open and willing to answer everything, or do they get annoyed?
Do you feel comfortable and respected?
Can you get answers over the phone?
Are you choosing the provider based on insurance or lack thereof? Is there any flexibility?
Are you comfortable with the intervention and cesarean rates?
What location is ultimately safest for my specific needs? (I am high-risk/low-risk.)
Do I have realistic expectations for the location?
Do I have realistic expectations for my care provider?
Am I willing to take responsibility for my birth in this location and with this care provider?
Am I able to say “no” to my care provider?
Am I able to say “no” to the staff at the birth location?
Will I be able to birth the way I really want to? What/Who is limiting me?
Do I feel truly comfortable and safe here?
Do the staff seem open to working with a doula?
Do the staff seem open to my birth plan/hopes/desires?
Is there any compelling reason to choose this location over another?
What are you willing to do in order to have the birth you really desire?
Why did you choose your care provider in the first place? Is this a GOOD reason for being with them?