This blog post is written by contributing writer Nicky Dawkins, CD, PPD, HHC. Learn more about our advising PROUDLY doula at the end of this article.
So, you’re interested in working with a doula and you have scheduled consultations. You may be asking yourself—what now? How do I prepare?
Consider your Birth Preferences
Before interviewing a doula, it is very important for parents to know what type of birth experience they hope to have. Do you want to give birth at home or at the hospital? Are you dead set on going natural or open to medication? Having a general idea of your birth preferences before interviewing doulas makes it easier to decide who is the right person to support you.
Understand Your Potential Health Risks
It is also important to know if you have any special needs or particular health risks that may affect your pregnancy and make that clear to the doula. Some doulas specialize in certain areas like VBAC, fertility issues, or twins and can provide more specialized care, so make that clear. Just being a person of color can be a risk in some circumstances and require unique needs.
Ask as Many Questions as You Need to Feel Comfortable
Every doula approaches the birthing process differently and offers different methods of support. Do not be afraid in your first consultation to ask honest questions about the specific services they can and cannot support you with!
Below are some questions to consider when interviewing a doula—go ahead and copy + paste to your phone notes app or print out for your consultation!
There are a few things you should reflect on after your consultation. Did the doula listen to your concerns and needs? Did they ask you questions about you? Did they follow up after? Was it a VIBE? Really want to do your homework? Consider the following as well!
- Check online reviews. Online reviews are generally a safe way to see how people felt about the doula service they received.
- Browse social media. Doula service is personal and social media lets you get a sense of that doula’s overall vibe. Does their social media presence seem like they have a preference toward or against a certain kind of birth? Make sure their online presence reflects your preferences!
Regardless of what you decide, always keep in mind that every doula experience is different—because every pregnancy and birth is different. Overall, hiring a doula as part of your maternal journey is one of the best decisions you can make. Always follow your instincts and do your research to find the doula that is right for you!
About Nicky Dawkins
Nicky Dawkins is a Holistic Reproductive Health Doula and Activist based in Miami, FL. She is the founder of Werk it Moms, a mom-driven organization that focuses on providing educational workshops, community events, and a safe space for mompreneurs and working mothers. In addition to this work, she is the founder of the Menstrual Market and has served as Vice Chair of the Miami Diaper Bank since 2018. She also serves on the board of No One Births Alone non-profit and others.
Nicky works with birthing people from fertility to postpartum and everything in between. Her passion is to help birthing people have a healthy period, pregnancy, and birth experience with as little intervention as possible. Nicky also works heavily in advocacy within the reproductive health and justice space, focusing primarily on menstrual equity, birth equity, and maternal mental health.
Vaginal Steaming Practitioner - Steamy Chick
Full Spectrum Doula - Mama Glow
Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Doula - Nneka Hall, PSI
Breastfeeding Counselor - Healthy Start Coalition
Holistic Herbs Practitioner - Grandma’s Hands
Placenta Encapsulation Specialist - Women’s Choice Prenatal
Menstrual Health Coach - Nicole Jardim Fix Your Period
Cannabis Doula Practitioner - The Cannabis Doula and Trichome Institute
Women’s Hormone Health Coach - Menstrual Health Institute
Maternal Mental Health Certification - Postpartum Support International