How Much Will a Doula Cost?
The cost of a doula will depend on where you live, how much experience the doula has, and what services you want to purchase. Some doulas offer more than just labor or postpartum support. Some will photograph or video tape your birth, for example, among other goodies and bonuses.
The average cost of a labor doula is about $400, but the fees range anywhere from $250 up to $1,000, depending again on training, the services offered, experience, and where in the country you live. (This was according to the research I did in 2003. With inflation, the average rates may be higher now.)
And trust me... a doula is worthy every penny she costs. Remember that for the two weeks before your due date and after, she must be available for your call at any moment. Then, when you go into labor, she's there to support you 100%, whether you labor for 5 hours or 48 hours.
Honestly? I think doulas are underpaid for the services they give. It's my hope that more insurance companies will pay for doula support.
The average cost for a postpartum or antepartum doula is anywhere from $13 to $35 per hour, also depending on experience, training, where you live, and the services she offers.
But I Can't Afford This. Can I Still Have a Doula?
Yes, you can. Some doulas-in-training offer doula support for an extremely low cost, or even for free!
Another option for free doula support are hospital doula programs. Not every hospital offers doula services, and not every program is the same, but it's an option to consider.
It's also important to know that if you can not afford a doula's full rate, she may offer a sliding scale fee or payment plan. Just ask, you have nothing to lose.
I include lots of information on choosing a doula, the services doulas offer, hiring a doula, and finding free support, if that's what you need, in my book, The Doula Advantage. Be sure to check it out if you are even thinking of hiring a doula.