The first question to ask a potential birth doula is whether she's available around your due date. If she is, here are some other questions you may want to ask. You can talk to the doula over the phone first — but before you hire her, it's important to meet her in person to make sure you're compatible.
I always suggest meeting a few doulas to get to know the different styles and personalities of them so you can be sure with your decision.
What is your training? Are you certified? If so, by what organization? And what was required in
order to receive this certification?
What is your birth philosophy and approach?
How many births have you attended? Are you familiar with my doctor/midwife/hospital/birth center?
Do you get along well with my caregiver?
When would you join me during labor?
Which labor-coping techniques do you think tend to be the most helpful? (If you have a specific technique or method in mind that you plan to try, ask about her experience with it.)
How would you work with and involve my partner?
How do you feel about the use of pain medication during labor?
Why did you become a doula?
Tell us about some of your birthing experiences.
What's your fee?
What does your fee cover? How many visits or hours?
Do you offer any special services?
What type of pre-labor and post-labor support do you provide?
Do you meet with us after the birth to review the labor and answer questions or screen for Postpartum Depression?
When labor starts, how soon will you be with me?
Do you have anyone else due near the time I'm due?
Do you have a backup arrangement with another doula or group of doulas in case you're not free when I go into labor? Can I meet them? How often do you have to use your back up?
Do you have any reviews that I can see or can I talk to any recent clients of yours?
Do you feel like she is listening to you? Did she ask you any questions? Is she interested in you and what you want?
Do you have experience with (Insert situation here: VBAC, Twins, AMA, medical condition.. etc. )
As a doula, here are some questions that I like to ask couples that I am meeting.
Have you met with any other doulas?
Do you know what a doula is?
What did you think of the other doulas you have met? (anything you didn't like, did they answer all your questions?)
Did you know about doulas before meeting them or is this your first experience?
How do you see your birth?
What do you see a doula helping you and your partner with during your birth?
How do you feel a doula is going to help your partner?
How do you feel about your doctor/midwife?
What are some questions you have about what a doula does?
What are some things you feel you want to avoid? and how do you feel a doula will help you with that? Fears?
Is there anything that you feel like I did not cover?
Are you interested in any additional service?
I feel like the most important thing is to be upfront and honest with expectations. Your doula can not help you if she does not know what you need help with or want. If you are wanting your doula to come over to your home in early labor then your doula needs to know that you are wanting that because she may not normally do that. The more you get to know your doula the more she will be able to read what you need in labor.
In my own practice, we spend a lot of time in pregnancy going over things we can use in labor so that when you are actually in labor you already know what things work for you.
It is very important to feel secure and empowered by your birth team so you can trust they will help you and keep your best interests in mind.
Happy doula hunting!