I just interviewd an amazing doula- her fee is $850 and I dont know if we can swing that right now. How much have you heard is typical for a doula?
I am sure it varies by where you are located, but around here (Boston), that would be considered on the low end. Or perhaps, not even possible unless she was still in training. Those that have only attended a few births or are still training often reduce their normal rates substatially or work pro-bono. Good luck!
Do you live in NH? I thought I saw you post something recently about NH. I'm only asking because I live in NH. It could go by where you live and the cost of living. I was under the impression that doulas in NH were $300-500, but I'm not positive about that. The only doula I've interviewed charges a fee of $400 and I feel amazingly comfortable with her. We actually put out a call for a doula who may be willing to work for a reduced fee and this is the doula who responded. She basically told us that her normal fee is $400, to shoot her a number that we can afford to pay and we can work something out. Of course, we want to pay her as much of her fee as we can because we want her to be fairly compensated for the very important work that she does. I would normally never ask a doula to work for a reduced fee, but I really feel that I NEED a doula this time and I doubt I'll be able to pay 100% of the fee.
But if my doula's normal fee is $400, $850 sounds high to me IF you live in my area. But then it could depend on experience and exactly what the doula offers. My sister had a doula who gave her massages and even taught infant massage to her. Some doulas give more visits than others. My older sister's doula did a belly cast for her. I don't think my doula does those things, but she's willing to meet with me as often as I need, to advocate for me in the hospital and generally has a very calming, reassuring presence. It could be that her fee is lower because she's only been a doula for 2 years, but she's been doing the work of a doula for 30 years.
Also, have you gone to the DONA website? Good luck.
It varies so much from region to region---some very experienced doulas in our area charge upwards of $1200. However, there are almost always new doulas around who will attend a birth for free or a very reduced cost to get their certification births done, and many doulas also have sliding scale fees based on income, or will be happy to barter and trade for their services. It never hurts to ask!
FWIW, I am not in NH, but your description sounds just like my doula, for whom we paid $900. We also live in the north east, I'm assuming somewhat similar cost of living. I think $850 seems in line. Of course, you can certainly find doulas with much less experience for much less money.
Just so you know---you can choose tags for yourself when you build a website, like "Springfield area doula" or "homebirth friendly doula Montgomery." I think that 'nh doula' is a perfectly reasonable tag for a doula from New Hampshire, and it doesn't mean (necessarily) that she's a sketchy character.
ETA: As a doula myself, I would also encourage you to trust your gut. If you ever get a weird vibe from someone on the phone, certainly don't meet them in person! And I'm a big advocate of meeting in neutral places during the day (coffee shops, restaurants). . . . just safer when you're meeting people online.
Edited by jennyfah - 6/22/11 at 10:45am
My sister found her on the DONA website. I also hear that ALACE is good. They have a website, too. You can always ask a prospective doula for references.
I'm also in Southern NH.