By: Emily Accrocco
“So, we’re going to have a complete stranger in the delivery room with us? I mean, you seem cool…” said one father-to-be during my second prenatal interview with potential doula clients. His remark didn’t shake me at all, as I’ve learned how precious doula support is for the father as well as the mother. Some fathers are thrown off at the idea of a doula, but are very grateful to have had an experienced support person in the room with them for the beautiful transition into parenthood. “The training of a doula emphasizes quiet
reassurance and enhancement of the natural abilities of the laboring woman. A doula is constantly aware that the couple will carry the memory of this experience throughout their lives” (The Doula Book, Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus). The doula must be sensitive to this time and compatible with mom and dad. Things to consider when interviewing a potential birth doula:
1. Are you available during my due date? Most doulas will offer to be on call for you two weeks before and two weeks after your due date.
2. What is your training? Are you certified? If so, by what organization? What were the requirements for certification? DONA, for example, requires birth doulas to attend three births with positive evaluations from the OB or midwife, the nurse, the mother and father or birth partner.
3. How many births have you attended? How long have you been a doula?
4. Why did you become a doula?
5. What is your stance on pain medication during labor?
6. Are you familiar with my OBGYN/midwife and hospital/birth center? Have you been to a birth with my provider before?
7. How would you be able to support me during labor and delivery? What is in your birth supplies bag?
8. How would you involve and assist my partner during the birth?
9. When would you join me once I am in labor?
10. What is your back up plan if you are unable to attend my birth? Can I meet the back up doula?
11. What is your fee? Fees for doulas can range from $300-$1000 depending on your location and the doula’s experience. Some doula students offer birth services pro bono, on a sliding scale, or for trade of goods or services.
12. What does your fee cover? The majority of doulas offer up to 2-3 prenatal visits, attendance at your birth and up to 2-3 postpartum visits. Unlimited phone, email or text support for your pregnancy from date of hire.
13. What is our refund policy?
If you like her, schedule another meeting to go over your birth preferences. After the interview, ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I compatible with this person’s personality?
2. Can I imagine this person with me for the big show?
3. Does this doula seem to have her own idea of how your birth should go or is she supportive of your decisions?
4. Does she listen and communicate well?
Keep in mind that this kind of support requires a high level of trust- in yourself, and in the doula’s knowledge and skills. Make sure she is someone that will reassure you and ground you. This is your body, your birth, your baby.
A great site to find birth and postpartum doulas is Doulamatch.net!
Emily grew up in Barnstable, Cape Cod and after graduation, attended University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She earned a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Women's Studies. In 2010, she gave birth to her daughter Lena Rose with the assistance of a doula. She had never considered or been educated about natural childbirth or hiring a doula. Emily had an amazing experience and it motivated her to become a doula herself. Her dream was to work with teen girls and as a labor and delivery nurse, but found doula-ing satisfies both passions. Emily believes in the transitive powers of childbirth on women and believes that every woman should have doula support to have the most fulfilling birth and most positive experience. Childbirth is so empowering and humbling at the same time, that to be a part of another's special moment means so much to the doula. Birthing is a spiritual event and women can take back the personal power and innate strength to give birth without excessive and unnecessary medical interventions. Emily works as a mental health counselor for children and adolescents. She draws on her experiences in social work and birth work to be successful in both fields. She is currently a midwifery student and has dreams of opening a pregnancy and birth services center on Cape Cod.
Cape Cod Moms