It is of utmost importance that every woman has access to the support she wants and needs during her pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods. I am grateful to have the opportunity to spend much of my time and effort connecting women to the resources they need during these seasons, but sometimes there can still be formidable challenges in accessing these resources, such as prohibiting cost.
The cost associated with hiring a doula for labor support can be daunting. Unfortunately, our current climate in maternity care is not very accommodating to best practice or services that are considered "standard" in other parts of the world. Thankfully, there are some new ways that families can receive the support they desire and they will be covered here.
The first way to potentially relieve the financial burden of labor support is to call your insurance provider and ask if any doula coverage exists. Recently, insurance companies are taking notice of the financial benefits of doula care and beginning to provide coverage. Doula support can decrease interventions, lead to a quicker labor, improve newborn outcomes and potentially decrease hospital stay lengths and lead to fewer postpartum complications which all decrease associated maternity care costs that insurance companies are responsible for. Some of these coming changes in coverage include:
Creating a Registry
A company called Be Her Village™ allows you to create a registry and customize monetary donations needed for the provision of doula care, childbirth education, and even lactation support services. As with any other registry, the link can be shared with family and friends so that they can contribute not just to your material needs of your Amazon or BabyList registry, but also to the practical support that is so often lacking in this exciting but taxing season. You can create learn more and create a profile here. If you'd like to add my services to your registry, you can find them here.
Volunteer Doula Programs
Some hospitals and communities have a volunteer doula program that you may be able to utilize. Call the hospital where you plan to deliver to ask about their services. In Los Angeles County, these are some of the programs you may qualify for:If you plan to utilize such a program, be sure to ask what doula support through their organization looks like. Sometimes doulas work for "shifts" and then switch out, meaning you may have to transition to another doula during your labor process. Evaluate your comfort with this possibility before relying on this type of support.
Occasionally, a doula who is in the process of certifying will offer a reduced fee or no fee at all. Additionally, some doulas are able to offer a sliding scale to their clients. You can explore your options and the cost of doulas in your area here.
Your Birthing Facility's COVID Policy
Before completing the process of hiring a doula through any of the above means, please reach out to your birthing facility and ask what their current COVID policy is regarding visitors and doula support during labor, delivery, and postpartum. Some hospitals are restricting access for all doulas, while others may have certain requirements of the doulas who attend births in their facilities (needing certification through particular institutions or requiring vaccination). Be clear on what your birthing facility's expectations are so you know what to look for and ask during the interview of any doula you are considering.
If all else fails, please reach out to me. I would love to the opportunity to serve you and would do my best to advocate or find a solution for your particular situation. You can contact me here to set up an appointment.
Sending beautiful birth-y blessings your way,
Autumn Baker is a doula, childbirth educator, wife, and mother of three who seeks to elevate the quality of maternity care in Los Angeles, CA by connecting local families to the education, support, and resources available to them.