What is a doula?
As a birth doula, I accompany women in labor to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I have completed training approved by DONA International and draw on my professional training, knowledge and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort, and, as needed, communication with the staff to make sure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions as they arrive in labor. I can provide reassurance and perspective to you and your partner, make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, massage, positioning, and other techniques for comfort. I am independent and self-employed. As your doula, I am working for YOU, not your caregiver, birth center or hospital.
I will meet with you and your partner at least once (preferably twice) before labor to become acquainted, to explore and discuss your priorities and any fears or concerns, to discuss your birth plan and to plan how we might work best together. I also want to know your preferred ways of coping with pain and fatigue and how you and your partner foresee working together. Keep in mind that YOU will determine how I can best serve you as your doula.
I will also inform you of times when I am unavailable for labor support. To cover those times, I will arrange one or more qualified back-up doulas whom you may also meet. We may also decide on other meetings and will certainly want to remain in touch by telephone and/or email.
When you are in labor
I prefer that you call me when you think you are in labor, even if you do not yet need me. I can answer questions and make suggestions over the phone. We will decide if I should come right then or wait for further change. I usually need approximately 60-90 minutes to get to you from the time you ask me to come, keeping in mind traffic hours. We will also decide where to meet - at your home, the hospital, or birth center. In the case of premature release of membranes with no contractions or induction of labor, we will follow your care provider’s orders and, unless you need me, I will wait for your contractions to being to join you. I will remain with you throughout labor and birth. In the situation that your labor goes beyond the regular limits of time or days, I might call a back up so I can eat and take a nap for a short time. This would not cost you extra.
I usually remain with you for one to two hours after birth, until you are comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together. I can also help with initial breastfeeding if necessary.
I am available to answer questions about the birth or your baby and would like to get together with you within one to two weeks for a postpartum visit. We can review the birth together, I can receive feedback from you about my role and provide you with additional resources you may need.
As a doula, I Do Not:
I am happy to provide support through this process as long as the hospital will allow it. If I am not allowed in the OR, I will support you before and then meet you in recovery, if allowed.
Failure of a doula to provide service
I will make every effort to provide the services described here. Sometimes this is impossible, for example, with a rapid labor. If my failure to attend your birth is due to my error, there will be no charge for my services and I will refund the retaining fee. If it is due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control or your failure to call me, I will keep the retaining fee, but there will be no further charges.
My fee for the services described here is to be paid as follows:
50% non-refundable retainer fee, due at the first prenatal visit. This fee covers the cost of prenatal visit(s), handouts, your doula’s on-call availability and declining other potential clients to avoid overbooking.
Balance is due by the second prenatal visit or no later than 3 weeks prior to your due date (37 weeks). If the fee is not paid in full, the doula is not obligated to be present at the birth.
These fees are non-refundable unless there is an extraordinary circumstance on my part that prevents my back-up or myself from attending the birth.
My Total Fee is $1200
I/We have read this letter describing the doula’s services and agree that is reflects the discussion we had with Jenniffer.