Sample Doula Contract

This is my contract… other doulas’ contracts may differ from this in several details.

 

 

Letter of Agreement Describing Labor Support Services, Limits, and Fees

 

What is my role as a doula? I accompany women in labor to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I draw on my knowledge and experience to provide physical, emotional, and informational support to women and partners. I am independent and self-employed. As your doula, I am working for you, not for your caregiver or the hospital.

 

Choosing a Doula. It is very important that you and your partner are comfortable with me and with my role in the birth. Thus, I do expect to meet with clients at least once before labor to become acquainted, to explore and discuss your priorities and any fears or concerns, and to plan how we might best work together. If at this meeting, you or your partner decide that our interaction doesn’t feel “quite right” to you, I encourage you to say so, and I will happily refer you to a different doula with whom you may develop a better rapport.

If you do decide to work with me, we will then do a prenatal conference (see below). This may be part of the “getting acquainted” meeting, or may be scheduled at a separate time.

 

Apprentice. I typically work with an apprentice on each of my births. My teaching schedule is such that I am unavailable for births about 2 – 6 hours each week on average, and I want to ensure that my clients will have a doula when they call. So, I choose apprentices who can guarantee that they’ll be available for the client through the full on-call period, and I will be there for as much of the birth as possible. You would meet my proposed apprentice at a prenatal visit. If you clicked with me, but did not connect well with my apprentice, I may be able to find a different apprentice to attend your birth.

 

On-call period. I consider my on-call period for a birth to be from two weeks before a due date to two weeks after the due date. I generally will only take a client if I plan to be in town and available for this “on-call” period. Limits of availability near your due date: I would list specific dates and times here when I would not be available and my apprentice would attend….

I do have a cell phone, and in general I can be reached at any time. In the rare instance where I need to turn it off for some reason during an on-call period, I try to check it at least every two hours for voice mail.

 

Prenatal Conference. We will have a prenatal meeting to review your Birth Plan, and give us a chance to talk in detail about your preferences regarding your birth. I will ask about your knowledge of the birth process, and can provide information and education as needed. I will want to know your own personal ways of coping with pain and fatigue and difficult situations, and what internal resources we can draw upon to assist you with the birthing experience. I will want to know how you and your partner foresee working together, and the roles of others who may be attending the birth. We can discuss together what fears and concerns you have regarding the birth. We can review your preferences regarding the use of pain medications.

My role is to help you have a satisfying birth as you define it. The more we explore this in advance, the better I will be able to fulfill this role.

 

Late Pregnancy. I am available for phone consultations and email questions in late pregnancy, and encourage clients to call with questions or updates. Once we enter the on-call period, I encourage clients to check in with me every few days to let me know how they’re doing.

 

When Labor Begins: We will discuss in prenatal meetings what you expect to want during labor, and will also evaluate by phone once your labor has begun, and you know more what your needs are.

When you think labor has begun, call me and let me know so I can call my apprentice, and we can begin making arrangements for attending the birth. 

We will then plan to check in every few hours by phone, so I can provide information, ideas for comfort techniques, and reassurance. It is up to you to decide at what point in your labor you want me to come and be with you. Once you make that choice, I will generally be there within 40 minutes to an hour, and will remain with you until after the birth.

 

When you are in Labor.  Comfort techniques: my apprentice and I can offer help and advice with comfort measures such as guiding your breathing, enhancing relaxation, encouraging movement, suggesting effective positions for labor, and doing massage. Advocacy: We can assist with gathering information about the progress of labor to make sure you have the information you need to make informed decisions about your birth. I can also serve as an advocate for your needs with the medical staff. Emotional support: Our most critical role is providing continuous emotional reassurance and comfort.

 

After Birth.  My apprentice and I expect to remain with a client for 1-2 hours after birth, until you are comfortable, and the family is ready for quiet time together. We can also help with initial breastfeeding.

I am available for phone contact to answer questions about the birth of your baby. My services include one postpartum visit, usually within two weeks of the birth. During this visit, I can provide breastfeeding support, baby care tips, referrals to community resources, and a chance to discuss the birth experience.

 

What Doulas do not do.  

  • They do not perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, etc. They are there to provide only physical and emotional support and advocacy.
  • They do not make decisions for you. They will help you get the information you need to make your own informed decisions. They will also remind you if there is a departure from your Birth Plan, and will verify if this is, in fact, your informed decision.
  • They will not speak to medical staff regarding matters where health care decisions are being made. They can discuss your concerns with you and suggest options. They can support you in discussions with staff as your advocate, making sure you have the opportunity to discuss concerns, but you or your partner will speak on your behalf to the medical staff.

 

Fees. The total fee for these services, to cover my apprentice and myself, is $700.

I do offer sliding scale, going as low as $75. I leave it to the client’s discretion to determine what they can afford within this range. As a trained professional, I do ask fair recompense for my services. However, I also truly value the positive benefits of doula care, and do not want financial need to make those services inaccessible to mothers who desire them. My sliding scale is an honor system, I do not ask to verify your income or any such thing, I simply ask you to be fair in determining what you can truly afford to pay for my time and services.

I ask for a non-refundable deposit of $100, which is typically paid during or shortly after the prenatal conference, which is applied to the fee. I will not consider myself obligated to the birth, or “on-call” until I have received this deposit. The remainder of the fee is due 21 days after the birth, and should be sent to me at **address**, Bellevue, WA 98008. 

The fee you will be paying is: _____________________________

 

Failure of a doula to provide service. I will make every effort to provide the services described here. Sometimes this is impossible for unforeseen reasons. If, due to other commitments, I am not able to attend the birth at all, and only my apprentice is there, then you would pay her $200, and would not need to pay me at all.

If you fail to call me to attend your labor, I will keep the deposit, but there will be no other charges.

 

 

I / We have read this letter describing the doula services and agree that it reflects the discussion we have had with her.

 

 

____________________________________                        _____________________________________________

Client                                                                                     Client’s Partner

 

 

____________________________________                        _____________________________________________

Doula                                                                                     Apprentice Doula

 

 

____________________________________ Date