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How to Find the Best Doula in Chicago: Interview Questions to Ask

You've found some doulas to interview that might be the right fit. You've scheduled some interviews. Now what? Awkward conversations are not a necessity. As someone who has interviewed hundreds of people in both education and healthcare, I've got some questions to help make the best of your time with a prospective doula.

There are several things that you can do before you even get on the interview that will help you feel more grounded as you explore options.

  1. Snoop around: check out the doula's website, social media, and reviews

  2. Read the research on the benefits of doulas

  3. Research doula fees in your area and set a budget

  4. If you need more information on what a doula does, I have a helpful post 

pregnant person on coach preparing for a doula interview

Now, let's get into the questions. This step is so important for getting to know a doula: Make a list of questions that you have and then figure out if they are questions about all doulas ("what are some ways a doula can support our birth?") or questions for your prospective doula ("what is your strategy for supporting partners during a birth?").

Check your pregnancy books (or here) for a list of common questions. Start with the stock questions that are most important to you. Some important ones:

  • What doula training do you have? How did you choose that path?

  • What happens if something comes up and you can't attend our birth?

  • What is your fee? Are there any additional costs that I should know about?

  • How do you decide when to come to a birth? Do you have any specific guidelines or cutoffs?

Now aim for some juicier questions. The better the question, the better the answer. Here are some examples to inspire you.

  • Some doulas see themselves as another voice in the room to hold up your preferences, while others see themselves as witnesses and private helpers. Where do you fall along that spectrum?

  • If a pregnant person gets to a place of “I’m done” or “I can’t do this anymore,” what do you do?

  • I am planning to give birth ____(at X hospital, at home, vaginally, unmedicated, via planned induction, with Dr. X, etc). What do you think of that?

  • What constitutes a “good” birth for you?

You might be tempted to ask, "How many births have you attended?" That can be an important question, especially because most people consider a doula to be new until their 20th birth. However, you can ask some other questions that will give you more depth of understanding.

  • What has changed about your practice as you’ve attended more births? What do you wish you knew when you were just starting out?

  • What do you do when a birth goes differently than expected, like a planned vaginal birth becomes a cesarean? Or an unmedicated birth goes long?

  • What do you see as the biggest barriers for people achieving the birth that they want?

  • Can you talk about a birth that was difficult for you: what happened, why it was hard, what you learned, what you did to recover?

Design some fun questions that are specific to you. Here are some of my favorites:

  • We like that you bring humor into your practice because comedy is important to us. Tell us about your sense of humor. What are some things that make you laugh?

  • You love baking? Can you tell me how you incorporate that into your practice? What are your favorite postpartum recipes?

You don't have to ask all the questions. Pick a few that you are excited about. After the interview, imagine the day of your birth. This person walks into the room. How do you feel seeing their face?

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