Top Questions to ask when you are hiring a doula as a single mom by choice.
When I’m working with pregnant solo moms, I always get asked about how to hire a doula. This article will give you an overview of what a doula does and what questions to ask so that you can hire a doula that is the right fit.
First of all, I do recommend that all single moms by choice hire a birth doula, or at least give it careful consideration. It’s a known fact that having a birth doula improves birth outcomes. There’s tons of research to suggest that having a birth doula present at a birth decreases the rate of having a Pitocin induction or C-section, and increases the rate of vaginal births. What’s more, birth doulas decrease the likelihood of feeling dissatisfied with your birthing experience.
What is a birth doula?
A birth doula is trained to provide continuous one-on-one care to a birthing person during labor and birth. The support they provide can be broken down into four categories: emotional support, physical support, informational support, as well as advocacy on behalf of the mother.
For single moms by choice, it’s even more important that you have someone there as a continuous support since you won’t have a partner present.
How to hire a birth doula as a single mom?
Many women ask me how to hire a doula. First off, I think it’s important to understand what a doula does so that you can think through what you would want or need from their skill set. I have a comprehensive article here about what a doula does and why I think all single pregnant moms should have one.
But in short, a doula is there to help you with whatever you need and provide This could be massage and pain management, helping you understand medical lingo and advocating for yourself or helping you cope with any personality issues that are coming up.
DONA, is a large organization that trains doulas. They have an awesome guide to hiring a doula that is much more comprehensive. But here are some questions I would that are unique to the single mom experience.
Do they specialize in hospital, birth center or home births?
Some doulas may specialize or have a preference for the type of births they attend most often. It’s good to understand their speciality.
2. Do they have any leanings toward unmedicated vs medicated births?
In theory, a doula should be open to working with anyone, regardless of their birth plan. But, a doula can still have opinions about what she thinks is best and it’s good to know what they are before hiring them.
3. Have they worked with single moms before?
The needs of a single mom can be different than a coupled person. For that reason, in an ideal world you’d be able to find a doula that has previous experience working with single moms. It’s not the end of the world if she hasn’t. But it’s nice to know and to make sure they have some sensitivity to what might be different for a single woman giving birth.
4. Would they support you at home for early labor?
Most doulas plan to meet you at the hospital once active labor has begun. But many single women find that they don’t have anyone to support them at home for early labor (which could be a few days long). You can ask if your doula would be able to provide any support at home.
5. Can she give you a ride to the hospital if you need one?
Some of my clients have had no one to give them a ride to the hospital so they’ve asked their doula to do it. I’ve heard of some doulas that are willing to do it and others that aren’t so it’s worth asking if you need this support?
6. Has she ever been present during a C-Section? And is she comfortable accompanying you inside the OR if a C-Section is necessary?
This should be standard for a doula but it’s important to double check. If you need a C-section it would be very important to have a calm support person with you.
7. How would she characterize her style or philosophy?
This kind of question will help you hear her talk and allow you to get a sense of you seem in synch or not.
8. What kind of pain management modalities is she most familiar with? Types of massage, comfort measures etc
Sometimes you find an amazing synergy with your certain doulas around the type of massage or yoga or other practice that you like.
9. How does her contract work?
Will she be present for the entire time you are in the hospital until postpartum? Or does she have a limit to the number of hours she will be present. I recently heard of a doula that would only provide 18 hours of birthing support. For a single mom who may not have anyone else present for the entire birth, this might not be the best option.
10. Do you feel a connection with the doula?
Probably the most important thing is that you feel incredibly comfortable being vulnerable with your doula. Giving birth can bring out the most primal side and be very intimate. These questions should help you get a feel for her style and how you might get along. Make sure that you are asking lots of open-ended questions that allow her to talk. If your guts says something won’t work, listen to that.
By and large doulas are incredibly generous and sensitive humans so it should be a great experience. But, it’s still important to find a good fit for you.
11. What if it’s too expensive to hire a doula?
For many, hiring a doula is an expense that is out of reach. To make it more affordable, ask DONA, one of the largest doula trainers if they have a list of doulas that need training hours or other programs to bring down the cost. Or google low cost birth doula and lots of resources come up. Now that research shows such a clear advantage to having a doula there are more and more programs making doulas available to those in need.
And, if it’s still too expensive, look through what a doula does and think about what friends or family possess these qualities and would make a good addition to your birth team.
Did I miss anything? Message me and let me know.