What To Ask A Doula? – Interview With Samantha

All prices and information as at 27th December 2019 – please check the services page for up to date pricing.

Adapted From – Questions To Ask A Potential Doula – on the Doula UK website

When making initial telephone or email contact

Q. Are you available around my due date / when I need support (for postnatal doulas)? 

A. This is something that you will need to ask at the time as availability changes quickly.

Q. How much do you charge, and what is included? Is there a deposit to pay?

A. My current prices can be found HERE on my website. I take a 25% deposit, 50% by week 20 and the remainder by 37 weeks. I also take payment plans and occasional skill swaps.

During a face to face interview

Q. How long have you been a doula?

A. I trained as a Doula in March 2014, although I have been supporting women for many, many years ante-natally and post-natally, long before I knew what a doula was. I am a recognised Doula UK birth and post natal doula and a Doula Mentor.

Q. How many families have you been a doula for?

A. At the time of writing this I have been a birth doula for around 40 families and a post natal doula for many more, I also co-admin a number of groups and my experience in supporting women far outweighs the number of births I have been to, in one way or another I have supported thousands of women. 

Q. Do you have a backup? If yes, who is your backup, and can I meet her? Under what circumstances would you send your back-up?

A. I do work with back up, sometimes in case of emergencies, sometimes planned, I am always upfront about this and whether I would need planned back is something we would discuss on initial enquiry, I work mainly with Jenny from Mama Bird Doula and also with a number of other Doula UK doulas in the Welsh Doula Network. In the case of planned back up you would be able to speak with/skype back up and possibly meet, but this maybe more difficult in the case of emergency. 

I only use back up where it has been discussed prior to booking or in the case of genuine emergency and have never missed a birth.

Q. Are you insured?

A. Yes with BGI Insurance.

Q. Can you provide references?

A. Yes, I can provide references and there are a lot of testimonials on my Facebook page, Google and my website, in my previous role for South Wales Police I was MI5 cleared with high level security clearance and I hold a current DBS certificate.

Q. What training, courses or additional learning have you done?

A. I am constantly learning and updating my skills, I am trained in aromatherapy, supporting loss, acupressure, Rewind (although I am not offering this at the moment), Childbirth In Survivors of Abuse, post natal work following trauma and a host of other things that can be found in the Ongoing Doula Journey of my website.  I learn the most from my clients. I also have a lot of experience of twin birth and post natal support.

I regularly attend conferences and have spoken about birth rights at Internation Womens Day events.

Q. What part of your job do you enjoy most?

ALL OF IT. I love being a doula with all of my soul – it is the most fulfilling work I have ever done, other than birthing and raising my own family.

Q. What is your philosophy of childbirth, parenting and your work as a doula?

A. “Your body, your baby(ies), your birth, your parenting”. In other words I support you – no matter what, if that is birthing your baby hanging upside down like a fruit bat from a tree and feeding green alien goo, or a planned caesarean birth in a hospital and breastmilk, for me there is no best way to birth, other than one in which the mother and family are supported to have a kind, compassionate, empowered birth in which they feel listened to and respected.

I follow a child led approach to parenting, I call it positive parenting, where we do our best but acknowledge that we all have our not so great days, my 2 younger children are in school and my middle child is home educated.

Q. What skills and abilities do you personally feel you bring to your doula role?

A. Passion, calmness, non judgement and an enormous network of contacts as well as vast experience. This is nothing I will not do to support my clients. I have experience of supporting all types of birth, loss, premature babies, twins, single parents, IVF pregnancies and some experience of surrogacy. I am also a pretty good photographer.

I have supported births at 24, 28, 32, 36, 37, 38 39, 40, 41, 42 and 43 weeks.

Q. How do you handle conflicts with family members or medical professionals?

So far I have never experienced conflict with a family member, with medical professionals it is not my role to speak for my families so as far as possible, I avoid conflict by supporting my clients to speak for themselves, when there has been a need for me to speak out, inappropriate behaviour is already happening – to quote a client “I felt like you were the only person there for me”.

Q. Do you have children? If yes, how is your childcare organised?

A. I have 4 children, ranging from adult to infant school aged, my husband can work from home, my mother comes to stay and I have a vast network of friends to rely on – childcare is not an issue for me.

Q. What books do you recommend to new parents?

A. I have an extensive book/CD/DVD library on every birth and baby related topic under the sun, including gentle/attachment parenting books and feminist empowerment books. I base which books to lend based on the questions my clients are asking and what books I feel will suit their requirements.

Q. How do you feel about breastfeeding and what is your experience of supporting it? What if I have a breastfeeding/bottle-feeding problem? What can you do to help me?

A. I am passionate about informed feeding choices and a huge advocate of breast feeding, although I have also had formula feeding clients. I am a trained peer supporter and a breast feeding mother with 10 years experience, including triandem feeding and feeding through 2 pregnancies and have a network of breast feeding support contacts throughout South Wales. If I am unable to help you I am able to signpost to an expert who can.

When interviewing a birth doula.

Q. What is your availability? For how long before and after my due date will you be on call? What are the closest due dates of your other clients? How long will you stay with me before and after the birth? How long does it take you to get to me?

A. Availability is flexible and needs to be check when you enquire, I generally go on call for 2 weeks before your due date and for 2 weeks after. I take one main birth client a month and a second with backup. 

I have had clients who have booked me weeks 39-42 and also clients who have paid to add an extra week for peace of mind although I will come to pregnancies that go passed 42 weeks if I possibly can or send back up (I have never missed one yet).

I also provide an SOS Doula service, if I am free, for last minute booking clients and women whose plans have changed in the last moments, up to an including during birth.

How long it takes to get to you – depends on how far away you are and is something we would discuss in person.

Q. What is my partner’s role during labour? Will you support my partner and if so how?

A. A partners role is absolutely key, I am there to support both you and your birth partner(s) in anyway you need, to be a quiet presence, to have a hands on role, to make sure they eat and drink and have a positive experience. I have been hired in the past mainly to support birth partners and to support them to support the birthing woman.

Q. What are your feelings about midwives?

A. I have many midwife friends and have attended some wonderful births, there is nothing better than when everyone is pulling together during the birth. 

Q. How many antenatal visits do you provide? How many postnatal visits? Will you attend an antenatal appointment with us?

A. I offer a variety of packages, my standard package is for 2 ante natal visits, birth and a post natal visit. I offer extra visits, appointment attendance, post natal packages as extras which can be seen on my services pages. I also run home birth and positive birth meet ups which mean you would get the chance to spend time with me outside of your booked package if you wished.

Q. Can we telephone/email you before and after the birth with questions/concerns we have? Meaning – how often may we contact you during the contract period?

A. You can telephone me, contact me, message me, email me as much as you like while I am your Doula, before and after birth. Many of my clients keep in touch through various groups on an ongoing basis.

Q. What hospitals/midwives have you worked with in the local area?

A. I have worked in all 4 of the local Trusts as I live centrally to them all as well as Southmead in Bristol, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cwm Taf University Health Board, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

Q. Can you help us draw up our Birth Plan/Birth Preferences?

A. Yes, I have a variety of tools to help you do this – I usually suggest we talk through your options and then you draw it up and send it over as it is your plan/preferences.

Q. What is your role in early labour?

A. Whatever you want it to be – this is something we can discuss together and settle on a plan you are happy with.

Q. What happens if you miss the birth? Is any part of the fee refundable and would you still do the follow-up visits after the birth?

A. This would depend on the whys – if it was my fault and I was unable to provide an emergency back up then obviously a refund would be payable and of course I would still do follow up visits.

Q. What happens if we fail to call you in time for the birth?

A. In this case the full fee would be payable as I would probably have turned away other clients to book out that date.

Q. What happens if we decide nearer the birth that we no longer require a doula?

A. The fee would still be payable as I would probably have turned down other clients to book out those dates, if a new client was to slot in then only the deposit and any additional payment for time over this spent on your birth and plans to date would be payable.

When interviewing a postnatal doula.

Q. How many hours a day are you available, and do you have a minimum number of hours? Do you do nights (is the hourly rate different)?

A. Availability would need to be discussed in person – my minimum number of hours is 3. I do work nights and the hourly rate is the same.

Q. Do we have to pay your travel costs in addition to the hourly rate?

I generally charge mileage at 40p per mile.

Q. What happens if, for personal reasons, you are unable to be our postnatal doula after the birth and your back-up is also unavailable? Will our deposit be fully refunded?

A. To date this has never happened, if it did then any deposit payable would be fully refunded.

Q. What happens if we decide nearer to, or after, the birth that we no longer require a postnatal doula? What monies will be due to you?

A. That would depend on what we had agreed, the reasons for no longer requiring a post natal doula. Generally speaking only deposits would be due.

Q. What is your availability? Have you other commitments around the dates that I may need you? For example, could you stay a few extra hours at the last minute (emergency, or mother is unwell)?

A. Availability is variable and would need to be discussed at the time – generally speaking I am extremely flexible and can work whatever hours are needed, the only exception being that as I work as a birth doula, there has to be an understanding I may have to leave/cancel at very short notice.

Q. Do you have a valid driving licence?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know first aid?

A. As I have been a parent for 22 years I have a good knowledge of first aid, however I am currently also sourcing a paediatric first aid update course.

Q. Can we telephone/email you before the birth with postnatal questions/concerns we have been thinking about?

A. You can telephone/email/contact method of choice me any questions you may have – that is all part of my post natal service.

Q. How do you view housework/cooking? What are you prepared to do?

A. I am prepared to do pretty much anything you need – (except ironing, I hate ironing), I am willing to do light housework, prepare snacks and easy meals, I am not a cleaner, but I am happy to put the machine on, wipe over the bathroom/kitchen, put clothes away, run to the Post Office, help with other children, its my view that my role is to do whatever it takes to support you in the post natal period. I also do “intelligent tea drinking”, provide a listening ear, signpost and provide emotional support as well as practical support.

Positive Birth, Cardiff.

Sam’s support and advice covered both ‘natural’ birth and planned c section as options, emphasising that both can be positive, and even healing.

Bethan Collins

Midwife Led Unit, Neville Hall

Thank you Sam for your support on both my children, you were wonderful 🙂

Lauren Edwards

Sam – a mentor just right for me.

She is warm hearted without being sentimental, practical and real.

PJ McGivern

Beautiful Home Birth After Previous Trauma

Samantha provided me with all the information I needed to make informed decisions during my pregnancy and empowered me to be confident with making my voice heard.

Natasha Bold

Stages of Birth Workshop

Just wanted to thank Samantha for the stages of birth workshop on Friday 🙂 It was a lovely laid back atmosphere but I learnt so much in such a short space of time. Really helped me understand what will be happening with my body and answered some anxieties I had. Highly recommend and will definitely Read more “Stages of Birth Workshop”

Sinead pollard

Home Birth, Newport.

She was massively helpful and at the birth it was fantastic to have a calm presence to hold my hand, provide assistance and general be a fantastic pillar of support amongst the bedlam.

First Time Mum, Natural Homebirth, South Wales

I could feel her joy during the whole process and this made labour feel as celebratory as the moment my baby was born.

anya szura

Simple Birth Pool Hire.

Luckily it (the birth pool) was easy to put up and take down afterwards and came with everything I needed. Would use again!


Amazing Online Support

I recommend you to everyone – mother, grandmother, aunt who is going through what should be a beautiful event but so often becomes difficult. Even straight forward births are frightening the first time.

Teri Browett

Vaginal Birth After Caesarean, Caerphilly, South Wales

Samantha Gadsden, I now have the birth plan in place I wanted but did not have the confidence or knowledge to fight for on my own. Thank you so much xxxx

Rachel Elizabeth

Vaginal Birth After Caesarean, Caerphilly, South Wales

Sam gave me the support and courage to write a birth plan that would help me get the birth I wanted.

Fran Thomson

Sam is simply wonderful

Sam is simply wonderful and a must for all pregnant women! We hired Sam to be our doula for our planned home birth which didn’t end up happening – we had a planned c section due to a breech baby. Even though she couldn’t be at the birth she still supported us throughout pregnancy, birth Read more “Sam is simply wonderful”

Caitlin Cresswell

Creating Your Positive Birth Day, Cardiff, South Wales.

Love Samantha. Love her work. Highly recommended for all pregnant mammas!

Amy Burrage

Birth Affirmations.

The pack of 40 birth affirmations from Sam are more than amazing! My partner even recites the affirmations to me, we love them they are so positive and uplifting.

Tayler Jade

Vaginal Birth After Caesarean, Merthyr Tydfil.

I can honestly say that since meeting Sam and the lovely women at the Positive Birth Meeting, I have been much more in control of my anxiety and have enjoyed the pregnancy more.

Lisa Barry

Preparing for Pregnancy and Online Post Natal Support, Penarth

Such a knowledgeable and lovely lady, has provided me with invaluable knowledge, confidence and belief. Wonderful!

Fauvette Lillie

Belly Cast and “Picking Sams Birthy Brains” – Cardiff, South Wales

Belly Cast

At the end of the session I felt like I’d made the right decisions during my pregnancy and it gave me confidence for my birth plans.
Sam’s confidence and relaxed, down to earth approach reaffirmed my belief that I can do this and I have done everything I can to ensure I have my positive birth.

Hannah Maggie

Post Natal Support, Bridgend

All I can say is thank you!

Tania Leanne Trebble

Post Natal, Twin Support, Bridgend, South Wales

I don’t think we would have survived the early days and weeks with twins without her. She was a really good fit for our family and was really easy to have around at a time when we were vulnerable.

Bethan and Peter Cole

Sam’s Wonderful Facebook groups

I am in Sam’s wonderful Facebook groups and I am so thankful I came across them.

I have gained so much from being in them and I feel like it is my little haven to come into, even just to have a read through of birth stories etc.


42 weeks plus homebirth, Rhondda, South Wales.

During labour and the 3rd stage I unfortunately had midwives who weren’t au fait with homebirth or physiological third stage and Sam was there, championing my rights and supporting my partner through some of the tougher parts. I love that she so fully respected my choices and demanded everyone else present to as well.

Kate B

Beacon of Light

I simply cannot speak highly enough of Sam, I can not recommend her enough, and I certainly cannot ever express my gratitude and love for this woman and all she does – not just for me but all pregnant women and their families.

Kirsty Monk

Belly Casting and Birth Chat – Aberdare, South Wales

Never had a belly cast done before, and was so glad I did. I would wholeheartedly recommend Samantha, a warm, friendly, non judgemental lady, who listens and is there for you. Well worth all the services she provides and more.

Bethan O Sullian

Post Natal Support, Wenvoe, Near Cardiff, South Wales

That evening, in bed, feeling calmer, I felt the milk come in. As I was able to sleep more soundly, knowing that Sam was watching the baby.


The Doulas Doula – Freebirth, Pontypridd South Wales

Sam was actually my doula and you can’t really get a recommendation than that! …… She is amazing.

Ellie Horrigan

Creating Your Positive Birth Workshop/VBAC

Samantha has an approachable and easy way; which is relaxing, comfortable and grounding. Her in-depth and up-to-date knowledge is very reassuring.

Lynn Gazal

Homebirth, hospital birth, freebirth

Sam has been a massive support to me and so many others in this absolutely insane time to be having babies. She has pulled together so much incredible information for women to make their own informed decisions around birth and is constantly empowering people to be able to advocate for themselves.


Caesarean Under General Anesthetic Post Miscarriage.

Sam is an honest, caring lady. She is very passionate about her love of life and birth.

Rhian Gregory

Vaginal Birth After Caerarean Turned Elective Caesarean, Caerphilly, South Wales

I really felt that Sam was a safe pair of hands for all of us and she helped make the pregnancy, birth and the initial time with the newborn more comfortable and relaxed

Marc Issacs

Home Birth, Cardiff, South Wales

Sam has a knack for being able to recognise the needs of the mother and unobtrusively meet those needs.

Kristina Young, Cardiff

Mother Blessing, Cardiff, South Wales

Sam facilitated my Mother Blessing and it was an amazing day. I had a lot of ideas and Sam took the time to listen and talk though them all with me and help me create a really magical day.

RR Cardiff

Planned Hypnobirth Caesarean, Neville Hall Hospital, Abergavenny

planned hypnobirth caersarean, attending theatre

I don’t think it is possible for me to put into words just how amazing it was to have Sam with me for my for my planned, hypnobirthing caesarean section. She was so calming and reassuring when I was incredibly anxious and stressed, especially going into such a highly medicalised situation.

Her support, both emotionally and practically, was simply amazing before, during, and after the caesarean birth and I instantly missed her when she had left us for the final time. I just can’t imagine going through the caesarean without her. Just her being with me and her presence alone was so calming, and even when I was in great discomfort post caesarean, just her being with me was a huge comfort. She was so tender and attentive to my new son and myself. It meant so much to me.


Freebirth, Pontypridd, South Wales

There was nothing Sam would not do to help, she was an amazing support to us, a great photographer and like an old friend as we all sat in front of the fire after Honor’s birth, sharing tea and softly chatting until the sun came up.

Zoe K

Waterbirth, Freebirth, Pontyclun, South Wales

Samantha was like a guardian angel – constantly there but rarely seen. Her presence was very reassuring, a calm, wise presence at the periphery of the action.

Pollyana and Alistair Leaver

Perfect Birth Pool Hire.

We hired a birthing pool through Samantha. My pregnancy was longer than expected and I contacted the company to explain I couldn’t return the pool in the time frame we had agreed. This was not a problem at all and I had the pool for an extra week free of charge. The quality was excellent and it was so easy – I would definitely recommend.

Natasha Bold

Birth Trauma, Reframing, Cardiff, South Wales.

Sam is non judgemental, open, honest, passionate, very well educated in all things pregnancy, childbirth & beyond and I would highly recommend her to anyone having any worries, doubts, anxiety or stress about giving birth.

Amy Burrage, Cardiff.

Homebirth After Miscarriage, Neath, Abertawe Bro Morganwwyg University Health Board

I can’t thank Sam enough for answering questions and giving support and just providing a listening ear.

Kirsty Smart

Consultant Led Birth (In The Snow) – Royal Gwent Hospital

I couldn’t have gotten through the birth of my second child without Sam. She came out during terrible weather in the snow, when I needed her most, pitching up on my sofa overnight not really knowing if he were to arrive that night but just in case

Lauren Edwards

Sam has a clear passion for all things birth.

I am so grateful to her for inviting me to her various groups and meet-ups, and in particular, for allowing me the use of her birth pool.


Amazing Women Centred Support

As a mentee it instantly felt right, she is laid back, grounded and knowledgable and I’m so excited to walk the beginnings of my Doula journey beside her.

Phyllida Warmington

My Daughter’s Caesarean Birth, Cardiff South Wales.

I can’t thank you enough Sam. …… she was able to have some control in a very clinical environment.


Brilliant Birth Affirmations

I bought some birth affirmation cards via pdf and they are brilliant.

No silly phrases that annoy me like some other affirmations. Really great wording.

Sarah Potter

Home Birth, Caerphilly, South Wales.

Her work as a doula goes beyond what you expect with her constant care and consideration for your personal circumstances.

Emma Burns

Solo Parent Birth and Post Natal Support

It felt as though I had my mother there and that was really important.


I always knew I wanted Sam to be my mentor.

I knew before I did my Doula training I would ask Sam if she would be my mentor when I completed my course.

Kate Thompson

Why hire a Doula UK Doula?

All of our members are bound by the Doula UK Code of Conduct and adhere to our Philosophy.

We have a ‘Recognition process’ for doulas in the UK, whereby they attain a certain level of experience as a doula in order to achieve a recognised status by Doula UK.

After a new doula has completed her course work with one of Doula UK’s recognised courses, she then works with a personal Doula Mentor through a process that involves reflection and supplying documentation to support her experiences as a doula over a period of not less than six months and preferably not more than two years.

This then leads to a formal assessment interview with the Doula Mentor before the doula herself is recognised.

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Samantha Gadsden walks with women on their life’s journeys. She is an experienced Doula, based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and her website, Caerphilly Doula.

If you are interested in writing a guest blog or sharing a life or birth story please feel free to contact her HERE.

“Your Journey, Your Body, Your Baby, Your Birth"

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