View Full Version : Anyone here use a Doula?
I'm afraid I've not posted on this board before, but thought this would be a good place to pose my question.
I'm expecting #2 in May and considering using a doula. My first experience with labor and delivery wasn't very pleasant. I used a midwife, and although the midwifery group was fabulous, I was totally unprepared for the pain that would accompany a 9 lb baby. I did deliver drug free and would like very much to have a 2nd drug free labor and delivery, but am thinking hiring a doula might be helpful.
I've already spoken over the phone with two doulas, and they seemed to be from opposite ends of the spectrum. One doula includes several face-to-face vists pre and post labor for a flat fee of $600. This price was a bit shocking.
The second doula charges hourly ($25) with a $400 max. She does not schedule any pre-labor visits, other than visits I might request to answer questions. Other than that, we call her when I feel her need and she helps me through labor. Although this is really all I'm looking for, I guess I was expecting to somehow be better "prepared" for labor before showing up in the delivery room. Am I misguided in thinking I can "prepare" for labor, or rather labor pain?
In my first labor and delivery, the midwife did a great job of helping the labor progress -- it was just my inability to manage the pain that I'd like to better handle of this 2nd time around. For those who've used a doula, will this be what I'll receive? In my conversations with both doula's, they both seemed to focus on labor expectations, so maybe I'm living a pipe dream in thinking I'll be able to manage the pain better, in which case maybe I should just hold onto my money and hope for a speedy delivery this 2nd time around.
I'm not sure if this explains my question, but I'm just looking for advice from those of you who've used a doula before and what your experience was-- especially if you've had an "unassisted" labor previously.
Edited to add that I'm using the same midwifery group this time as I did last time. Again, I have no complaints about the midwife, I just want to feel more in control of my body this 2nd time around.
12-02-2002, 12:58 PM
I have never heard of a doula charging hourly. Mine was with me for over 24 hours for my labor and delivery and some time after. We had three before birth meetings (two is her standard) and she baked us an apple pie and came over for a long visit a few weeks later. She also visited me twice in the hospital (Sean had to stay two days because of meconium inhalation and aspiration and questionable lab results which may have been an infection.)
Everything is very expensive where I live and the cheapest doula is $400. She had less births under her belt and charged less but used her doula experience as a way to get more massage clients (she is a trained pregnancy massage therapist). I ended up going to a couple massages with her eventhough I didn't use her as my doula. The one I hired charged $550, which is still low for this area. She only takes one client a month and had about 24 births when I hired her. I was her first vbac (or attempted vbac)! She and I really hit it off personality wise. I described in my journal that the one I liked and I knew my whole family would get along with her. The one I hired felt like she WAS family! The going rate for the big professional doula group in my area is $800 for a birth. That includes 2 prenatal visits, 1 post-natal and a written birth story. My doula technically included that, but since I wrote a long one of my own she just helped me with facts and proofed it.
My doula had a huge lending library. I borrowed all kinds of books from her and she was available by email whenever I wanted to chat. I sent her regular updates and she also read my journal and would email me. We literally shared hundreds of emails during my pregnancy. I had contacted her VERY early on. It became a running joke! When I found out I was pregnant (obviously before I miscarried) again she was one of the first I told and I of course asked if she was available in late May/early June. ;)
There are some doulas who don't really get to know their clients, but I loved that I developed a relationship with mine. I wouldn't have it any other way!
12-02-2002, 01:56 PM
I have worked as a doula for three clients so far. I did not charge a fee because I was looking for experience. I offered at least one to two visits prenatally to talk about expectations for labour, and to develop a "game plan" of what mom, dad and I would do during labour to make it easier and more effective for the labouring mom. We talked about what to expect, and decided what kinds of techniques we would use. I also lent them a birth ball, and gave them information on particular topics pertinent to their individual concerns and situations.
Then I attended their labours and births (with no breaks, and stayed from start to finish) and visited them post-natally to talk about what happened, how they felt and to offer any support needed for breastfeeding and/or newborn care. They were also always free to call me if they had a question or a problem at any time.
The doula I have hired for myself has been a doula for 10 years, has attended over 400 births and charges a flat fee of $600. We had one visit prenatally, where we spent two hours talking about what we wanted, what to expect, etc. She lent me a birth ball to use (which I have the option of purchasing after the birth if I want to keep it) and we have phone contact once a week, now that my due date is approaching. She will be there for my labour and birth, for physical and emotional support, from start to finish. She also takes photographs if we wish. Then we will have a postpartum visit about a week after the birth. She offers postpartum support for an hourly rate, if needed.
If you are feeling like you need support for coping with pain during labour, a doula is an ideal option. For me, the price is not an issue, because not only am I getting the trained support I need, but DH has support, and we are also asking this woman to take time away from her own family for an undetermined period of time, not to mention she will be on call to us for weeks until labour begins.
I would talk to the doulas again and be up front about what you are looking for (for pain management, etc.) and see what their responses are. You need to feel comfortable with whomever you hire, because this person will be with you and is supposed to help you when you may be feeling your most vulnerable.
Sorry for my extra-long response, but I hope that helps! You can email me if you have any other questions if you like.
12-02-2002, 09:44 PM
My doula delivered my baby.. lol.. and ended up not charging me.
I am a duola now, and haven't charged anoyone yet.
I have never heard of hourly charging, but it could work to your favor...
I knew my doula very well, and that helped me to cope better.. i could not have been comfortable with someon i had just met...
12-03-2002, 05:41 AM
I'm sorry you had a horrible birth experience with your first child. I totally understand why you want things to be better this time. I had a very bad labor/delivery (in the hospital) with my daughter, and next time I'm having a home waterbirth. :) I hope you get the birth of your dreams with your second child!
I am also a doula who is just starting out. I am currently doing labor support free of charge, and still do at least 1 (preferably 2+) prenatal meetings (and at least one after the baby is born). This is to make out a birth plan, talk about the woman's choice of pain management and help her decide what calms her best, and talk about what would happen if she needed a c-section or if the baby was very sick (or stillborn).
I honestly don't think I would be comfortable enough in labor with the second doula, who doesn't want any prenatal meetings. I think the first doula's way of doing the prenatal meetings seems much better. With so many prenatal meetings you will get to know her so much more, and be more comfortable with her.
Actually I think both are expensive (my normal fee is $250, though I'm free for a limited time :p ). I know many doulas in Louisville, KY (average sized city) who are very experienced and knowledgable and only charge $3-500. That price includes at least one prenatal visit and at least one post-partum visit. Maybe doulas are not as common where you are from though, or maybe you are from a lot larger city. If you want a doula for free or a low price, contact DONA for doulas in your area that are not yet certified. Many will charge nothing or only for expenses (such as gasoline, food for the day, etc). They will probably be less experienced, but will be very eager to help.
I think a good doula is worth any amount you can afford, so do not let the price influence your decision. It would be a lot better to spend an extra $100 or $200 than to regret your choice of doulas! Good luck in your search.
12-03-2002, 06:42 AM
I used a doula and she was also my hypnobirthing instructor. She charged $600 and would be there as long as needed. I got a 50% discount b/c I allowed her to bring one of her "doula's in training" so I paid her $150 upfront and $150 after the birth.
I was in labor at home for 30 hours and had I wanted her with me, she'd have been but I was managing ok with dh. I then checked into the hospital for 18 hours more labor (Pitocen) and was able to forgoe any pain meds b/c my doula helped me manage my pain thru hypnosis.
I like the idea of a doula b/c they will work with you so that you have the birth that you want. If you tell the doula that you want an epidural, she'll be around to make sure you get it in time. A doula is there to support you and to make sure your wishes are granted as much as possible.
Honestly, I'd never consider giving birth without a doula.
12-03-2002, 10:03 AM
My last doula was my Hypnobirthing instructor, too. If you want pain management, run and find a hypnotherapist! Wonderful stuff (and did a 9 lb 6 oz baby with pitocin and no meds and NO PAIN).
Anyway, she was $250 if we just called her and just hoped she could come (that is, if she didn't arrange her schedule around my labor timing), or $400 if she did have to forgo other earning opportunities due to my labor timing. We did the former, and she showed, and made a huge difference.
I'd go for the one I trusted. The numbers in the research suggest that pain management is helped simply by someone being there for you, with you. Doulas reduce the need for meds by their presence (even if they aren't helping out in physical ways!). So you should get some help from that alone. I'd still rather have met with the woman first, so I knew there was a 'click' fit between her and me.
12-03-2002, 11:05 AM
I would say keep calling! I definitely recommend a doula. Those prices are amazing! Ouch!
12-03-2002, 11:36 AM
My doula has since delivered babies over 10 lbs naturally and and drug free and an 11 lber, with no pain meds and minimal tearing.
12-05-2002, 10:08 PM
have you been to the dona website?
i would check them out for referrals..
we used a doula. her cost was $400. we had several visits prior to the birth, she went to a prenatal visit, assisted in our birth plan and attend the labor and delivery. we also had 2 visits with her after the birth
she was worth every penny...
we interviewed several doulas and when we met judith we knew she was the one. i really recommend chcking out the dona site..they even have ???'s to ask a potential doula...
12-06-2002, 11:24 AM
You may also try checking out www.doulaworld.com
12-08-2002, 12:25 PM
I am going to use one this time, she charges 300 and that is for 3 visits before, the labor and birth and a few hours after plus 2 post partum visits, I am excited about the whole thing.
12-09-2002, 05:47 PM
I am planning on using one this time. She has mentioned that she wants to meet with us a few times to get to know us better. I plan on using her after birth to help me with the girl's childcare since Dh will be working alot this time around and can't get off.
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