Updated: Jul 8
~ What to ask at the initial meet, first doula appointments, doula prenatal appointments
AUTHOR: Lee Reicheneder
Depending on which package you choose and who you book your Doula service with will depend on how many prenatal meets you will receive and if there will be any additional meets/services provided. Here we will do our best to give you an idea on what prenatal appointments will look like and how you can prepare for them.
INITIAL OBLIGATION FREE MEET
An initial obligation-free meet is usually offered by most Doula services. This meet is often arranged for a date and time most suitable for you in a public location of your choice. With our service, these meets are conducted in-person and/or virtually (online video chat/meet, or phone chat) to provide more flexibility and options for families.
An initial obligation-free meet is an opportunity for the client/s and the Doula to get to know each other, get a feel on whether they ‘click’ and/or their views align. Ultimately, it helps everyone determine whether they all (client/s and Doula) will feel comfortable with working together or if another Doula might be a better fit.
The initial meeting usually lasts from a few minutes to 1-hour maximum. To prepare for an initial meet it would be worth considering what you may be wanting for the Doula during your pregnancy, birth, and/or postpartum period. Start preparing a list of questions you wish to ask the Doula to see if they align with your views and goals.
Some questions to consider asking the Doula c
What kind of training do you have and where did you train?
Why did you not enroll in Doula training or cease training? (if not training or not qualified)
Have you participated in any additional or ongoing training (if already qualified)?
Have you taken part in any continuing related but not Doula specific education programs?
What is your philosophy about pregnancy, birth, and/or postnatal period?
Why did you become a Doula?
How can you support women in labour?
How long have you been practicing as a Doula?
What are your fees and what is included?
Do you offer payment plans?
Do you have a 12-hour clause or any other clause that would require me to pay more money if labour lasts longer?
What region/s do you service and how far are you willing to travel?
Are there any places or birth types you won’t attend?
How many clients do you book each month, and what will happen if you can’t attend?
How should I contact you in labour?
How would you work with my partner and/or children to ensure they are involved and/or supported? Do you offer any additional services?
PRENATAL SUPPORT SESSION APPOINTMENT
The prenatal support session appointment/s are usually only conducted only after booking the service and paying the deposit. Doula fees often include a non-refundable booking fee which ranges from $100-50% of the full fee. Session times with Doulas usually range from 2-3 hours and are run from the comfort of your own home or another location of your choice. During these sessions, the Doula usually debriefs with you any previous birth experience and/or any potential assaults or traumatic events that may have occurred in your life and creates some ways to work through these.
Debriefing with you is incredibly important as any of these things may impact negatively on your upcoming birth experience. In addition, a Doula may work through a draft birth plan with you, and you would discuss how you would like to be supported. Depending on your level of knowledge about childbirth, childbirth education may also be provided.
The package you select from the Doula of your choice and the amount of sessions/time available to you would determine what activities are carried out. Below are some common activities carried out at Doula meets; depending on your circumstances some, all, or additional activities not listed below would be carried out at meets.
Working through pain management options and preferences
Continue working through previous trauma (if applicable)
Discuss how to research and gather information to help you make informed choices you are happy with
Addressing Fears and Concerns for the pregnancy, birth and/or postpartum period
Working through common interventions that may or may not occur based on your individual circumstances
How your partner can support you and how your Doula can support your partner