Hiring a Doula? Here's What to Ask

doula and babies
London King and a few of her Push Love babies
(including my twins)
When I learned I was pregnant, London King of Push Love was one of the first people I wanted to call. She wasn't my mom or my sister (I called them first, of course), she was a doula -- a highly recommended doula who helped my sister and some of my friends during their pregnancies and births. Still, when we thought about hiring a doula, my very practical (and money conscious) husband wanted to make sure it was necessary and we were armed with questions for London.

Here's what we asked when hiring our doula ...

  • Do you have any children?
  • What was childbirth like for you? 
  • Why did you become a doula?
  • Are you certified and trained? Tell us about your credentials.
  • Have you worked at the hospital/birthing center where I will deliver? 
  • Have you done homebirths?
  • How many births have you attended?
  • Will you come with me to my doctor's visits?
  • What birthing techniques do you use?
  • How do you feel about pain medicine?
  • How would you feel if I choose to/choose not to take pain meds?
  • How will you involve my husband?
  • Will you be there when I am in labor?
  • If I have to have a c-section what will your role be?
  • What is your fee? And what services does that fee cover?
  • Is that fee negotiable?
  • How and when do you accept payment?
  • What if I am unsatisfied with your services?
  • What is your availability -- do you have other births expected at the same time as mine?
  • How available will you be to me during my pregnancy?
  • What if you are unavailable when I am in labor? Do you have a back-up I can meet beforehand?
  • Do you offer postpartum visits?

We interviewed London at our house and the minute she walked in, I knew we were a great match. She had a great personality and made us comfortable. We also knew we wanted a doula who had been there -- a woman who had experienced birth herself. You can decide if this is important to you as well. Because our doula was going to experience one of the most important moments in our lives with us, we wanted to know her take on the birth of her own children. The way London described her own two very different births with such love made us realize how passionate she is about how children are brought into this world -- no matter the route they decide to take.

Some may want a doula who has attended many births, but as with anything, we all have to start somewhere. Plus, doulas starting out often don't charge as much so you may want to be open to a new doula if money doesn't permit a seasoned one. Provided all checks out, of course. 

London taught me a lot -- from HypnoBirthing to how to burp my twins after they were born. She also did meditations with me during my pregnancy that were so calming -- she even help reduce the swelling in my ankles from meditation and massage.

You'll want to be open and honest with your doula since she is there to help you. So share your feelings on pain medications and your birth plan ... plan A and B. Maybe even plan C. I ended up having an emergency c-section and everything I learned from my doula helped me stay calm when I was diagnosed with preeclampsia with HELLP syndrome after laboring for four hours.

I ended up becoming very close with my doula and now call her a friend. I also know she has great VBAC energy so if I ever get pregnant again there is no doubt I would want her there with me.

Are you considering hiring a doula?


Image via Michele Zipp

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