How to afford a Doula in 5 easy steps

You've heard about them. You want one at your birth.  You've found a Doula you like, now how do you afford her fee? 

 First let me start by saying childbirth education and doula support are an investment in your birth. You don't get a do-over for the birth of your baby. It is worth every penny to prepare for what will likely be the most transformative day of your life. Below I will give you some tips to afford a Doula's fee. 

Skip some of the baby gear & gadgets! We spend so much money on gadgets and gear for babies and a lot of times they don't get used. Luxurious swaddle blankets to find out baby hates being swaddled, adorable outfits they will probably outgrow before wearing, fancy swings to find out baby doesn't like being in a get the idea. So the first place to start is to ask the people around you what products they actually ended up using when their babies came home. You will be surprised to find the list is shorter than you think.  

Enlist the help of family and friends! Another way to find money for a doulas fee is to ask for donations to your doula fund in lieu of baby shower gifts. Keep your registry to the necessities and ask your friends and family for moula for your doula. You can even set up a jar at the baby shower. 

Do some Spring Cleaning! Do you have clothes hanging in your closet that you don't wear? Chances are your style preference is going to change once baby arrives. There is a reason yoga pants are called the "mom uniform" comfort over style usually wins. Go through your closet now and consign some of your clothing to put into your doula fund. I am not suggesting giving up all of your pre-baby clothes but if you didn't wear it before baby, you probably won't wear it after baby.  

Give up your guilty pleasure! Do the baristas start writing  your name at Starbucks without asking? Do you snuggle up on the couch with Ben & Jerry every night? Do you go out to eat every day? I am in no way suggesting giving up your guilty pleasure for 9 months, just a few times less than you normally indulge adds up. Take that money and put it in the doula fund. Nutrition is important during pregnancy so if your guilty pleasure involves added calories, this has a double benefit.   

Discuss a payment plan with the doula!  Chances are she connected with you and wants to see you have the birth you desire. Most doulas will work with you on a payment plan. It never hurts to ask.  

 And there you have it- 5 steps to afford a Doula. Most women I speak with regret not hiring a doula. I haven't met many that do regret taking a Childbirth class or hiring a Doula. Your birth and having a satisfying experience is worth the money. 

If you plan early in the pregnancy, saving across 30 weeks is not as daunting as coming up with the full fee at one time.

What's the deal with birth plans?

plan NOUN 

noun: plan · plural noun: plans 

  • a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something: 


Birth plans have been getting a bad rap. Why?  There are some doctors who say a woman who shows up to labor and delivery with a birth plan will definitely end up with a c section.  There are women who are met with opposition by nurses and doctors at the mere mention of a birth plan.  They may even be met with a flippant attitude from their own family and friends.  Why are birth plans creating so much strife?

We make many plans in life and it is usually with the understanding that things don't always go 100% according to plan.  We still make plans to give us an idea of where we are going and how we want to get there. Doctors themselves mapped out a plan on how to become a doctor.  The plan may have taken some twists and turns but I doubt they set out to become a doctor without some sort of plan in place. Nearly everything we do in life starts out as a plan. 

What is so wrong with making a birth plan? In my opinion, nothing.  A birth plan isa list of things the couple would either like to avoid during labor or things they would like to have happen at the birth.  Most expectant parents make a birth plan with the understanding that things can change and they will revisit their options if something changes.  They have researched the process of labor and have put down their wishes.  This gives them comfort and eases some anxiety of the unknown. We should encourage this preparation, not brush it off!

I offer assistance with the writing of a birth plan as part of my labor doula services.  During this process, I encourage couples to think of the "what ifs" and have a back up plan in mind in the event things don't go according to plan.  Instead of meeting birth plans with negativity we should respect that the parents have thought enough to prepare for childbirth.  In our culture, it has become expected for women to show up for childbirth and do what they are told.  A lot of people are not satisfied with this status quo and want to have a say in the birth of their child and be respected and included in the process.  If you are being met with opposition for talking about  a birth plan, take a good look on why that person is so vehemently against it.  If it is a provider, it may be that they are not fully supportive of you having a choice in your birth.  If it is friends and family, they may not understand there are options other than just "going with the flow". 

I don't encourage my clients to hide their birth plans or to call them something else, a birth plan is just that, a plan. We all know things don't always go according to plan but it doesn't stop us from making plans.  Birth isn't any different. Make a plan and then make a plan for that plan.  Then find people who support you and you trust to help you navigate the options in the event things don't go according to plan.