As of July 2013, I am no longer offering typical birth doula services. What does this mean? First, let me begin with describing typical birth doula services, as I believe strongly in the benefit of having a birth doula accompany you on your journey into parenthood.
What is a Birth Doula?
Birth Doulas are trained in childbirth and provide continuous, non-medical physical and emotional support and assistance in gathering information for women and their partners during labor and birth. The doula offers help and advice on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement and positioning, and comforts the woman with touch, hot or cold packs, beverages, warm baths and showers, and other comforting gestures. They also assist the woman and her partner to become informed about the course of their labor and their options. Perhaps the most crucial role of the doula is providing continuous emotional reassurance and comfort for the entire labor.
Typically, the birth doula will meet with you two times prior to the birth to discuss your needs and to determine how to best support you. The doula will be on-call for you anywhere from 37 to 38 weeks gestation, 24-hours, 7-days a week, and will come to you for the birth when you choose. They will be with you continuously throughout the labor and birth, and will stay until baby and parents have been fed.
After the birth, the doula most likely will arrange for two post-natal visits, one for a check-in, the other (usually not longer than two weeks from the birth) to hear your birth story in your own words, ask for feedback, and receive final payment.
For additional information on the value of a birth doula, you can read DONA Internationals Position Paper: The Birth Doula's Contribution to Modern Maternity Care.
Where to find a Birth Doula?
If you have determined that hiring a birth doula during your pregnancy is best for you, I encourage you to find a doula that you connect with during the interview. (I also encourage you to interview at least three doulas.) Keep in mind this individual will be sharing in your birth, a sacred, intimate space...who do you and your partner BOTH believe will inspire you to go within and do whatever it is that needs to be done to give birth to not only your baby, but to yourselves as a parents?
PALS Doulas, the oldest birth doula organization, is the local membership and referral birth doula organization. You can find PALS Certified Doulas by going to www.palsdoulas.org, or calling 206.329.7257.
A locally created database of doulas, www.DoulaMatch.net, is a nationwide database of doulas in which you can base your search on your location and your specific needs. Note, however, that not all of the doulas on this site are certified.
You could also search DONA International's website for DONA Certified Birth Doulas in our area: www.dona.org
Quick note about certification; when doulas are certified, they are operating within the certifying organizations Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, and are subject to a Grievance Policy.
Fees and Insurance Reimbursement
Typical fees for birth doulas range widely, from $500 to $2,000 per birth. The higher range doulas usually have many years of experience and perhaps provide some other areas of expertise; massage therapist, photography, maybe three prenatal and post-natal visits, etc.
The bottom line, how a doula sets their fees is personal. I encourage you to keep in mind how many hours the doula will be spending with you prior to the birth, during the birth, and the few afters post-natally; the fact that they have membership, certification, and continuing education fees (if they are certified), and that they get called during family celebrations, school events, during movies, in the middle of the night, and don't leave town during your guess date; let's just say that birth doulas are pretty darned awesome and deserving of their fees!
Doulas are able to obtain a National Provider Identifier number that allows insurance companies to recognize us as providers of maternity care. You would receive an invoice from your doula with the appropriate codes, pay your doula, print out an insurance claim from your benefits website, complete your portion of the claim, attach the doulas invoice to the claim and mail it in to your insurance company. I had a client get reimbursed for 80% of my birth doula services! It's not a guarantee that you will be reimbursed, but it doesn't hurt to try. (Note: if your doula does NOT have this NPI number, have them call me and I will help them obtain one...really, I'm serious about this!)
If you are a participant in DSHS or in financial need, you could possibly qualify for a certified birth doula with Open Arms Perinatal Service. Open Arms is a fantastic organization that provides certified doulas to families who cannot afford one through grants and donations. 206.723.6868 or www.openarmsps.org.
Grateful Doula Birth Doula Services
So where am I on my birth doula services journey? As I begin on this page, I'm no longer offering typical birth doula services. As a certified postpartum doula, a postpartum doula trainer, a Birthing From Within Mentor and a certified childbirth and lactation educator, the business of being on-call is too difficult for me. So I will be offering the following birth doula services:
Last Minute Doula
Let's define "last-minute" doula; you are on your way to your place of birth (or you are waiting for the midwife to arrive at your home) and you wished you had hired a doula! Now, you can give me a call and see if I can suport you! However, please proceed with CAUTION! Please understand, for this to actually work, ALL of the stars and planets (seriously!) will need to be in alignment. So why offer this you ask? For that one time that the stars and planets do align, even if it is just one family that I serve - EVER - as a Last Minute Doula.
How it will work; looking at my postpartum doula availability calendar might be helpful:
You could just call or text me: 206.898.9793 to see if I'm available.
If I'm not showing availability on the date you are calling, then most likely I'm not available to attend your birth.
- If I'm showing availability the day you call, but not the next day, I'll most likely need to leave at a specific time to either teach or attend to a postpartum client.
- If I'm showing availability the day you call and the day after, there is still the possibility that I might be teaching that evening and would either not be able to come until AFTER I teach, or would need to leave at some time to go teach.
Should we determine that I am available and you indeed want me to attend your birth, I will require a $500.00 payment via PayPal before I leave my home. Think of this as my retainer fee. I will bill my postpartum doula rate of $35.00 per hour for every hour over 10 hours and not to exceed a total of $1,200.00. This will include three post-natal visits; one 30-60 minute visit the day after delivery; one 60-minute or less on day three or four after delivery, and the final at least 60-minute visit sometime during the second week after delivery. My final invoice to you will include all the appropriate numbers and codes for your submission to your insurance provider for potential reimbursement.
Again, if you know without a shadow of a doubt that you want a birth doula, please find one through the resources I provided above. I will repeat, the chances of me being available to be your last minute doula are small.
Birth Preparation counseling
Yes, Birth Preparation counseling with a little c. I am not a trained therapist or counselor (hence the little 'c'), however, I have facilitated a Birth Trauma Support Group, attended author Pam England's Birth Story Listening, and attended Penny Simkin's "When Survivors Gives Birth" workshop. Through these experiences and training, I believe that I have the ability to kindly and compassionately assist you in preparing for your upcoming birth. Depending on your needs, the session will take at least one hour but not longer than two hours. My fee for this support will be $50 per hour.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me: 206.898.9793; firstname.lastname@example.org, or via my contact page.
May you be surrounded by loving, compassionate and kind support as you enter into the LabOrinthTM of birth and claim your rite of passage!