I believe that every family deserves to have a doula support them during birth and postpartum. However, for many, the cost of hiring a doula can be a barrier. Here are some ways to make doula care affordable regardless of your budget.
The Value and Cost of Doula Support
In short, the benefits of doula support are backed by a large body of research. Doula support results in a 39% decreased risk of cesarean and a 15% increase in spontaneous vaginal birth. Support from a doula is also associated with shorter labor, higher satisfaction with the birth experience, and better outcomes for the baby. To learn more about what a doula is and whether or not doula care is right for you, check out this blog post where I review that in detail.
On average doulas cost between $800 to $2,500 per birth. The cost varies by location, and the experience of the doula, and that is included in their support packages (how many prenatal visits, postpartum visits, etc.). While many might be taken aback by this price point it is important to consider the nature of doula care.
Not only will a doula offer support for you through prenatal visits, education, and informational support during pregnancy but they are also committing to be on call for you for an entire month. Most doulas will be on call for your birth two weeks before and two weeks after your estimated due date. That means in many ways they have put their life on hold in order to support you.
Many of us shell out tens of thousands of dollars for our wedding day but somehow it gives people pause to spend money on doula support. The birth of your child is a once-in-a-lifetime moment that will change your life. It is well worth investing in a doula so that you are as supported as possible during this transformational time.
Tips on How to Pay for Doula Support
1. ADD DOULA SUPPORT TO YOUR REGISTRY
A baby registry is a great place to add doula support. While we all have a tendency to add a bunch of cute baby outfits to our registry, yes, they are so dang cute! Remember that people will get you baby clothes regardless of whether you put them on your registry. Asking them to contribute towards a doula fund is a great alternative and will add up quickly.
2. ASK YOUR DOULA FOR A PAYMENT PLAN
Many doulas offer payment plans so you can break up the cost over time. If you are hoping to ask for a payment plan it is ideal to find a doula early in your pregnancy, so you have plenty of time to make payments.
3. GET REIMBURSED FROM YOUR MEDICAL INSURANCE
While insurance does not cover doula services outright, more and more insurance companies are offering their members reimbursement for doula services. Be sure to reach out to your insurance company to ask if they offer reimbursement for doula services and what information they require. It will be important to keep itemized receipts from your doula with their tax information, NPI information (national provider index number) if they are accredited, and give them to your insurance. Your insurance may reimburse you up to 50-75% of your doula fees!
4. ASK YOUR EMPLOYER IF THEY COVER DOULA SUPPORT
Many companies are offering full coverage or credit to their employees for doula services. Some large companies that have announced this benefit include Target, CVS, Microsoft, and Walmart. Ask your employer if they have benefits that support doula services.
If your employer does not have a benefit specific to doula care you can also explore getting reimbursed from your HSA or FSA. To do so, pay your doula support fee in full and receive an invoice stating the service and cost of the service. You will need to fill out a Letter of Medical Necessity which you can get directly from your HSA.
5. APPLY TO GET DOULA SUPPORT THROUGH A PROGRAM
Love Delivered is a program funded by the Mama Glow Foundation in partnership with Carol's Daughter. This program is designed to support BIPOC individuals and families to get access to birth or postpartum doula care. As of November 2022, the program is available if you are located in Atlanta, New York (Metro Area), Washington D.C., Miami, or Los Angeles. You can learn more about the program and apply HERE. If you are in the Atlanta area and are interested in this program I am more than happy to talk to you about the process.
Doula care is so beneficial that Medicaid has started a partnership with Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies to provide doula support at no cost. As of November 2022, the Doula Medicaid Reimbursement Pilot is only available in Georgia. You can learn more and apply HERE.
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Meet the Author
Clara O'Rourke (she hers),
Holistic Doula & Childbirth Educator.
I am a researcher turned total birth nerd with a passion for supporting people birth in their full power! I guide people through their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum journey by helping them overcome fear or anxiety about birth, providing evidence-based information so they can make informed decisions, and making sure they have everything they need to birth with confidence. Birth is sacred and it should be treated that way. I am committed to providing support for birth and beyond, regardless of a person's background, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or relationship status. También ofrezco mis servicios en español. I wish you and your growing family the brightest of beginnings!