Questions to ask your doula – with my answers!

When you hire a doula you need to make sure that you are getting the right fit for you, your family and your birth so I decided to interview myself!  Questions courtesy of the The Lamaze Doula 

  • Where did you train?
      • I trained with the lovely Sophie from Nurturing Birth  . I was really keen to train with them as they came to Dubai and I felt that this was content that needed to be delivered in person. I have to say that every day the five of us on the course each one of us had our own opened mouth didn’t-know-that moment! It was really, really interesting to study and learn the skills that I’ve been able to use since then. 
  • How many families have you worked with?
      • With childbirth classes, breastfeeding consultations and doula work I’ve actually lost count!
  • How long have you been a doula?
      • Three years now (April 2021)
  • How many clients do you take in 1 month?
      • I try to take no more than 3 as that just allows me some flexibility as birth work is emotional so it lets me have time between deliveries to recharge my batteries.
  • Do you do this full-time  or do you have another job?
      • I’m also a certified breastfeeding counselor and Lamaze childbirth educator which are  both services I feel help my clients and I incorporate into my doula package. I also offer these as stand alone services. 
  • What’s your philosophy on birth?
      • I tried to get all fancy with this answer but it all boils down to empowerment.  I will support families through vaginal, c-section or induction births as long as you are informed and supported then I have done my job well. Giving birth is a wondrous thing no matter how it is done and I hope that I empower families with support, advocacy and information.
  • Why did you choose to become a doula?
      • I wanted to study midwifery but chose the wrong subjects at school so couldn’t get on the course at 18.  Reapplied at the age of 30 and got accepted but busy husband, two small children and limited childcare options meant it didn’t work out.  I then had a family member who had a doula for her birth and the lightbulb pinged in my head.  So I started training to be a breastfeeding counselor first and took the doula course and here we are!
  • What are things you can do during labor to help me?
      • Definitely hip squeezes, verbal encouragement, position changes, I also have a rebozo shawl that we will use plus I do like a side lying release!   Honestly the biggest thing that helps is the continuous support that a doula gives – our job is to make you see how amazing we know you are. So laughing, being quiet, talking, reassurance, explanation, being a constant in a room of changing people those are the things that I can do to help you. 
  • How do you incorporate my partner so they are more involved?
      • As part of the doula package I offer classes (these are also offered separately) and into these are lots of ways for partners to be involved as much as they want to be. All of the counter pressure techniques that I demonstrate I make sure that they know how to do them to .  I also check how involved they want to be – so if I need to position myself so they don’t see anything they don’t want to then I will! If they are getting scared then I try and give them space to voice their fears too.  I support the pair of you at the end of the day.
  • Do you have special skills, like use of a rebozo, spinning babies, lactation consultant, birth/video photography etc etc?
      • Rebozo – yes
      • Spinning babies – some training
      • I’m a certified lactation consultant
      • I’m a certified Lamaze childbirth educator
      • I will have my phone (cameras are not allowed in births in Bahrain) and I have to say I’ve taken some great snaps – which will not be shared without your permission. 
  • What do you bring to a birth?
      • Peanut ball
      • Hair ties 
      • Uno
      • Rebozo
      • Orange glasses
      • Toiletry bag
      • Change of clothes
      • Book
      • Food
      • Water bottle
      • Ipad
      • Quiz book (I brought some coloring pages for one client)
      • Pen
      • Phone charger
  • Do you take payment plans?
      • I have done in the past but would require the whole sum to be paid before I attend the birth. 
  • How many prenatal visits do  you offer and what will you be doing with me at those visits?
      • It depends actually – I do offer different packages as some just want birth support – you can check them out on this link https://bahbabelle.net/what-does-a-doula-do-3/.  If you take the full doula package then classes are included so thats five classes, if you just want a class in one aspect such as induction then we can do that with no problem at all.  It all depends on what the client wants – I do try and be as flexible as I can. 
  • When am I officially “on-call” for you?
      • Again another it depends answer! My normal is from 37 weeks when I will save both yours and your birth partners phone number into my favorites so I can be contacted night or day but if you have had issues in the pregnancy I’ve gone on call before with no issue. I’ve been available from 36 weeks before and attended a clients birth at 35 weeks so I make sure I can get there if you let me know. 
  • Do we get anything else included in the package?
      • Yes – I have a client area that has lots of information in there that you can access at any time and I hope will give some answers to any little questions that you may have – don’t forget that you can text or call or email me if you need further assistance. 
  • Unlimited calls, texts or emails?
      • Of course! I’m happy to answer questions and give support throughout this journey that you are on. Although until I’m on call I haven’t set my phone up to answer calls at 3am so please remember that (unless there is a situation that I’m already aware of)
  • When will you come to me on baby day? As soon as labor starts? When active labor is established?
      • I try to be as flexible as I can which is why this is another it depends! So I ask that you keep me updated and I will pop over and see how you are doing.  A lot of families like to be left on their own in the early stages to get things done and enjoy the last moments before baby arrives so I will meet them at the hospital but generally we have spoken about this over your pregnancy so I know what your expectations are. Once you get to hospital and things are definitely happening then I will come to the hospital and be with you until the baby arrives and we have done that first breastfeed. 
  • In the event you can’t make it to me, do you have a back-up doula and can I meet and/or speak with her?
      • Of course I do and yes you can. 
  • Let’s say labor is happening and my care provider comes in suggesting an intervention – how would you handle this situation?
      • Having a doula does reduce the risk of interventions as we will keep you moving and motivated. If an intervention is suggested then I will ensure that you understand the implications of that and why it has been suggested. This gives you the confidence to make any decision that you need to. 
  • How can you support me in the event of a cesarean?
      • So if it is a planned c-section then I will come with you to the hospital and keep you entertained whilst you wait for your surgical slot (I’m not talking magic tricks by the way – I’m talking the sparkling glow of me!)  If it is an emergency then I will tell you what the staff are doing and the process that you are going to go through (obviously this all depends on how you are at this moment in time but I will definitely go through things with your partner so they know what to expect and I like to have a birth debrief so you can understand things).  We will then wait together (I can chat about rubbish for a long time to take a partners mind off things believe me!) I will then stay as long as I can afterwards and make sure that you know what you need to help you recover at home once you return. We do cover c-sections in the childbirth classes and its something I strongly recommend couples have an idea about at the very least. 
  • How long do you stay after the birth and can you assist me with breastfeeding?
      • Yes I can help with breastfeeding as I am a certified breastfeeding counselor and I like to stay for that first feed if I can. I do offer a preparation for breastfeeding class in either my doula package or as a stand alone. 
  • What happens in the event of a long labor? Do you stay the whole time, take breaks, call your back-up?
      • This is part of the reason for not necessarily rushing over at the very first sign of labour – I need to make sure that I have enough energy to support you the whole way through.  I do have a back up doula as I mentioned before and should things be taking their time then I would contact her.  However part of the perks of a doula is that I can tag team with your husband so you are never alone – if one of us needs a break then there will always be someone with you. 

I once read a quote that was along the lines of ‘a doula is the ultimate feminist,’ and we truly are.  We know how amazingly strong we are to give birth and our job is to make you see that too. Honestly I am so lucky and blessed that I have found something that I truly love and that I learn from every single day. I hope that my interview has answered some of the questions that you have about me and the role of a doula – please contact me if you would like a chat.