Do you and your partner want a doula for the birth of your baby, but think you won’t be able to afford her services? Don’t worry! Your perfect doula is out there; you just need to know how and where to find her!
- Consider a new doula (sometimes called a “doula in training”).
New doulas often offer their services for a lesser fee than more experienced doulas in the area. Yes, you will be working with someone who may or may not have attended other births, but any legitimate doula training program offers participants hands-on experience with non-medical comfort techniques, demonstrates positions for labor and birth, and provides in-depth information about the physiology of labor and birth. Remember, the personal connection you feel with your doula is paramount, so you may find that the number of births she has (or hasn’t) attended is not your top concern. *Please see below for a list of ways to find low-fee doulas in your area.
- Ask any doulas you speak with if they, or anyone they know, accept pro-bono clients.
(You may be asked to provide proof that you cannot afford to pay any or part of her fee.)
- Check to see if your heath insurance provider will reimburse you for the cost of hiring a doula.
This isn’t common in the United States, but it’s worth looking into. You might be surprised! Most doulas can give you paperwork to aid in your request for reimbursement from your insurance provider.
- Check to see if your hospital offers an in-house doula program.
- Ask a trusted complimentary health-care provider (ie. massage therapist, acupuncturist, reiki practitioner, yoga instructor, etc.) whom you see regularly, to support you during labor and birth.
- Consider taking out a personal loan.
Okay, you might be thinking, “What?!?! She’s crazy! Why would I ever take out a loan for the birth of my baby? Having a baby is expensive enough!” You’re right; having a baby in today’s economic climate can be expensive. But think about it: plenty of people justify the time and money they spend planning a wedding by saying they want it to be the best day of their lives. Why shouldn’t the birth of your baby be just as wonderful? If you think a doula would help your birth be the best it can be, perhaps taking out a personal loan will be the right choice for your family. It certainly isn’t right for everyone, but it’s worth considering.
- Finally, if you really can’t afford a doula, but feel strongly that you want the loving support of a non-family member for your labor and birth, consider asking a trusted friend.
Remember, this friend must be willing and able to be there when you need her, stay as long as you need her, and be comfortable with the sights, sounds, smells, and potential stresses of labor and birth. If you think your friend has what it takes, I can guarantee she’ll be more than honored (and most likely, over the moon) that you ask for her support on such an important day! Who knows, perhaps you’ll inspire a future doula?
*How to find a low-fee doula:
- Look for a “Find a Doula” (or similar) section on one of the many doula-training organization websites. I trained with toLabor, and you can find their provider directory here. Google “doula traning” for a comprehensive list of training organizations.
- Contact a local doula or midwife in your area and ask her if she knows of any low-fee doulas accepting clients.
- In many areas, doulas run location-specific online groups as a means to share information with the birthworker community at large. Ask a doula with access to one of these groups to post your request for a low-fee doula and I guarantee you’ll get plenty of responses!
- Contact your local Planned Parenthood or community health center to see if they have a list of low-fee care providers for their patients.
- Visit www.doulamatch.net to view profiles of doulas in your area. Doulas offering low-fee services often mention this in their profile.