Doulas are self-employed and set their own rates, so it is important to enquire with doulas individually about their services, packages and fees. Recognised doulas in the UK charge somewhere between £450 to £1200 plus travel expenses for a birth package, while new doulas who are working toward recognition will generally charge a lower fee – check with mentored doulas to establish their experience levels in relation to their fee.
I offer a sliding scale which is an ‘honour system’ based on your determination of what you can afford. I am happy to work anywhere within this range and no matter what you agree to pay, I will always commit to you fully and completely and give you my absolute best. All I ask is that you pay what you can afford within this range, with an awareness of what goes into my commitment to you.
To help you decide what you feel is a fair amount, I will give a little more detail about what goes in to my fee in terms of time, expenses and commitment to you.
Just as many other doulas, I offer the loan of additional resources such as books from an extensive and up to date library, free loan of relaxation programs such as Hypnobirthing or VBAC Natal Hypnotherapy with associated MP3 tracks, homeopathy, birth balls and pools and also extra services for clients. I also invest a great deal of time and money in my personal development. I regularly attend conferences, courses and workshops to ensure my knowledge is both wide ranging and current. My birth package also includes a private breastfeeding antenatal session with a UK reknown and highly respected independent breastfeeding support service.
When I take on a birth client, I commit to staying with you throughout labour, from the time I am called and asked to join you, which can sometimes be well before the hospital or midwife would consider you to be in ‘active labour’. This can mean that depending on the length of your labour, I commit to staying with you whether your labour lasts for 6 hours or 36 or more. I also commit to staying with you wherever your birth takes you – at home or hospital, through shift changes and the comings and goings of midwives and doctors. I stay with you after the birth, until you feel settled, whether you need me for an hour or two or more. The shortest time I’ve spent with clients at a birth is about 7 hours, and the longest time I’ve spent continuously at a birth is 38 hours. The average time I spend with clients at a birth is 12-16 hours.
Before and after the birth, I normally spend about 5-10 hours with clients during our sessions. Clients also have unlimited access to email and telephone support and I can attend antenatal appointments if this if required.
On top of the obvious costs of running and fuelling my car, travel time to visit you at your home ranges on average from 30 minutes to 2 hours round trip per visit from my home in Brighouse – with an average of five visits in the time we work together. This is an additional 2.5 to 10 hours (plus fuel etc) sometimes more depending on distance. When supporting hospital births I will also have parking charges to pay.
I do not drink socially when on call and can not travel too far away from clients for a day trip with my family as I am always mindful that I may be needed by a client at short notice. I ensure I have childcare available at all hours of day and night in case I am called out. My family are also committed to my work in that they accept I may need to leave them or be unavailable to them at a moment’s notice – regardless of what is happening with them, even for important family occasions like birthdays or Christmas celebrations.
I limit the number of clients I take on both in order to avoid potential conflicts and to ensure I am ready to give of myself completely when you go into labour. I commit myself to be on call for you from 38 weeks until your baby is born – up to 42 weeks or beyond if that is what is needed. I make myself available to you at all times, day and night and will arrange back up when required.
My earnings are modest at best but being a doula is so much more than a job. It’s a vocation and a true labour of love.