A Doula or Birthkeeper can be an invaluable member of your birth support team. But what should you ask about when you contact them? Find your twenty questions here!
WHEN MAKING INITIAL CONTACT
1. Will you be available around my due date? This isn’t something that I can answer in a blog post! Contact me here to find out!
2. How much does it cost? And when do I need to pay by? My current fees can be found here on my doula page. The deposit is non refundable and payable at booking to secure my time. The remainder is due at your 37 week Birth Planning appointment and before I go on call for you.
DURING FACE TO FACE INTERVIEW
3. Have you been a doula long? What is your experience? I am a qualified but no longer registered Midwife and I have been working as a Doula/Birthkeeper since 2021. I have been supporting women since 2005 and in an informal way before then.
4. Whats the difference between a doula and a birth keeper? A doula is a birth support person who will support you to have your baby in the location of your choosing. A birthkeeper is someone who has a deep trust and knowledge of physiologically natural birth and will support you to freebirth at home.
5. What happens if you are sick and can’t attend my birth? The Doula’s in Kent Doula Collective work collaboratively together. We will stand in for one another at short notice if we can. Sometimes we arrange shared care where you will get to meet the other doula as part of your care package and we will both be on call for your birth.
6. Do you carry insurance? I am currently insured for both my hypnobirthing practice and Doula services with Holistic Insurance.
7. What training have you completed? 2005 Breastfeeding Peer Supporter Training’ 2006-2009 Midwifery Degree with Canterbury Christchurch University; 2021 Calmbirths Hypnobirthing training, 2021 Developing Doulas training; 2022 LYB Expansion Teacher training. I have committed to being a life long learner and have undertaken far too many courses and study days to mention them all. I am continuing this practice now I am no longer working as a midwife.
8. Which bits of the Role do you enjoy the most? Being a birthkeeper doula is an absolute delight. I have all of the joy of emotionally supporting women with none of the clinical responsibility. I love teaching hypnobirthing to my clients and seeing the pennies drop for both you and your birth partners.
9. What do you think makes you a good doula? I have a peaceful personality, I understand the need for quiet at a birth, I instinctively know when to do and when to just be.
10. Do you normally get on well with other Health Professionals? I used to be one! So I know that there are people that I like, people that don’t hold my physiological view of birth. People who will question why I would want to be a doula. I dislike conflict and so will advocate for you from a point of knowledge and knowing. By the time we enter the birth space – I will understand what you want from your birth, what is important to you and it’s then easy for me to advocate for that as necessary. Ideally everyone in your birth space is there to support you to birth in the best way possible for you.
11. Do you have children? I do! 3 – but luckily they are all self caring adults.
12. Can you Deliver my baby? I am no longer registered as a midwife and therefore I can not attend your birth in a midwife capacity. What that means for you is that I do not carry drugs or equipment to monitor your baby. I can not perform any clinical tasks. I come merely in a support role. I can not ‘deliver’ your baby. I don’t need to as you will be the one birthing your baby. I am unable to give clinical advice but instead will offer suggestions, information, research and signposting to enable you to make your own decisions about your care.
13. How long will you be on call for? What does that entail? How will I contact you? How much notice do I need to give you? I will go on-call for your birth at 38 weeks. I will check in with you as necessary and update you of my whereabouts if I am going to be away from home for any length of time. Ideally you will telephone me when you are in labour and are needing support. I generally need an hour’s notice overnight and a couple of hours during the daytime.
14. What will my partner’s role be? How will you work together? Your birth partner’s role is absolutely key to a successful birthing experience. I will work to support both of you in any way that you need. I am not around to replace them (unless that is what we have discussed previously) I am there to support them to support you.
15. How does it work? How often will we meet antenatally? Can you attend my appointments with me? How many postnatal visits? I offer 3 distinct packages of care, the details of which can be found HERE. Following an initial meeting, where we will get to know one another and sign the paperwork. I will either provide you with a Full 4 week Hypnobirthing course (or a 2-3 hour antenatal session) plus a birth planning session at around 37 weeks pregnant. Postnatally I will book in one or two visits. (Extra Postnatal visiting attracts a further fee of £25 per hour). Due to covid restrictions I am currently unable to attend appointment with you at the hospital of midwives clinic.
16. How far away do you live? Are you on-call for more than one client at a time? I am based in Medway, Kent and aim to book clients with a maximum of an hour’s travel time…. I try to only be on call for one client at a time, occasionally there may be a day or two overlap. (I recently had a client go to 44 weeks – nature sometimes has other ideas.)
17. What maternity units do you cover? I cover Medway Maternity; Maidstone BC and Pembury Hospital. East Kent – QEQM, Margate; William Harvey, Ashford; Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford. I am also happy to attend clients in Bexley and Sidcup.
18. How will you support me in labour? I will support you emotionally, and offer practical support and suggestions. I will mostly just be there with positive birthing energy as your labour unfolds.
19. What happens if you miss the birth? Is the birth part of the fee refundable? This really depends on why! If it is a failure on my part and I was unable to find a emergency back up, then yes the birth part of the fee will be refunded (or paid to the covering doula). I would still do the follow up visits.
20. What would happen if I fail to call or change my mind about having a doula present? In this circumstance, the full fee remains payable. This is time that could have been booked by other clients but has been reserved by yourselves.