Doulas come with varied training and experiences.  One of the best ways to start the doula interviewing process is to do a brief telephone interview, or ask a few questions by email—this should get you the basic information you need to decide who to interview.  Be sure to interview the doulas that resonate with you the most (at least two doulas, if not more).

When you meet with each doula, be sure to ask the same questions of each one so you can compare responses.  Also, ask the questions that are most important to you.   Yes, you can go off a list off the internet, but maybe some of those questions are already answered on that doula’s website, or from the phone call or email conversation you had with that doula.  Most importantly, when interviewing doulas, trust your instinct; you do not always need to hire the doula with the most training and the most experience (unless that is what is most important to you, of course).

These are probably the more frequent questions that I get asked by potential clients:

  1. What is your fee?  Fees are set by each doula individually and vary widely, typically based on location (cost of living) and that doula’s experience.  Austin, Texas fees may not be the same as Monterey, California fees.

  2. Do you offer a discount or payment arrangements?  If you need financial assistance, don’t let fees stop you from having a doula!  Ask the doulas you are interviewing if they will provide a discount, payment arrangements, a sliding scale, or a trade (trading services and/or products MUST be comparable with a doula’s fee).  Most doulas will find a way to help you.  Some will not be able to (because of their own financial circumstances).  Please remember that this is typically a doula’s only income.  Ways to help you get the doula that you want is to request money at your baby shower, or do a fundraising campaign (GoFundMe is a great crowdfunding site!)

  3. What do your services include?  A typical doula contract includes a minimum of two prenatal visits, your labor, birth, an hour or two postpartum, and two postpartum visits.  This can vary widely with each doula, so be sure to ask exactly what is included and make sure it’s written in the contract.  Some doulas offer packages that add more services for higher fees.  Don’t be afraid to ask if she can cater something to fit your needs.

  4. What is your experience?  Most people do not ask me about my training.  Instead, they want to know what my experience is.  How many births have I attended?  Have I worked with the doctor, midwife, or hospital/birth center that they are delivering with?  What do I know about the area and the birth atmosphere?  Doula experiences vary widely.  Some have had babies of their own and have decided to go into birth work.  Some doulas have not had babies at all and decided that birth work was their calling.  Some doulas have been doing birth work for 20 years, but limit how many clients they take on a year.  Some doulas have 10 years of experience and take on 20 clients or more a year.  Hire the doula that resonates with you the most, regardless of experience (unless, of course, this is what is most important to you).  We all have to start somewhere, right?

  5. What is your philosophy about birth?​  This one is a biggie.  Regardless of experience or price, you must find the doula that has a similar view about pregnancy, labor, and birth, as you.  This person will be supporting you throughout a life-changing experience, and you must be on the same page.