1) How much does it cost to hire a doula?
Each doula sets her own fee based on her experience level, services provided to clients and whether she works with a partner or back-up doula. Most new doulas, while working towards their certification, will work on a volunteer or donation basis.
Birth doulas in Santa Barbara County charge $400 - $1200
Postpartum doulas charge an hourly fee of $15-$35 per hour.
2) What services does a birth doula offer?
Once hired, you will have 1-2 meetings with your doula(s) so that you can go over what your ideas, wishes and wants are for your birth. Here you and your partner will get to know your doula and vice versa.
The following is a list of services most birth doulas offer:
• Available by phone or email for questions
• On call 24/7 for labor and birth starting at 36 weeks
• Helps with writing a birth plan
• Provides books, videos and other resources and educational materials
Resources for other birth and postpartum services like chiropractors, lactation consultants, etc.
• Continuous labor and birth support at home and in the hospital
• Stays with you in the hospital 1-2 hours after the birth to aid in transition to the postpartum room
• Breastfeeding support or helps with connecting you to needed lactation support
• Phone support in days immediately following birth
• 1-2 postpartum follow-up visits to check on transition into home
3) How do I find a doula?
To find a doula go to our website lists of birth doulas and postpartum doulas. Here you can browse through each doula's bio and contact info page. (Please note that the doulas listed with a ** by their name are not currently taking clients)
The next step in finding a doula for your birth/postpartum needs is to contact as many doulas as you wish and find out which of them are available around the time you are due. Then you can set up a free consultation/ interview with those doulas that are available. (We recommend meeting with as many doulas as you wish in order to find the doula that best matches your needs).
4) How do I interview a birth doula?
Doulas are happy to speak with you and your partner so that you can all figure out if this is a good match. All doulas offer a free initial telephone interview and/or consultation visit. This is when you can determine availability and whether you both want to take the next steps.
Here are some guidelines/questions for interviewing a prospective doula:
• How long have you been a doula?
Remember that emotional connection is one of the key components of working with a doula. Pay attention to your perceptions and intuition. It is a good idea to meet with any prospective doula in person along with your partner, family members or friends supporting you at your birth. You may want to interview more than one doula, but you may like the first one you meet and not have to look further.
• Tell me about your experience with birth, both personally and as a doula.
• What is your philosophy about labor and birth?
• Do you work with a back-up doula? If so, can we meet her and at what point?
• Do you have references I can contact?
• What training have you had? Are you a certified doula?
• What are your fees? Do you issue a contract?
• Will you come to my home while I am in labor?
• How many visits (prenatal and postpartum) do you offer?
• What postpartum services do you offer?
• What are the closest due dates of your other clients?
• How long would it take you to get to me, from your home or place of work?
• Where have you worked in our area?
• How is your relationship with the doctors and the hospital staff?
• How would you handle conflicts with family members or medical providers?
• What is your philosophy about pain relief?
• Will you attend any prenatal appointments with me/us?
• How will you help support our birth plan?
5) What is a postpartum doula, and should I consider hiring one?
There are doulas that specialize in helping families after the baby is born, easing the burdens of daily life so you can concentrate on your baby.
Postpartum doulas don't have medical degrees but rather are trained or experienced in providing care during the first days or weeks after childbirth. They'll do all sorts of things to help ease your transition to new parenthood — from caring for you and your baby and offering breastfeeding advice to cooking, babysitting, running errands, and even doing light housework.
Maybe you don't have relatives who are able to pitch in after you have your baby. Or maybe you'd simply prefer to use a doula's services instead of, or in addition to a relative's help. Either way — if you can afford to hire someone — you'll find the help of a good doula invaluable. Even if your mate is eager to take over household duties while you recover, letting someone else do some of the work allows the two of you precious time with your baby and with each other.
6) What are some questions for prospective postpartum doulas?
• What training or experience have you had?
• What is your fee and what services does it cover? (Be sure to find out exactly • What she will and won't do. For example, if you're expecting her to cook or help with an older child, make sure that's included.)
• What happens if I give birth earlier (or later) than expected? Is your schedule flexible, and if not, can you refer me to another doula if need be?
• Can you provide references from other families you've worked for? (And be sure to check those references!)
Keep in mind your personal response to a prospective doula during the interview:
• Does she seem kind, warm, and energetic?
• Does she seem knowledgeable?
• Does she communicate well?
• Is she a good listener?
• Would you feel comfortable having her in your home?