Postpartum Doula FAQs

How do I find a postpartum doula?

The best way to find a doula through this website, simply follow the instructions on our Find A Doula page.

How much does a postpartum doula cost?

The average postpartum doula charges between $20 and $30 per hour. There are often additional charges for night hours, short shifts or multiple babies.

What does a postpartum doula do for this fee?

A postpartum doula mainly helps the parents learn to care for and integrate with their newborn. The teaching that a doula does usually builds the confidence of the parents, allowing them to care for their newborn independently, very quickly. Many postpartum doulas have experience with multiples, premature babies and “fussy” babies. If the family is settled and the postpartum doula still has time she may help with household tasks such as laundry, food prep, light cleaning and childcare to allow the parents time to rest and relax. A postpartum doula can also help with breastfeeding, community resources and informational support for family decisions. The main focus of postpartum doula care is helping the parents integrate the baby into the family.

Can I use a postpartum doula even if I have other home support (such as my husband/partner/ mother /sister /friend) or will she take over from my other support, and make them feel useless?

A postpartum doula should enhance the experience for all others attending to your family by providing a calm presence and allowing everyone to participate to the level of their comfort.

A postpartum doula should not take over at all. The postpartum doula is to provide support for your baby to integrate into your family and this includes all members of your support team. Many partners/family members feel the postpartum doula encouraged them to participate more than they would have with out a postpartum doula, as she could model for them baby care and handling techniques that could they may never have thought of on their own.

How many hours can a postpartum doula come in for? 

Most postpartum doulas work 4-8 hours per day. Some postpartum doulas may work different hours. Most doulas attempt to work around your families’ needs.

How long can a postpartum doula work with a family?

It is most usual to have a postpartum doula work in your home for a 4-8 hour shift a couple of days per week. The usual postpartum period is 6 weeks but a doula can come in at anytime, from helping in the hospital after a cesarean birth, with a premature infant or if the family needs support for any number of other reasons. The DONA position paper "The Postpartum Doulas Role in Maternity Care" refers to the fourth trimester (3 months) maybe a little beyond that for a preemie.  There have been postpartum doulas that have continued working with families for up to two years. Some families require a lot of support (premature babies or multiples) and there is sometimes a need to hire around the clock help. Around the clock care would involve multiple postpartum doulas and could be planned with a team. Some families require one short visit and they feel that they can do the rest on their own.

Are there such things as “student postpartum doulas”?

There are no “student” postpartum doulas. The doulas on our website have taken an approved Postpartum Doula Training and have done required reading, extra classes, created a community resources list, taken breastfeeding courses, child and infant CPR, Foodsafe® and other studies in preparation for this training. Once trained a doula may charge a fee for service. There is no requirement for “practicum” or “volunteer hours” for new doulas.

Do postpartum 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 email to the doulas and the doulas that can work on a sliding scale will be the ones to get back to you. If a doula reduces her fee it is out of her personal business income.

Can I get a volunteer postpartum doula?

Unfortunately, we do not currently have the ability to supply volunteer postpartum doulas for families who do not have the ability to pay. We have very few postpartum doulas and all of them are self-employed, most supporting themselves with this work. Some 3rd party payer insurance do cover postpartum doulas, please check with your extended benefits coordinator with your own circumstance to determine if this is a possibility. 

There are agencies that may have the ability to provide some very limited hours for specific situations and you (or your Social Worker) can call the DSA Referral Coordinator to discuss this.