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Interviewing A Doula Who Isn't Certified

I've read several "interviewing doulas" guides today and I noticed the 1st question invariably centers on certification. Well what of the uncertified doula?

Many questions will actually remain the same but there are a few things you'll want to ask a doula who hasn't certified with a doula organization. The 1st question is "Why?" There are several reasons a doula may choose not to certify.

It may be that the cost of certification is prohibitive. She may be planning to certify down the road when it is affordable for her. It may be that the doula in question hasn't found a certifying organization in line with her philosophy of birth work. Some doulas may not want to be limited to just doula work if they have other training say as an herbalist, lpn,etc. Or she may have been doula-ing for years already and sees no need to pay for a piece of paper.

Depending on her reasons for not certifying you'll want to ask other questions.

If certification is not financially feasible right now, is she passing the savings on to you? Is she completing the portions of the certification process (such as reading, observing, building her network) that don't require a financial commitment? Is she spending money on marketing, building a lending library or other learning opportunities?

What if she hasn't found the right organization to certify with yet? You'll want to find out what it is she likes or dislikes about the different organizations. What is her philosophy?

What if she objects to the scope of practice of a particular certifying agency? Find out what skill set she has and how she aquired the knowledge that she feels is outside the scope of practice. Ask what her personal scope of practice is and why she practices that way. Ask yourself if you want/need her skill set.

Suppose she has been a doula for years. Ask for references. If she's been around for that long she should have references not only from other clients but from other birthworkers.

I'm sure there are other good questions. I'd love to hear from you if you are uncertified or if you have interviewed or hired an uncertified doula.