Interviewing a Doula to Find the Right Fit - 4 Takeaways from a Nessle Expert

Doula helping an expectant mother

As you consider childbirth options, you may feel overwhelmed by the abundance of opinions from family members, friends, or medical professionals. You may also feel anxious about what will happen during the prenatal, childbirth, and postnatal stages. This is where a doula comes in! Doulas provide knowledge, guidance, comfort, and support throughout your entire perinatal experience. 

This blog will share some beneficial tips on interviewing a doula from our own Nessle expert, Lakesha Quarles, a Certified Birth Assistant, Doula, and Childbirth Educator. We had the pleasure of interviewing Lakesha during our recent podcast, during which she gave some great advice on finding and hiring a doula. But before we share her nuggets of wisdom, let’s go over what a doula is and the services a doula offers. 

What is a Doula?

A doula is a qualified birth assistant who provides emotional and physical guidance and support during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.

Examples of services a doula offers:

  • Enhancing birthing person’s physical comfort through touch, massage, and assistance with breathing techniques
  • Explaining in simple terms what's happening during labor, childbirth, and the postpartum period, including details about procedures
  • Helping with communication between parents and the hospital staff and empowering the birthing person to be a self-advocate
  • Offering guidance and support to loved ones
  • Assisting with breastfeeding initiation

There are many benefits to hiring a doula. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies show that continuous support from doulas during childbirth might be associated with the following:

  • Decreased use of painkillers during labor
  • Reduced need for C-section deliveries 
  • Decrease in the length and severity of labor
  • Less negative childbirth experiences
How to Find a Doula

Now that you know all the benefits of hiring a doula, you may be wondering how to find one. You could start by asking your OB/GYN, childbirth instructor, family, or friends for recommendations. You might also contact your hospital for a referral. Another option is to search online for sites such as Nessle that provide a directory of certified birth experts. 

How to Interview a Doula

During our podcast interview with Lakesha Quarles, we received some beneficial tips on interviewing a doula to ensure you have the right fit for your family.

Takeaway 1 - Schedule a Consultation - Doulas usually offer a 30 - 45 minute consultation in your home or in a virtual meeting. This important meeting allows you to get to know each other, find out the doula’s background and qualifications and go over your specific concerns and needs. 

Takeaway 2 - Cover the Basics - During your consultation, your doula first goes over the role of the doula - what they can do to assist you. They will also ask you about your medical and family history and any previous pregnancies. It would be important to be as translucent as possible about any miscarriages or other pregnancy issues. This would be the time to share your plans for your childbirth (home or hospital birth) and any concerns or fears you may have about your pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum stages.

Takeaway 3 - Questions to Ask - While every family’s situation is different, there are some essential questions that Lakesha recommends that we ask so that we are clear and fully prepared for the big day: These include:

  • What do you love most about being a doula? - This question will help you find out how passionate they are about their work.
  • What personalities do you work especially well with? - This will help you get an idea of how your doula likes to work and whether or not you are compatible. 
  • What's the process like, working with you? - Getting the process clear will prevent any misunderstandings, down the line.
  • How can I prepare for birth? - Ask your doula how to best prepare for your birth, and take a proactive role in the process.
  • During birth, what can I do to advocate for myself? - Hiring a doula doesn’t mean you don’t have to advocate for yourself. A doula will guide you on ways to communicate so your needs are met and your wishes are respected.
  • When would you need to rely on a backup doula? Would I meet that person ahead of time? - These kinds of “what if” questions are crucial for your mutual peace of mind!
  • Do you have any specific requirements for working together? - This is an important question to cover sooner than later!

Takeaway 4 - Questions a Doula May Ask - A doula will have a vital role in your pregnancy and childbirth, so they need to know as much as possible about you, your family and your situation. Examples of questions a doula may ask are:

  • What do you know about what a doula does? What are your expectations about my role? - This will help clarify what a doula can help with when it comes to their  client’s expectations and awareness.
  • How comfortable are you with your current care provider/chosen birthing place? - This will help your doula gain insight into your childbirth plans and how you feel about them.
  • When you picture your birth, what are you imagining? - This is important, especially for first-time parents!
  • Do you have any concerns, fears, or past trauma you'd like to discuss with me as your doula? - Sharing any fears or negative experiences will help your doula support you in ways that help heal the past and empower the present. 

We hope these tips will help you find the perfect doula. Remember, every birthing person deserves a doula, so good luck in your search! Doulas support all types of births and decisions and provide priceless support during this very special and intimate time in your life, so you’ll thank yourself for hiring one!

Click here to listen to our podcast: Interviewing a Doula to Find the Right Fit with Nessle’s CEO, Carly Buxton and Certified Doula, Lakesha Quarles

Click here to learn more about Lakesha Quarles and her services.

Learn more about Nessle and the services offered by our Perinatal Experts.

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