I gave birth to my second child with a doula and midwives. Before the meetings with different doulas, it was difficult to find inspiration for what questions to ask. So I thought it would be fun to give you some suggestions for questions you can take inspiration from or save to your computer. But first I thought I'd write a little about what a doula is, why it's good to have a doula and what she works with.
If you are already aware of this, you can scroll down to Questions for Doulas.
Want to make a point before the post - for some it is important with questions, practical things, others just take it as it comes and go by feeling - BOTH are equally right! Do what feels best and right for you!
What is a doula?
A doula is a person who has experience of childbirth and is trained to provide support and information to the woman giving birth and her loved ones during pregnancy, childbirth and the first period afterwards.
A doula has no medical responsibility, does not give medical advice and her role is clearly delineated in relation to the staff of the labor ward.
With a doula decreases:
- The number of Caesarean sections
- Length of labor
– The need for medical pain relief
- Request for spinal anesthesia
The studies also show that parents who have had the support of a doula are more involved in the birth and feel more satisfied with their experience.
LINK STUDY : "Continuous support for women during childbirth" 2012.
A doula can never – and should never – take over the partner's place. The partner is always the most important support for the birthing person and the doula is as much a support for the partner as for the person giving birth!
What does a doula do?
Usually, the vast majority of doulas today offer a so-called "Get to know each other" or doula interview, free of charge. It is a meeting of about 30-60 minutes, online or in a cafe, so that both the client and the doula can get to know each other and talk about practical things before the client chooses to hire the doula for a doula assignment .
A doula assignment usually consists of:
1-2 initial calls; then the client and the doula meet each other during the pregnancy, it differs between doulas in how the pre-conversation looks like, but usually you go through fears, needs, pain relief, usual routines in the delivery ward, coping strategies, the body's physiology during childbirth, thoughts/feelings, etc. They are simply meetings to get to know each other and prepare for the birth. The doula is on call about 1-2 weeks before the expected birth and is there as support during the birth. After the birth, the doula and the client meet again for a final follow-up call, where the client has the opportunity to talk about thoughts/feelings around the birth and the assignment ends.
There are many different doulas today and they all offer different types of assignments and services. For example, a doula who is a trained pregnancy massage therapist might offer a massage in her doula package in addition to the standard content.
Common today are also those called "Emergency doula" or "Last minute doula" assignments. Then the client is close to the expected birth or is even in the delivery ward with pains, which means that you do not have time for a pre-conversation. In that case, the client usually pays a smaller fee as the initial consultation is not included. Visit the respective doula's websites to see if they offer this type of assignment. Do them, there is usually one/several phone numbers you can call.
Several doulas also offer prophylaxis calls (birth preparation calls), courses, postpartum support (after the baby is born), breastfeeding support, abortion support, extra support in case of fear of childbirth.
This can also be important to find out what the doula offers. If you are interested in, for example, postpartum support, it is a good idea to perhaps also choose the same doula for doula assignments (if you want this), so you can create a nice and close relationship with each other.
Who can call themselves a doula?
The doula title is not a protected professional title and anyone can actually call themselves a doula today.
If you have looked around for different doulas via, for example, social media, you probably recognize the words "Certified doula via (name of organization)" or "Trained doula via (name of training)".
Today there are two doula organizations in Sweden:
- Odis (The organization for doulas and childbirth educators in Sweden) - https://doula.nu
- Doula Association - https://www.doulaforbundet.se
DONA is an example of an international doula organization: https://www.dona.org
There are several active doulas in Sweden today who have trained through, for example, DONA.
The Swedish organizations work on a non-profit basis for doulas and are the ones who train doulas professionally today. What may be interesting for you as a client is to search the various organizations to see what their ethical guidelines/codes say and how they differ.
What is the difference between a Certified doula and a Certified doula?
Odis works to inspire doulas to further their education and increase their skills. This is done, among other things, through Odi's certification program, which also exists to provide quality assurance for parents.
Certified doula -
Took part of all course literature, materials and all course days. You can compare this to a "basic education".
Certified doula -
Took part in more course literature, had at least 3 full doula assignments (pre-call, on-call, birth, post-call) and took a doula exam.
Typically, Certified doulas charge a smaller fee than Certified doulas. It might be good to know if the doula's fee is an important point for you.
So, now you know a little more about what a doula is, then we move on to what might be good to find out before you contact different doulas and what a doula can bring up at a get-to-know meeting.
Why do you want a doula?
What is important to think about before choosing your doula is, what is important to you? What do you think a doula can support/help you with? Why do you want a doula?
This can be good to talk about before you meet different doulas so that you can also give them a picture of what you are looking for.
Try to point out what is important or decisive for you.
Examples: personal chemistry, the doula's fee/pricing, skills/training, number of assignments, additional services, what areas is she active in?
Try to get an answer to this or rank the points above, this makes it a little easier to navigate according to the type of doula you are looking for.
What does the doula go through?
Questions I myself ask potential clients at a so-called "Getting to know each other" are:
- Do you know what a doula is?
- Why do you/you want a doula with you? What do you think/want/desire me/the doula to do/support you with?
I also go through who I am and what my agreement looks like. It will be a fairly information-oriented call so that the client will receive all essential information. During the conversation, the client can of course ask questions and feel the chemistry between us.
I also always provide a template of my doula agreement for the client to read through in peace before they make a decision. We will of course also review the agreement during the meeting.
Getting to know meetings or doula interviews also differ between doulas.
Now we have come to the questions!
Feel free to take inspiration or save directly to your computer and print for future meetings.
Questions to ask yourselves AFTER getting to know the meeting/doula interview:
- Did you feel like you could be yourself with the doula?
- How did the personal chemistry feel - did you "click"?
- Was the doula interested in you and asking you/you questions?
- How many of your "requirements" did this doula meet? (e.g. important with a certain fee, personal chemistry, experience, education, additional service, etc.).
- Did she take the time to answer all your questions?
- Could you imagine having this doula with you at your birth?
Hope this post was helpful & good luck finding the right doula for you/you!
Are you a doula colleague or someone who had a doula and have tips on questions or whatever - please share tips in the comments!