Doula Interview Questions: Find the Right Support for YOU

Moms who have doulas experience less pain and have fewer interventions. Here is a list of doula interview questions so that you find the right one for YOU.

Moms who have doulas experience less pain and have fewer interventions. Here is a list of doula interview questions so that you find the right one for YOU.

Just like you’ll want to work with a midwife to increase your odds for a natural childbirth, you’ll also want to hire a birth doula. She is a trained professional who gives continuous physical (non-medical), emotional and informational support to expectant mamas, laboring moms, and postpartum mothers and families.

Before we start – a special gift for you

Here’s an exclusive printable doula interview questions one-pager we made just for readers of this post! Click here to get it!

Doulas are evidence based

Women who have continuous support, especially from a doula, are more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, C-sections, or negative feelings about childbirth.

Other benefits include:

  • Increased chance of a positive childbirth experience
  • Higher breastfeeding success rate
  • Better maternal self-esteem
  • Lower blood pressure during labor
  • Less pain experienced

And, if interventions are medically necessary, a doula can help support the mother emotionally so she can have a positive birth experience despite changes in her birth plan. She also can find ways to make it more natural in the midst of interventions.

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How to find a doula

Word of mouth is the best way to find a great doula. Ask around and see if your friends have any recommendations. You can also ask your midwife if she has any referrals. Otherwise, you can go to this web-based service, which will show you all of the doulas (and their credentials) available in your area. You’ll want to be sure you set up an interview and ask the below doula interview questions.

Interviewing birth doulas

Just like our midwife, we want to ask prospective doulas certain questions to be sure they are a good fit. This woman will be with you at some of your most vulnerable and intense moments of your life. You want to be sure that you are on the same page! Observe her personality and see what her style is like. Do you need a coach type? Do you like a gentle encourager? Try to think of what motivates you when you’re in distress… and try to find a doula that could fit the bill. You also want to be sure your partner is present at the doula interview. In some ways, they are going to work together more closely than you and the doula!

Here are some doula interview questions for you to use. Tweak as you see fit!

Birthing doula interview questions

General

✓ What kind of training do you have?
✓ What are your doula fees?
✓ Do you have a back-up doula? Can I meet her? How often is your back-up doula used?
✓ Do you do any visits before birth?
✓ Do you do any postpartum care/follow up? Does that cost more?
✓ Can I email, text or call you with questions?

Experience

✓ Do you have experience with birth complications?
✓ Have you attended a birth that ended in Caesarian?
✓ Have you attended home births?

Birth logistics

✓ When do I first call you? Is it OK if it’s in the middle of the night?
✓ When do you come to the birth?
✓ How long will you stay?
✓ Will you come to my home or meet at the birth place?
✓ Do you have a time limit for long births?
✓ How do you work with husband or partner?
✓ How do you work with midwife or doctor?
✓ If you don’t make the birth, do I get a refund?

Doula style

✓ How do you approach birth?
✓ What is your doula philosophy?
✓ How would you describe your “style”?
✓ How do you support the laboring mom?
✓ Do you have any special tactics for pain?

Postpartum

✓ How long do you stay after birth?
✓ Do you have experience with breastfeeding instruction? Do you know what a proper latch looks like?
✓ Do you do postpartum care/follow up? Does that cost more?

Get a printable version of these questions

Don’t forget to download my exclusive doula interview questions pdf below!
Doula Interview Questions Find the Right Support for YOU Cheat Sheet

It’s a gut feel…

At the end of the day, many of us chose our birth doulas based on a gut-feel. It’s kinda like dating and there should be a professional “chemistry” between the three of you (you, your partner and the prospective doula). Use these doula interview questions and find someone who has the right training, skills, personality and style that will work best for you and your partner. I think you’ll agree that she may very well be the best investment in your natural birth!

How about you?

Do you have a doula? Did you ask any of these doula interview questions? Ant additional doula interview questions? Share with us in the comments below.

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 85,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

16 Comments

  1. My relatives always say that I am killing my time here at net, however
    I know I am getting experience daily by reading such pleasant content.

  2. Hi! Thanks for these great interview questions. I’d love to see something similar for pediatricians! (Would also love recommendations from any other natural mamas in Chicago!) Thanks!

  3. First off – have loved all your posts and I read every single comment! I am a DONA certified doula and also 24 weeks pregnant with our third baby. The journey of a doula is much like the journey of a mother – as time and births pass, we mature into a fuller doula, better able to read, react, and reassure the mother and family we’re serving. Every green doula is over empathetic and it’s hard sometimes not to project our own pain rememberences on our moms. That being said, a firm voice of encouragement or acknowledgement about the normalcy of a mom’s labor is essential in every birth I’ve attended. Your suggestion is so great! Interview and converse like crazy with your doula! Give scenarios and ask what they would do, then respond with your input. Each doula/client relationship is intimate and there needs to be an ebb and flow established way before labor starts. Thanks again for all your posts! I very much enjoy them in my own pregnancy and recommend them to my clients!

    • Thanks so much for the good words Jennifer! We love doulas here at Mama Natural!!! ❤️ Love your firm voice of encouragement or acknowledgement about the normalcy of a mom’s labor. ? Best wishes with your upcoming birth!

  4. I know that Doulas are magic for women who are delivering in a hospital but I just can’t decide if it’s necessary to have one when I’ll be birthing at a freestanding birth Center and have my husband as a real source of support. There’s a lady who works at the birth center and just recently finished doula training. I really like her and am on the fence about wether I should go with someone who has so little experience. Any advice would be great! Oh also, not sure if we would be able to afford one of the other doulas in my area that range from $300-$1500. Especially since my other medical bills are piling up!

    • Do you like her personality? Do you like the things she has to say about birth? We hired a new doula and ended up being her first birth. We were also at a free standing birth center. Even though we were the only family there in labor at the time, the midwives and nurse were focused on making sure things were looking good with baby. Having a doula there for extra emotional support was very helpful especially for my husband!

  5. You didn’t say the average cost of a doula, did you? I didn’t see it in the article. ..

  6. That’s very interesting about the empathetic doula. See, im very empathic BUT it helps me to be able ton”read” someone and put myself jmin their shoes so i can know what they need. I can tell if they need to be soothed or pushed etc etc. i am not a doula yet but if asked what my style is i would say its very go with the flow. I want to be able to assess a situation and know what is needed of me and that can change from one minute to the next.

  7. This is a wonderful post! My doula was my rock throughout my long delivery. She also supported my husband and that made him comfortable with my labor. I would consider asking any birth support person for references too. This way you can get another perspective on their birth support style. I am going to share this with my clients! Thank you.

  8. Thanks for a great post!

    We just had our first little one 5 weeks ago and had hired a doula to help us. In my experience, I would add the importance of prenatal visits with a doula to discuss your personality and wishes for your birth experience. When our birth turned from a homebirth to hospital birth due to some blood pressure issues and a posterior baby refusing to turn, our doula was able to work with us to still try to achieve the birth we wanted. Prenatal visits gave us the opportunity to discuss our personality styles and how we would handle unexpected issues. During our long labor, our doula was able to clearly remind us that we were still able to influence our outcome based on our previous conversations. I definitely know that we wouldn’t have had the outcome we did without her support. I would recommend a doula as an important investment in your health for all pregnant families and importance of developing a relationship beforehand, so that everyone is on the same page during labor.

  9. Thank you for sharing your experience, Carol! I’m sorry things with your doula didn’t work out how you’d hoped, and I can see how her empathy, while well intentioned, could backfire during the action of labor and delivery.

    Your story strikes a nerve with me because, initially, I thought I needed a gentle and nurturing doula, when in fact I needed a drill sergeant. Someone firm and prescriptive. Ultimately, it was a nurse at the birth center who shook me out of my doubts and fears and said, “Genevieve, you are almost there. You can do this, but you gotta get to work!”

    All the more reason to ask some really good questions when you’re interviewing prospective doulas! See what their style is, how you can expect them to coach you during birth. Think about your needs, what kind of reinforcement motivates you during times of stress. Ask the right questions to find a great match. And of course, trust your gut too.

    Again, thank you for sharing your experience!

    • Thanks for your response Genevieve! I’m a big Mamanatural fan. Keep up the great work 🙂

  10. I think it might be helpful for some women if I shared my experience with my doula.
    When I met her I had a fantastic feeling about her; she had wonderful energy, she was easy to talk to, she had children of her own and a very close working relationship with the birthing center where I wanted to give birth. She had many years of experience and all in all seemed perfect. And she was perfect in almost every way. She arrived at my apartment at 2am when labor was getting intense, she stayed with me until giving birth (another 10 hours) and was incredibly supportive and helpful when dealing with the staff and nurses at the birthing center. The only problem was that she was too empathetic. From the time she arrived at my apartment she looked so concerned for me and the pain I was in. That really made me worry. I never got the clear message from her that what I was experiencing was normal and that I was going to be fine. I needed her to be strong and in control at the most terrifying and out of control moments of my life. I feel I became much more scared and tense because of her reaction to the pain I was in and this ultimately escalated to a point where I got so afraid that I was convinced I couldn’t do it by myself and I opted for an epidural. She was an extremely kind and attentive woman, but her style did not suit me at all, and I didn’t know to consider this before picking a doula. Hope this is helpful to someone.

    • I love that you shared this Carol! I had a similar experience with my midwife for my first birth. Her philosophy was very hands off, the body knows what to do and will do it which in theory I totally agree with and love however…I realized that she was not assertive enough for me personally. To the point where my homebirth ended in a long labor and transfer to the hospital. I’m like Mama Natural and need a drill sergeanttype. Someone who can take control and tell me I can do it. I’m so on the fence about hiring a Doula for my second birth. If this one is anything like the first one it would be well worth the money but my husband and I have also talked extensively about our first experience, done a hypnobirth home study and also read Supernatural Child Birth together so I feel like he knows what I need for support but it’s also a lot of pressure to put on him! Still debating I guess…

      • Genevieve, Carol, and Jasmine, thank you so much for what you wrote. I had a Doula who “checked out” on all the questions from the questionnare, she led birth classes at a local hospital and in person (I knew her from another social group) she was compassionate, authoratitve, and empathetic…or so it seemed. On the night of my Labor, however, she showed up as a completely different person. She seemed thoroughly unprepared (did not bring any of the items we had discussed) even though we gave her ample lead time (about 6 hours). But the unpreparedness was to endure the entire labor…During the labor she barely said anything, it was like she completely checked out and was on medication or mind altering drugs. She barely looked at me and she did not look at me in the eye. She was not present and certainly was no help. When I started screaming in pain she did nothing. The Midwife even told the Doula to get her feet off the bed b/c my Doula had just kicked up her feet and was laying there.
        I am obviously still working through some emotions and perspectives here.

        • Oh Ann, I’m so sorry you didn’t have the positive experience you were hoping for with your doula. I definitely recommend speaking with her about it or at least writing down your thoughts and feelings, even if you don’t send it. The harsh criticism might be hard for her to hear but, could help her with future clients.


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