Economics of A Doula's Fee
There are many components of a doula’s fees. Below is a synopsis of considerations of payment.
Scheduling - When we contract with you for birth, we limit other parents for that period to avoid conflicts and be reasonably rested when you need me. At times, we may turn away potential parents to be available for you, as there is a large commitment made in time both before, during, and after birth. During that time we provide you with a way to contact me 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. We will not usually take trips or weekends away during that time and do not intentionally schedule any activity such as a workshop or seminar, that we can't afford to miss, unless we discuss it with you previously. Any good doula respects this commitment. For these reasons a doula who is able to attend 2-3 births each month would be very lucky indeed. When we utilize a "backup doula" to stand by for us, we often compensate her for her time and availability.
Hours - Couples having a first baby may imagine that a doula will only be spending a few hours with them during the labor and birth. In reality, an eight-hour birth for most Moms would be considered quick. The "average" first time mom's labor is between 12 and 19 hours (though births that I attend tend to be shorter). There are about another 10 hours spent in hosting and traveling to prenatal and postpartum meetings, and at least another hour or two in phone calls. All of this is in addition to being on call for you full time at the end of your pregnancy and for calls following birth. Additional time is spent finalizing your birth wishes letter and documenting your birth , in addition to documentation and other administrative tasks that doulas need to complete to maintain organization.
Expenses - Independent doulas must consider their expenses just as you do. Bookkeeping and tax preparation, advertising, childcare (for an all hours on-call provider), pager service, cell phone service, office supplies, travel expenses, membership fees, self-employment taxes, a small number of labor support tools, reading and subscriptions, and continuing education.
No one becomes wealthy doing labor support work. Most independent doulas in this area charge anywhere from $300 to up to $1,500 in the city. The fee charged usually reflects the economy of the area as well as the doula's experience and certification status. If you feel you cannot afford our fee, please let Kelley know. Although we have been told that our fees are quite reasonable for this area, we always do our best to accommodate those in need of special payment arrangements.