You’ve taken your training and completed your initial education as a doula.
You’ve established your business.
Now you have some paperwork to make before you’re ready to take clients. You’re wondering what all you need. Do you really need a contract? What do you talk about at the prenatal appointments? What kind of records do doulas keep about the birth?
Let’s talk about 10 pieces of paperwork you need to create before taking clients.
1: Pre-consultation questionnaire
This is a simple list of questions to ask anyone who inquires. Before you meet with people for a consultation, you want to make sure you are available for their due date and serve their area plus intended birth location. Come up with a list of screening questions. What do you want to know before you will consider someone as a client?
2: Consultation outline
Meeting a new family for a consultation feels a bit like a blind date. You wonder if you’ll click. You wonder if they’ll like you. You wonder what they’ll ask you. Have a flexible outline for what you want to go over in a consultation. Make sure they know what services you do and don’t offer. Make sure you know what support they are or are not looking for.
3: Your contract
Yes, you need a contract. Don’t take a client without one. Part of this agreement is the fees for your services.
4: A welcome packet or folder
This is optional, but it’s a nice touch. Put together a folder with your business card, a page about you, about your doula services, and a copy of your contract they can take home and look over.
5: Client intake forms
You’ll want some forms made up to write down the client’s information, birth history, information for this birth (due date, provider’s name, location of birth), plans for this birth, what kind of support they have, etc.
6: Outlines for the prenatal appointments
Have a general idea of what you want to go over at prenatal appointments. This will be adapted to the needs of each client.
7: Birth notes / records
You don’t need to keep a lot of records as a doula, but note the basics.
8: Postpartum follow-up
What do you plan to talk about at the postpartum visit? Make an outline for it. This can be really flexible.
9: Closure of services letter or card
You may want to have a letter to give at closure of services. This could be a generic letter you give to everyone. It could be a card that you write a personal note. Some doulas offer a little gift to the family.
10: Evaluation form for feedback
This is optional. It’s helpful though. You can ask for honest feedback. How would they rate your services? What was most helpful? Is there anything they recommend you improve on? How likely are they to recommend you to a friend? You may do a couple of questions on a scale of 1-5 (1 bad, 3 neutral, 5 is great) and let them fill in the circle. Then have a few short-answer questions.
Check out more resources for birth and breastfeeding professionals on the CBBP page.
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