Thursday, June 23, 2022

How To Interview A Doula

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What Areas Of Doulas Support Do You Feel You Really Shine On What Areas Do You Feel You Are Still Working To Improve

The Doula Interview: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. An answer here could potentially pop up a red flag, such as I struggle to find childcare when Im on call for a birth. Hmmm thats good to know. On the other hand an answer such as Im working on learning more about breastfeeding as Ive seen many people struggle with this and I want to help them have an easier time of it. This would indicate a doula with your best interest at heart, and a desire to improve.

Questions You Dont Need To Ask

One of the things that couples often want to know is specifics on HOW a doula will support them. What comfort techniques will they bring? Are they good at a double hip-squeeze?

This, however, isnt a question you need to ask because a good doula brings a toolbox of skills to EVERY birth. The tool she brings out depends totally on your unique birth and what you need or find comforting.

It is natural to be concerned about how you will cope with labor and want concrete ideas on how your doula will comfort you. But your doula knows that what works depends on each unique woman and birth.

Dont worry, shell help you in the way you need most. Often this is simply being there, listening, or providing a comforting touch.

Another thing that may not matter is the experience your doula has. Everyone has to start somewhere, and newer doulas will have less hands-on experience at birth. However, dont discount them. Jillian Freeland, a Birth Boot Camp DOULA trainer says,

New doulas are awesome! Why. well they have this fresh excitement and training. Everything is at the forefront of their minds. They are eager to serve and will probably give you an amazing experience. So dont toss out the idea of a new doula.

Every doula has something unique she can bring to the birth. The most important factor is you, your desires, and your connection.

Recap:

Congratulations on taking the first step to hire a doula! We love doulas so much and when you get a great one, you will too.

First And Foremost Be Willing To Share About Yourself

While you’re interviewing a doula, they’re also interviewing you!

It’s important for a doula to understand your ideas around labor and birth, and how you envision a doula helping you throughout those experiences. A prospective doula might ask you questions about these things, and you should be ready to answer!

If you find it uncomfortable to share your perspective and ideas about birth with a doula you’re interviewing, think twice about hiring that person. You’ll want to be very comfortable around the people you choose to be part of your birth team!

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Doulas: A Growing Profession

Agrowing body of evidence supports what communities of women haveknown for centuries: when a woman is well-supported during a birthexperience, labor, and delivery outcomes are more positive.

In a co-authored study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine , it was concluded that one of the most beneficial resources an expectant mother can have during labor and delivery is continuous one-on-one support from a doula . This study concluded that patient satisfaction was higher and cesarean deliveries were significantly reduced when a doula or similar maternal support care was present at the birth . The study concludes with the assertion, Given that there are no associated measurable harms, probably underutilized. .

Furthermore, research published by the Journal of Perinatal Education demonstrated that the outcomes for mothers and infants are more positive when sustained one-on-one support from a doula is provided. This research called on hospitals to include more systems of doula support to help mothers and infants directly, as well as relieve nurses who cannot fully attend to the needs of laboring mothers due to their other professional obligations .

So You’ve Decided You Want To Hire A Doula To Support You During Your Birth

How to Interview a Doula: Ask These 19 Important Questions

You’ve started checking out some local doulas online. You find that most doulas offer a free consultation/meeting/interview, so you contact some doulas you’re interested in and set up a time to get together.

If it’s your first time working with a doula, you’ll probably find yourself in one of two camps:

  • You have lots of questions and are excited for a chance to finally talk to doulas in person

  • You aren’t really sure where to start, you might feel a little lost, and you’re not really sure what this interview is all about

  • Whichever group you fall into, this post can help!

    It’s important to make the most of your free meeting time with doulas you’re considering. This meeting is really the only chance you have to get to know this person before signing a contract and actually putting money down to hire them.

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    What If I Want To Change Medical Providers

    Most people think that once you choose a midwife or obstetrician , you have to stay there. They assume they have made a commitment and arent really allowed to change their mind.

    Heres the real truth:

    You can change your mind at any point in your pregnancy.

    You could have had all of your prenatal visits with one hospital or obstetrician and then at the last minute as you go into labor, you decide you want a different hospital that has a midwife group instead.

    Ive heard this story countless times although usually it happens a little earlier in the pregnancy.

    While you have the freedom and autonomy to choose your medical provider and setting at any point, I recommend listening to your gut and allowing yourself to take action in switching earlier rather than later.

    Its helpful for your birth team to have all of your background information and to be familiar with you. If you show up during labor, youre going to have a lot of questions to answer first which isnt very relaxing or reassuring.

    Ideally, youll notice in your first six months how comfortable you feel with your provider. If at this point you still are feeling tense for appointments, arent sure that your provider has the same outlook or goals as you do, or feel judged or rushed, its probably time to switch.

    Those are hard things to accomplish if you just met this person.

    Are you overwhelmed with information yet? Lets make it simpler.

    Questions You Should Ask Yourself

    Another layer of interviewing a doula is figuring out how you feel. After you have considered what desires you have for your birth and met the perspective doula, consider these things:

    • Did I feel any kind of connection with her?
    • How did my partner feel about the doula? Are they compatible?
    • Is the doula someone I feel comfortable inviting to my home and into my birth space? Youll be sharing one of lifes most important events with them so feeling safe with this person matters.
    • Did she respect my birth wishes and seem capable of honoring whatever choice I make during the labor and birth?
    • Do you feel like you can reach out to her for questions you may have throughout pregnancy?

    Recap:

    The most important question you need to ask yourself is if you really feel comfortable with this person. Other factors like how popular, busy, successful, even experienced the doula is matter less than your comfort level and connection.

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    Your Partner Might Like The Help

    Lets face it. Men sometimes arent much use during childbirth, even when they really want to be. They feel helpless, confused, and overwhelmed by whats happening, and they often dont know what to do to comfort you or make you feel better.

    If you want to show some pity to your out-of-his-element partner, a doula can do that. It takes some of the pressure off of them because the doula can let them know exactly what you need from them. That can bring you two closer during childbirth instead of driving a wedge between you.

    What Is Your Birth Philosophy

    Doula Interview Questions

    This is always an interesting question, and it could be answered in many different ways. There is no particular right answer. By asking this question, youll find out so much about the doula you are interviewing. Your potential doulas answer will let you know her passion and commitment to birth, and it will help you form a wise opinion about hiring her for your upcoming labor and birth.

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    This Final Question Is Not One For The Doula But For Yourself

    How do you feel about this person being a part of your birth or postpartum time? Do you feel a connection? Does your partner feel good about this doula? Do you feel you will be well supported and not judged? Are you looking forward to having this person be there for you when you need them?

    I encourage everyone planning to hire a doula to interview several prospects. Doulas are nice people. We tend to be easy to be around generallybut that doesnt mean the first doula you meet is necessarily the right one for you.

    Jillian Freeland Adds It Is The Unspoken Expectations That Are Difficult To Navigate

    If you have already hired your doula then make sure you have a conversation about your birth desires. She wants to serve you but will have a hard time if she is guessing about your goals.

    Once you know what you want, you can move on to questions that you have for the doula. Get to know your prospective doula.

    • Why did she become a doula?
    • What does she believe the role of a doula is?
    • What does she most love about the work?
    • What happens if she cant make it to your birth?
    • Does she work with other doulas?
    • What does she charge and when is the payment due?

    Add any questions that you feel really matter for you or are specific to your situation, such as if you are single, will have lots of family present, are planning a VBAC, cesarean, home birth, epidural, or anything else that is unique to you.

    Recap:

    I am planning a birth. Do you feel comfortable supporting this type of birth? is the most important question you can ask your doula in your initial interview.

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    During A Face To Face Interview

  • How long have you been a doula? How many families have you been a doula for?
  • Do you use a written contract or agreement? If yes, can I see a copy of it?
  • Do you have a backup? If yes, who is your backup, and can I meet her? Under what circumstances would you send your back-up?
  • Are you insured?
  • What training, courses or additional learning have you done?
  • What part of your job do you enjoy most?
  • What is your philosophy of childbirth, parenting and your work as a doula?
  • What skills and abilities do you personally feel you bring to your doula role?
  • How do you handle conflicts with family members or medical professionals?
  • If you have a particular concern about the birth or postnatally e.g. physical, emotional or psychological etc, ask the doula how they would address those issues specifically?
  • If you have something you are particularly interested in trying e.g. hypnobirthing or babywearing/slings: Do you have experience in supporting/additional qualifications in this?
  • Do you have children? If yes, how is your childcare organised?
  • What books do you recommend to new parents?
  • How do you feel about breastfeeding and what is your experience of supporting it?
  • What if I have a breastfeeding/bottle-feeding problem? What can you do to help me?
  • Do You Offer Any Additional Services Have You Done Any Other Trainings

    Doula Interview Questions

    Speaking for myself, once I realized that I wanted to be a birth doula, I decided to go to massage therapy school so I could better support laboring women. I then became a certified postpartum doula, childbirth educator, newborn educator, infant massage instructor, and more! You may be finding someone who has received a lot of training and education in other areas, and you could take advantage of their knowledge and other services as well.

    There you have it! My top 30 interview questions to ask when hiring a birth doula. Id love to hear your thoughts on these questions and if there are any other questions that you think I should add to the list. Please share in the comments below!

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    Things To Ask In A Doula Interview

    Most of our potential clients prepare for interviews by googling a list of questions to ask a doula. These questions don’t always get to the root of who we are, and the answers don’t give clients much insight into whether or not we’re a good fit for each other.

    To get a better sense of our work, try these questions:

    They Arent As Expensive As You Think

    Doulas, especially the best ones who have a lot of experience and references can cost a fair amount of money at a time when youre already probably strapped for cash. Youll have hospital bills flooding in and all that baby gear and necessities to purchase.

    But it is important to remember that working with an experienced Doula should be seen as an investment and not an expense. Doulas have been shown to reduce the risk of birthing complications, cut down on the amount of pain medications required, and improve the overall birthing experience for women. Thats money well spent in my opinion.

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    Tips For A Great Doula Interview

    You don’t have to be a highly trained salesperson to do well in a doula interview. You should be well-prepared, have a professional presence, and most of all, you should be authentic and true to yourself. Rather than fretting about how and whether you will “close the sale”, think about what you can do to “open a relationship” with prospective clients and gain their trust.

    The following tips are steps you can take before, during, and after an interview to allow prospective clients to really get to know and trust you.

    Gaining that doula client is a wonderful goal to have, yet I encourage you to use each interaction as a learning experience. Remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Burnout can be prevented by selecting clients who are in alignment with your philosophy and personality.

    What Does A Doula Interview Look Like

    Doula Business: Interview Tips for the Doula

    Many doulas will meet you at a central and neutral location, like a coffee shop. Others may prefer a phone interview. This can work well for very busy doulas and clients, or in large cities where travel is time-consuming. Either way, the interview gives you a chance to get to know each other before you commit.

    Its a great idea to include the partner in this process early on. While we often think of the doula as non-medical support for the birthing mother, she is incredibly important to the partner as well. During the actual birth, the doula will likely spend more time communicating with the partner than the mom because women in labor get less and less chatty!

    You dont have to decide at this first meeting if you are going to hire this doula. Maybe you are interviewing multiple doulas or maybe you need some private time to chat with your partner. Give yourself some time to make a decision so you feel sure about this incredibly important support person.

    Recap:

    The first doula interview will likely not be longer than an hour, will take place in a neutral location, will give you a chance to find out if you are a good fit, and should include the partner.

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    When Interviewing A Birth Doula

  • What is your availability? For how long before and after my due date will you be on call? What are the closest due dates of your other clients? How long will you stay with me before and after the birth? How long does it take you to get to me?
  • What is my partners role during labour?
  • Will you support my partner and if so how?
  • What are your feelings about midwives?
  • How many antenatal visits do you provide? How many postnatal visits?
  • Will you attend an antenatal appointment with us?
  • Can we telephone/email you before and after the birth with questions/concerns we have? Meaning how often may we contact you during the contract period?
  • What hospitals/midwives have you worked with in the local area?
  • Can you help us draw up our Birth Plan/Birth Preferences?
  • What is your role in early labour?
  • What happens if you miss the birth? Is any part of the fee refundable and would you still do the follow-up visits after the birth?
  • What happens if we fail to call you in time for the birth?
  • What happens if we decide nearer the birth that we no longer require a doula?
  • As a parent you may want to think about the following points when hiring a birth doula:

  • Could we spend up to 48 hours together?
  • Does she listen to me well?
  • Do I feel that she will support my wishes?
  • Does my partner like her?
  • Things To Avoid When Choosing A Doula:

    • Don’t judge a doula by their own birth experiences or by the fact that they’ve never given birth . Every birth is different. Remember that whether someone has given birth to 12 babies or none, they haven’t given birth to YOUR baby from within YOUR body. Some people think it doesn’t make sense to work with a doula who hasn’t given birth before. There are two things to consider here:

    • Does the fact that an obstetrician may have never given birth affect their ability to provide medical care?

    • For doulas who have given birth, there is often a lot of processing that needs to take place. Doulas need to set aside their own birth experience in order to focus on understanding and supporting their clients’ experiences. This can go for people who had a positive birth experience, or for those who experienced difficult or traumatic births – the whole spectrum of birth experiences can affect the way a doula approaches their work and treats their clients. If a doula has never given birth, they don’t have this barrier to overcome.

  • Don’t put any stock by whether a doula is certified. Certification is not required to be a doula! Judging a doula based on whether they are certified doesnt make any sense. It will be much more beneficial for you to learn about a doula’s continuing education. What are their areas of particular interest and passion? What are they doing in the here and now to stay connected to the skills, best practices, and research applicable to their work?

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