50 Top Questions to Ask a Doula (in 2023)

top questions to ask a doula

So you are considering a doula. For some, the concept may be very new. Others know they want a doula before they are even expecting. Whether or not you have made up your mind, we’ve got a list of the best questions to ask a doula (and what you need to ask yourself too) before hiring.

I’ll be honest, the first time someone asked me if I was hiring a doula, I was a little put off by the idea. “Why would someone need that?” I initially thought. “Is this some bougie or new wave thing?”

Well, I can tell you, after hiring a doula to help me with my first pregnancy, I am very pro-doula.

During labor, my doula was incredibly supportive and was instrumental in helping me work through my pain.

My husband and family were supportive in their own ways, but I do think they were overwhelmed and perhaps even terrified as they witnessed the intense pain I was experiencing.

If you are not exactly sure if a doula is right for you, this guide will walk you through the benefits of hiring a doula, what to consider prior to hiring one, how you should prepare for the doula interview, and what to ask a potential doula during the interview process.

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What is a doula?

doula applying counter pressure to pregnant lady

DONA International defines a labor doula as “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.”

Doulas are not midwives, nurses, or any other medical professional. They don’t deliver babies. They are childbirth experts who provide emotional, physical, and educational support to women during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

Doulas are not only for women planning home births or those who are birthing without pain medication. 

They are also for women who want to give birth in the hospital and with an epidural. Because even if you choose a medicated birth, they can provide continuous emotional support throughout your labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period.

However, doulas cannot replace the medical care given by doctors or nurses, so you will still need them during your pregnancy and birth (although some hospitals now have doulas on staff).

Can’t my spouse, best friend, mom or partner do what a doula does?

When a woman gives birth, it’s the most powerful experience she will ever have. It often comes with intense pain and emotions.

A doula can ease the pain of contractions and offer emotional support to a laboring mother and her partner.

Our family and friends can support us in many ways during a delivery. However, most are not experts in helping women through their delivery.

Many partners, even with the best intentions find they are overwhelmed during the labor process. They may even feel helpless because they do not have the tools to help the woman manage her labor pain and emotions during this time.

Doulas are experts in assisting women through labor. Given their training and expertise they can typically support a woman better than the family can.

Different types of doulas

doula providing support with birthing ball

Finding the right doula for your upcoming birth is important. Here are some of the special skills different types of doulas may offer:

Birth Doula

Birth doulas offer pregnancy and labor support.

Many will offer prenatal meetings where they may function as childbirth educators. During this time they may review birth topics such as what to expect during a vaginal birth. Prenatal visits can also be used to teach coping techniques for labor pain and help a couple understand the partner’s role in the delivery.

During the delivery, they often coach the mom through the labor process and offer different positions and exercises to help manage pain.

After the baby is born, they may offer to take pictures of you and your new baby.

Lastly, they can help with latching to establish breastfeeding immediately after the baby is born.

Postpartum Doula

Doulas can also offer postpartum support.

They may come to your home and assist with child care, check on the new mom’s mental and physical health, bring cooked meals or help with breastfeeding support.

Some may even offer to do the baby’s laundry or tidy up the home to support the new mother.

Massage Doula

A massage doula is a certified massage therapist. They offer massage at all stages of pregnancy.

Prenatal massage can help one deal with the aches and pains of pregnancy.

They may also offer labor induction and postpartum massage to help mammas throughout the pregnancy journey.

If your birth doula is also a massage doula, then they may offer massage during the birthing process as a pain and stress relief tool.

Sibling Doula

Sibling doulas can watch your children while you are in labor. It’s a great childcare solution for many families who don’t have support nearby.

When should I hire a doula?

You can contact a potential doula at any point during your pregnancy. Some women find it helpful to connect with one in their first trimester when planning their birth, while others wait until they are in their third trimester to hire one.

It’s up to you and depends on when you are ready to interview potential candidates.

My recommendation is to hire someone during the 2nd trimester, so they are available to answer your pregnancy questions and have time to prepare you for the delivery.

Benefits of having a labor doula

There are many proven benefits to having continuous labor support. Here are some of the ways a doula can help you:

Can help you create a birth plan

They can help you create a birth plan and advocate for those preferences during labor.

Support you through labor

Doulas provide support throughout labor. This includes both physical and emotional support.

Help manage labor pain

Having a birth doula deceases your chances of needing pain medications during labor.

One of the biggest benefits I found in having a doula was the different positions and exercises she incorporated to help me manage my pain during labor.

Can help you navigate the healthcare setting

Doulas are comfortable working in the hospital setting and with birth staff. Since they are comfortable navigating the hospital system, they can help you address your questions and any concerns you may have during the birth process.

Help your partner to be more involved

Most people have little experience with pregnancy or childbirth, and they don’t know what to expect.

A doula can help your partner feel more confident in their role during pregnancy.

They can prep your partner for the birthing experience. They can coach your partner in different exercises during labor to help you with pain. They can reassure your partner that what you are experiencing is normal.

Decrease your chance of needing a c-section

Having a doula has been shown to reduce the chance of needing a c section

Helps with breastfeeding after birth

Breastfeeding can be a challenge, especially for first-time mothers and those who have already given birth but are new to breastfeeding.

Doulas assist in proper position and latching during breastfeeding, include advice on which foods to take to increase milk supply, and can teach you how to breastfeed at home and in public. 

A doula offers postpartum support

A doula ensures that the mother’s needs are met after the baby is born.

They can provide postpartum care by cooking food for the family, assisting with childcare, helping with laundry, or cleaning up the home.

May decrease postpartum blues and postpartum depression

Offering this kind of support may minimize postpartum complications like postpartum blues and postpartum depression.

What your doula cannot do

Yes, having a doula is wonderful, but you must remember a few things that your doula isn’t expected to do during your birth journey, like the following:

Doulas cannot substitute for a health care provider. We can’t stress enough that while a doula can help you feel better during your birthing process, she cannot be a substitute for a doctor, nurse, or midwife. Leave the medical decisions to these professionals.

The doula cannot make decisions for you.

A doula cannot refuse medical care for you and should not advise you against taking medical care recommended by a physician.

Things to consider before you interview doulas

Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself before interviewing a prospective doula

  • Birth location – are you planning for a home birth, birth center, or hospital-based birth? Be prepared to let your doula know what kind of delivery you expect to have. You should know the name of the specific hospital or birthing center where you plan to deliver.
  • You need to be sure your delivery team: Ob or midwife is ok with you having a doula at the delivery. We recommend talking to your doctor or midwife about hiring a doula.
  • Does your local hospital (or birth center) allow for doulas to attend the delivery? Discuss this with your birth team (ob or midwife) ahead of time. Most will be familiar with the policies for where they deliver.
  • Why are you hiring a doula? What kind of support, in particular, are you looking for?
  • What are your delivery goals? Are you hoping for a natural birth? Are you planning to take IV pain medications or an epidural? Having an idea of what kind of birth you want can help you and your doula determine if she is the best fit for you.
  • When is your due date? Make sure you know your due date before interviewing candidates. Most doulas will only take on a certain number of clients each month, so be sure to know your due date to be sure they have the availability to take you on as a client.
  • Do you want a more experienced doula or are you comfortable hiring a new doula? New doulas may be less expensive and be willing to spend more time with new clients. More experienced doulas will offer you the benefits of having greater expertise in their field.

Prepare for the interview

Whether this is someone that comes recommended or someone you found on your own, do some research about this person. Read through their website to understand their philosophy and what they offer.

Familiarize yourself with their doula packages and any additional services they may offer.

Don’t waste precious time asking for info that can easily be found on their website.

Doula Interview Questions

Here are some important questions to ask a doula during the interview process


  1. What kind of doula training have you completed?
  2. How long have you been a doula?
  3. How many deliveries have you participated in?
  4. Is being a doula your full-time job, or do you have another job too? How do you balance both jobs?
  5. How many clients do you take per month?
  6. Have you worked as a doula at the hospital or birth center where I am delivering?
  7. Can you tell me about your experience at the hospital or birth center where I am delivering?
  8. Do you have experience with home births?
  9. Are there any additional services you offer? Examples: placenta encapsulation, birth photography, massage therapy or lactation consultant
  10. How would you best describe your doula style?


  1. What is your philosophy on birthing/labor?
  2. What are your strengths as a doula? Do you have a specific area of expertise?
  3. Do you have any strongly held beliefs that might influence the care you provide? For example are you opposed to hospital-based births, pain medications during labor, vaccines or circumcisions?
  4. How do you feel about birth plans?
  5. Are you comfortable working in the hospital setting with an obstetrician delivering me? or in a birthing center with a midwife? or at a home delivery?

Prenatal Support

  1. How many pre- and postnatal visits are included?
  2. Are you willing to answer questions by phone or text during my pregnancy?
  3. Is there a limit to how many phone calls or texts we can have?
  4. Can I reach out to you at any time of the day or do you have specific hours that I can reach out by text or phone?
  5. During your prenatal visits, what topics are typically discussed?
  6. Can you help me create a birth plan?
  7. Do you recommend any specific books, birthing classes, breathing techniques, or other resources to prepare me for labor?

Labor Support

  1. When do you go on call for my birth?
  2. What happens if I go into labor when you are not on call for me? (example preterm labor)
  3. Once labor starts do you come to my home? 
  4. When do you decide it’s the right time to go to the hospital?
  5. Do you stay the entire time I am in labor, or do you leave?
  6. Does a back-up doula take over for you if you have to leave?
  7. What if I have a prolonged labor, for example, what if my labor is over 24 hours?
  8. What if I have a quick or short delivery?
  9. What if you miss my delivery?
  10. What happens if you can’t make my delivery?
  11. Do you have a backup doula in case you have an emergency?
  12. How can you help me manage my labor pain?
  13. How do you support my partner and involve them in the birth process?
  14. What kind of tools or supplies do you bring to the delivery? Examples: Birthing ball, aromatherapy, rebozo, etc
  15. Do we need to provide any supplies?
  16. How can you support me if I take an epidural?
  17. How can you support me if I need a c section?

Postpartum Support

  1. How long after the delivery will you stay?
  2. How can you support me during the postpartum period?
  3. What kind of breastfeeding support do you offer?
  4. Do you have experience with baby-wearing? Can you teach me how to use a baby carrier?


  1. What is your fee?
  2. What kind of payment do you accept?
  3. Do we have to pay all at once or can we make payments?
  4. Can you give me a copy of your contract to review?
  5. What is your policy if we decide to cancel our contract?
  6. What is your experience with reimbursement from health insurance plans for your services?
  7. Do you have any references that I can speak with?

Choosing a doula

I recommend you interview a few potential candidates. After each interview consider whether they will be a good fit.

Giving birth is a very intimate life experience. Your doula will likely see all of you and support you during this vulnerable time.

To ensure a positive birth experience, select someone you connect with naturally, and who you feel you can trust.

Also, consider whether they can meet your specific needs and concerns.

We wish you the best of luck mama!

Did you hire a doula? Share your experience below.

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