Having a baby can cost a lot of money. This is especially true if you use traditional facilities such as a hospital and OBGYN. In this case the average cost can range from $5,000 to $10,000 dollars depending on your situation. However, if you are willing to try non-traditional methods such as giving birth at home, using a doula you could save a lot of money on your birthing experience. In most cases using a doula provides many benefits including a reduction in the number of cesarean births, epidural requests, and medication use. The average cost of a doula is at least 75% less than traditional delivery options.
What Does a Doula Do?
Doulas help women through pregnancy, birth and postpartum by providing advice on nutrition, exercise, birthing position, emotional support, massage, and feeding advice. Many of these services are not even offered in the traditional birthing setting. According to the book Mothering a Mother the following benefits are typically experienced when using a doula.
- Reduction of cesarean births by 50%
- Fewer epidural requests by 60%
- Reduction in the use of forceps by 40%
- Reduction in labor time by 25%
Do I Need a Doula?
If you are wondering, “should I get a doula?” there are many things to consider. Have you ever given birth before? Do you feel that you may need extra support or encouragement during the birthing process? A doula can help you to experience a much easier birth. Single mothers often find that having a doula will provide an excellent support person for the labor and delivery process. When hiring a doula you need to ensure that your personalities match and that you get along with the doula. After all, the reason for having a doula is to gain extra support. If you fee that the relationship isn’t working out don’t be afraid to speak up and hire someone else.
Average Cost of a Doula
The average doula cost will vary depending on where you live and the doula that you choose. In some areas you can find several doula price rates that are reasonable while in other areas it is almost impossible to find anyone who offers a reasonable rate.
However, in most cases you should expect to pay from $200 to $1,000. This amount usually covers the entire cost of care including prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. However, in some cases you will pay an additional doula cost for postpartum care. In larger cities you can expect to pay more than in smaller cities. However, the amount of care you receive compared to the cost of doula services is very reasonable. Many women feel that they really get a bargain even when they are paying the maximum price. However, if you cannot afford to pay the full doula cost up front most doulas will negotiate prices and even offer payment plans to help you afford the services. Consider that giving birth is a very important time in your life. Keep in mind how much you spend on vacations or outings for your family and consider that you should be willing to spend at least that amount on the birth of your child.
Postpartum Doula Cost
Postpartum doula prices range from $15 to $50 dollars per hour. This will vary from area to area and by whether or not the doula is new or a seasoned professional. During the postpartum period a doula will help the mother and father transition and adjust to caring for a baby. This may include help with basic baby care, help with feeding the baby, and overnight support for fussy babies.
In most cases you will need to pay for the cost of doula fees out of your own pocket as many insurance companies shy away from anything that is not traditional medicine. However, there are a few insurance providers who will pay for the doula fees if you are having a home birth and saving money on the cost of delivery. However, the company may require that you have both a midwife and a doula present at the time of birth. Consult your insurance company and don’t be afraid to ask to speak with a supervisor to obtain coverage. You have a right to appeal any decision your insurance company makes. You can even pay for the cost of doula fees up front and then negotiate with your insurance company to receive reimbursement for your expenses. You may even be able to use funds from your flexible spending account to pay for the cost of a doula. Speak with your HR specialist to find out your options.
Questions to Ask a Doula
When hiring you doula, don’t be afraid to ask about the doula cost schedule. After all, the cost of doula services can be a major part of the decision process. However, you should also ask if the doula is certified, how many visits you can expect, if she has references, and how many times she has assisted with the birthing process. You should also ask for specific details about the types of services you will receive before and during labor. Also ask whether the doula provides postpartum support and if so how long is support provided.
As you can see, hiring a doula can save you a great deal of money if you plan on having a natural birth at home. However, doulas can even help you enjoy natural birth in a hospital setting. In this case, you can save money by not using medications for induction or pain. Remember that in a hospital setting you will pay more based on the length of your labor, the number of medications and physicians required, and the specialists who have to assist with delivery. Hiring a doula can reduce your risk of complications and reduce the need for medications. In addition most doulas provide support after the deliver of your child. You will not find many doctors who provide this type of support.