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Mothering › Groups › September 2012 Due Date Club › Discussions › Have you hired a doula? How much do doulas charge in your area?

Have you hired a doula? How much do doulas charge in your area?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Okay, so this is all starting to feel quite a bit more real, and I finally got my butt into gear today. I made a list of all of the doulas in my area that I could find online, narrowed it down to 10, and I'm going to start calling probably on Tuesday if everything looks good at my ultrasound on Monday.

I made a list of VBAC-friendly providers, too, but that list isn't nearly as extensive, and I actually figure I can maybe get some recs from the doula, or at LLL when I get just a little further along, or who knows, I might stay home or I might stick with my family practice doc. That part, I am not so sure about, but I do know I want a doula.

Last time around, my doula flaked out on me and didn't show up for the birth. People, I had a planned induction. This could not have come as some great surprise. We'd discussed her coming in with us at intake, then decided that we'd just give her a call when things got rolling or in the morning (went in at 9pm for cervical ripening), but that kick-started labor and she apparently didn't hear her phone ring when we called her cell twice and her home phone once. She came for a post-partum visit, and I gave her $50 for some help with breastfeeding (her fee was originally $500.) Anyway, I've dealt with it, but I do maybe have some residual confidence issues in the reliability of the profession.

I'm going to ask about availability, experience with VBACing moms, comfort at home and at the hospital, and rates, and then decide who to interview from there.

Is there anything else I should ask? Have you hired a doula? How did you decide? How much are they charging?
post #2 of 24
i had a doula for my vbac and she went out of her way for me. i was induced twice and she drove twice to the hospital, living about 1,5 hrs away and just had a baby herself. she kept me and dh calm during labor and was just so sweet about everything. i paid her 300 bucks and she was very well worth it. i have to get back in touch with her.i'd like to hire her again. oh, if it matters, we live in the houston area.
post #3 of 24

I had a doula last time and I plan on hiring the same doula again. She was the first person I interviewed and I clicked with her right away.

My labor was very fast and intense and I would have freaked out without her reassurance.

Crystal_buffaloe, that really sucks that your doula didn't even show up bigeyes.gif. My doula insisted that I had her husband's cell number too in case I couldn't get ahold of her.

post #4 of 24

I'm going to use someone who comes recommended to me -- I think that'll be the best way to make sure that they aren't flakes.  


My question -- when is a good time to start making contact with prospective doulas? I'm 8 weeks - is that too early?

post #5 of 24

So on the whole Doula thing-- I just phone interviewed a Doula and she was really nice and assertive---BUT-- she charges $1400!!! Does anyone thing that is a bit unreasonable? I am in southern california-- but still-- is that normal? Any opinions!?!

post #6 of 24

@Domermommy: I would contact her already. Some doulas only take so many pregnant women in a certain month and she'll wanna meet with you a few times before baby comes. I have contacted mine but haven't heard back from her yet. I saw she has 10 kids now...holy smokes.


@Kelantan: WOW...1400 is very high if you ask me. I mean, 500 would be my max UNLESS she helps out post partum with cooking, cleaning etc. Other than that, I would keep looking.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yeah, what kind of rockstar service is included in this $1,400?! I've seen a couple of websites with different price points for different levels of service (how many prenatal visits, if they go to any doctor/midwife appointments with you, how long they stay post-partum, being "on call" with questions, breastfeeding help, etc.) Maybe you could ask what it includes and then negotiate downward? Or could you bill your insurance for it and pay the difference? A friend of mine got insurance to cover most of her doula as "preventative care" since they've been shown to reduce the risk of surgical birth and a c-section for her would have been very risky.

I don't think 8w is too early smile.gif I'm just holding out until 8w2d to start making calls, although you also bring up a good point -- looking for recommendations would be good, but I don't think I know anyone IRL who's used a doula, and I kind of want to start interviewing before I'm ready to annouce to the world via facebook.
post #8 of 24

MissE - I'm also in the Houston area -- do you have any recs you wouldn't mind sharing? I already have two doulas in mind, but it'd be nice to have a couple of others to consider.  I promise not to steal yours, though ;)


I suppose I'll start sending emails out this week and see who responds :) And I certainly won't be interested in paying $1400... unless she's having the baby for me ;)

post #9 of 24

NO, don't steal mine LOL. I'm going with Kelli hardcastle. Like I said, she's had 10 kids, 9 of them at home. I loved her for being so quiet and attentive. She took all the pressure off my husband and just kept me calm when I went into transition (I wanted to freak out sooo bad). 


Also, I know Shannon Stellhorn is very good. She used to be in my playgroup, very nice, very calm. She's also training to become a midwife right now and works at (or has worked at, not sure) Rite of Passage in Pearland. 

post #10 of 24

Thanks! I keep seeing Shannon's name popping up in my searches, so I might have to contact her, too.  


By the way -- the listed fees I keep seeing in the Houston area average around $700.  DH is apparently okay with that (growing up in NYC has warped his sense of what's expensive and what's not lol).  

post #11 of 24

I've hired a doula (including links for those interested - all Houston area).  Her standard fee is $850, though as a former student I get a $100 discount.  She was at my last birth (though at the time she wasn't doing professional doula work).  DH has said about 300 times how happy he was that she was at that birth.  It made a huge difference to him.  We didn't consider the possibility of not hiring her this go round, nor did I consider seeking other doulas.  I'll also have a birth photographer (her blog is wonderful).  And I'm planning to hire another doula to encapsulate my placenta, though I haven't contacted her yet.  I should do that soon.

post #12 of 24

Flower of Bliss - thanks for sharing the links! I have a friend who used that birth photographer and her pictures are wonderful (as is the story on the blog!)  


I'm super excited about choosing a doula -- the two whom I've emailed so far have both responded and sound amazing.  I think it's going to be a really hard choice to make. 

post #13 of 24

I am actually a doula myself :-)


I won't be hiring one this time (although I had one with #1, and she was amazing), because DH and I work so well together. We're planning on a homebirth, with the midwife just checking in and watching DH catch, so I'm trying to limit who all is there. I want it to feel pretty private.


post #14 of 24

I hired a doula for my first birth and it was $800, but she didn't end up charging the full amount because my birth was so fast that she didn't make it in time!  I am having a home birth this time and do not plan on hiring a doula because I will have two midwives here.

post #15 of 24
Originally Posted by kelantan View Post

So on the whole Doula thing-- I just phone interviewed a Doula and she was really nice and assertive---BUT-- she charges $1400!!! Does anyone thing that is a bit unreasonable? I am in southern california-- but still-- is that normal? Any opinions!?!

woah! Mine is $700 and that's what I would consider on the high end for my area (Knoxville, TN).

post #16 of 24

Last time I paid $500, and that included 2 visits before the birth, one after, care during the birth (and I mentioned in another thread, but she comes with an emergency bag and can "catch" if necessary), she took the birth photos, etc.  She was stellar.  No postpartum care (there are separate doulas for that in this area).  

post #17 of 24

I hope to hire the doula I had for my last birth/first VBAC. She is a personal friend, a CPM, and has several different bodywork certifications. Her support was amazing--I required a lot of hands-on work due to a positioning issue that was causing crazy muscle spasms. Her level of knowledge was AWESOME and super helpful. Her fee was $700, and I am in a lower COL area. I don't know if I get a discount for repeat customers or not...  While she likely wouldn't *catch* if things go too fast, she has a partner (also a close friend) who she calls to come in who will. That friend also is my LMT and had a dream that I delivered this baby in the spa tub in my house, all the while yelling, "THIS IS NOT THE PLAN!!!"  Ha!


Oh, her fee includes 2 prenatal visits and 2 post-partum (I think?) . I got a lot more including a free 4-hands massage and a home visit to release my piriformis one Sunday afternoon since I was in horrible pain :)

post #18 of 24
We had a doula for our first birth and def plan to have her again. She was wonderful! She helped keep the environment calm and was right in tune with our wishes. I had a complete natural birth and we waited until the end of labor to go to the hospital. She joined us in our home when I felt things were getting more intense and we wanted her there. I live in NJ so average costs for a certified doula are $800-1500. Our doula charged us $900 with a $300 discount because we used a midwife. OBs tend to be more difficult when wanting an unmedicated birth.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
$500 for doula services plus photos sounds pretty sweet smile.gif I'm thinking I'm going to ask my sister to be in charge of pics.
post #20 of 24

I actually just posted my home birth story from our family blog and all the pictures are from my doula.  :-)


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