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Hi doulas! I'm looking for a little expert assistance. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I'm preparing for a VBAC in hospital this fall and I'm looking to hire a doula. I found a great website of doulas in my city and I was going to write up a preliminary set of questions to email the potentials to kind of narrow down the field (before phoning and setting up interviews etc). I was hoping you could help me think of some good things to ask that I might not have thought of. So far what I have is (excuse my short-hand):<br><br>
Fee? Sliding scale for low-income families (ie. us, lol)?<br>
What services are provided with that fee?<br>
What is the refund policy, if any?<br>
How many years of experience?<br>
Experience with VBAC in hospital?<br><br>
Uh... then I'm kind of stumped. I'm looking for any other questions to ask that would show a bit more of their personalities/philosophy, since that would be a big factor in who I choose. At the same time I don't want to overwhelm them with questions that would be more appropriate for a one on one interview as opposed to an email.<br><br>
TIA for any help or advice you can offer! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I'd probably ask if they do a free consultation. Email and phone is well and good, but face-to-face interaction is probably the most important. You can see if you are a good "fit."<br><br>
I think your q's are good. I might ask about birth philosophy but that's probably another face-to-face thing.
 

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How do you define your role with my partner? (if applicable)<br>
To you, what are the best and worst parts of relating to care providers in my chosen birth setting?<br>
How do you help women to find their power?<br>
How do you facilitate communication?<br><br>
These might be 'bigger' questions more suited for an interview, but because there can be so many doulas in a metropolitan area, you may need to pull out the philosophical 'big' questions over the phone to narrow down to 3-4 candidates to meet in person. If you can talk in person to a few people you really like over the phone, it can come straight down to personality, ease of communication and comfort level once you meet them in person.<br><br>
I hope you find the best doula for you!
 

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Yeah...I really think that beyond the questions you have listed...it's more like asking her to spend a ton of time on the computer for somebody who may or may not choose her. Not that part of building her business isn't part of her job...but face to face often gets questions and answers taken care of a lot more quickly than the back and forth style of the internet!<br><br>
Most of what is left to ask should really be done face to face, anyway...because you'll want to hear and SEE the tone of her answers.<br><br>
Much of what makes you a great fit with a doula is chemistry. Either you have it or you don't, and you will know that better when you meet her face to face.
 

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What is your availability/How many births do attend monthly?<br>
Do you work with a partner?<br>
Can I meet your back-up doula?<br>
Can I call you (several times, if needed) with questions, prenatally? Post-partum?<br>
How many prenatal meetings are included with your service?<br>
Do you come at a "certain point" in labor (i.e. when cntx are 10 minutes apart/6 minutes apart/when I check in to the hospital, etc.)?<br>
Do you have experience with breasfeeding assistance?<br>
Can you include photography/belly cast/blessingway/sitz baths, etc. with service?
 
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