I get it. I really do. While hiring a doula is incredibly beneficial, it's still a luxury. Unfortunately, not many insurance companies in the US cover the expense of a doula. (If you have a FSA, HSA, or HRA, you may be able to get reimbursed after you've paid for your doula services. You can read more about that here.) So, if you understand the benefit and want to tap into all that a doula offers but are already on a tight budget, how are you to afford one?
How much does a doula cost?
Before we start talking about how to afford one, let's establish how much a doula typically costs. To do this, you're going to have to do a little research to determine how much a doula charges in your area as it varies greatly. Generally, if your cost of living is higher, the cost of a doula in your area will also be higher and vise versa.
Also, when comparing prices, take into account that, just like in any profession, you can expect to pay more for a person with more experience and/or training than someone who has less. A doula just starting out may have a reduce rate while they are certifying whereas the doula who has been in business for ten years and has five additional certifications is going to charge more, and rightfully so.
One great place to scope out the cost range in your area is on Doula Match. Simply enter your due date and zip code to find doulas and other birth professionals in your area. You'll be able to see their general prices listed and be able to contact them directly from the Doula Match website.
Five Ways to Pay for a Doula
Now that you've established the general range of what a doula in your area will cost you, you can start thinking about how to pay for their services. Below are five ideas on how you can make hiring a doula affordable.
Combine several of these ideas to or come up with some of your own. While I fully believe a doula is a valuable asset to your birth team, I also believe with a little extra effort hiring a doula should not break the bank.
While the above ideas will make hiring a doula much more affordable for many, I fully recognize that some may still be unable to afford a doula. This need has been seen by several in the doula community and there are some non-profit or even for-profit doulas who offer sliding scale fees or free services. If you think you may qualify for these services, I encourage you to search for and reach out to those available in your area.
One such non-profit in my own backyard who offers doula services to adolescent mothers on a sliding scale fee is Hope's Embrace based out of Lexington, KY. Please check out their website for more information on whether or not you would qualify and/or to donate so they can continue to offer their amazing services to those who would otherwise not be able to afford it.
I'm the owner of Sage Roots. Woman, wife, mother, doula, writer, bookworm, hiker, gamer, and Christian.