Birth Doula FAQs
How do I find a Doula?
Using our website, you can browse a list of doulas in your area who are available for your due date. All doulas on our referral lists have met specific requirements. Please see Standards of Practice.
Follow the instructions on our Find A Doula page to search available, qualified doulas now.
How much does a Doula cost?
Doulas charge anywhere from $400 and $1500 for a birth package. The average doula charges between $600 and $1000 for an entire birth contract.
What does a Doula do for their fee?
A full “doula Package” for a birth is usually two prenatal visits at your home, your labour and delivery from when they are invited until baby is born and family is settled and a postpartum visit. At the prenatal visits the doula will go over your birth plan, assess for any gaps in your prenatal knowledge and answer your questions to the best of her ability.
When labour begins, call the doula and she will offer information and attend to your emotional and physical comfort needs in your home and/or the hospital through your entire labour and delivery. The doula, due to her prior training and experience may also be able to help you decide when it is a good time to go to the hospital or call your health care provider.
The doula also provides support to your other birth support people through the labour and delivery. During the labour and delivery the doula will remain with you as much as you require. She will help with comfort measures and can encourage communication with the health care team.
Once your baby is born the doula usually allows the parents to bond with their new baby and then remains for 1-3 hours postpartum to assist with initial breastfeeding (if you are planning on breastfeeding). When your baby is about 1 week old, the doula comes to your home to make sure feeding is going well, talk about your birth experience and ensure that you are aware of community resources that may be helpful.
Once hired, a doula is usually available by phone and/or e-mail for any questions and support up to two weeks postpartum. A doula should ensure adequate back up in the rare case she can not attend.
Can I use a Doula even if I have other labour support (such as my husband/partner/ mother /sister /friend) or would she take over and make them feel useless?
A doula should enhance the experience for all others attending your birth by providing a calm presence and allow everyone to participate to the level of their comfort. The doula is to provide support for your desired birth and this includes all members of your support team. Many partners feel the doula encouraged them to participate more than they would have without a doula, as she could show them comfort measures that could work at the various stages of labour that they would never have known otherwise.
Can I hire a Doula for only the birth, not the pre and postnatal items for less money?
This is not usual and does limit the type of support a doula can provide. If you have special circumstances you can negotiate with the individual doula(s).
Will my Doula be my advocate?
A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. A doula does not speak on a client's behalf. They are there to comfort and support the mother and to encourage and enhance communication between the mother/birthing couple and medical professionals. She provides informational and emotional support while respecting a woman's decisions.
Can a Doula help if I am having a planned Cesarean Birth?
Yes. A doula can be helpful even for a planned Cesarean. They can help with informational, physical and emotional support. The doula can attend the surgical part of the delivery if there is no other support person present. Some hospitals allow both the doula and the partner in for the surgery. Other hospitals may allow the doula to sit with the mom in recovery while the partner/dad/ other support person stays with the baby. The doula can also help with initiating breastfeeding, which may be more challenging after a cesarean birth.
Are there student Doulas?
The term student doula is not a term that doulas use. Our doulas are all trained and have met certain requirements and are ready to provide support to labouring families. DSA doulas have all taken DONA approved doula training and do reading, extra classes and study in preparation for this training. All of the doulas on our referral lists have attended a certain number of births and written birth stories about these births which we assess for compliance with our Code of Ethics and Scope of Practice. Once trained, a doula may charge a fee for service. There is no requirement for “practicum” or “volunteer hours” for new doulas.
Do Doulas charge a “sliding scale” for low-income clients?
Some doulas do. All doulas are self-employed and they set their own fees and have their own contracts. If you have limited financial resources, mention this in your initial contact with the doula and those who can work on a sliding scale will be the ones to get back to you. Currently there is no government or community funding for doulas (except at the South Community Birth Program). If a doula reduces her fee, the cost comes out of her personal business income.
Can I get a volunteer Doula?
People who have do not have the ability to pay for a doula may qualify for a volunteer birth doula. These doulas are actually working for free as there is currently no funding for volunteer doulas. The requirements for a woman/family to have volunteer doula are:
- Low income (Single moms, Disability Income, Ministry Income, both parents students, new immigrants, etc.). We do not require proof of a low income and we do appreciate a family`s need for support even if they do not have the ability to pay!
- A referral from a Health Care Provider, Community Worker or similar professional
- A desire to have a doula attend the birth
- A commitment to call the doula for the birth or to cancel the services as soon as you know they will not be required
Please call our Referral Coordinator if you require assistance or more information on volunteer doulas.