How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Doula In Austin?
The what and why behind the cost of doulas.
(TLDR: How much does it cost to hire a doula in Austin, Texas? The cost of a doula in Austin varies depending on the business structure under which they operate, experience and various trainings. Overall there is a continuity in the services offered for birth doula services, however the cost of doulas in Austin is approximately $800 to $1800.)
Here’s a fun truth, approximately 350,000 new humans enter this world each day. Which means, there is no shortage of individuals giving birth to these new humans each day. One might say, there is an abundance of birthing people and families who are navigating their options when it comes to giving birth.
As an Austin doula, I get a first hand view into the lives of those who are walking just such a path as they begin their journey to parenthood. Often times, the choices and decisions that need to be made in the prenatal (before birth) period, can feel overwhelming. From choosing your doctor or midwife, to picking a pediatrician to childbirth education, the choices and costs are endless.
One choice that I am most familiar with, is the choice to invite a doula into your birth or postpartum space. In this post, I will share how much it costs to hire a doula in Austin with full transparency. Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s talk about some reasons why one might choose to hire a doula.
Why You Should Hire A Doula
Remember those choices and decisions I mentioned above? Those are one of the many things a doula can support you in navigating during your pregnancy and postpartum period. Doulas are trained birth professionals who have navigated the pregnancy and postpartum period with many clients. That means, they can give you referrals and share information with you that is helpful in making those important decisions. Point blank, doulas provide unbiased informational support. Your doula will never make the decisions for you, rather they will make sure you have all the information you need to make the most informed decision.
Aside from informational support, your doula can give you physical support prenatally by teaching you and your partner techniques and tools that are helpful for pain management and labor progression. These include position changes, massage techniques and many other tools depending on your personal requests.
One important role I play as a doula is facilitating a stronger bond between the birthing person and their partner. My role is never to take the place of the partner, rather to support and guide the partner to better support the birthing person. This looks like everything from suggesting massage techniques to sending the partner to the bathroom or to get food so that they can be more present during the birth.
In addition to physical support during labor, your doula will also provide you with more informational support as questions about medical procedures and other birthing options arise during the birth experience.
There is evidence that having a doula present at your birth decreases your chances of needing intervention such as forceps, vacuum and cesarean and increases your chances for a vaginal birth.
In addition to birth support, many doulas offer postpartum support. If labor and birth is the birth of a baby, then the postpartum period is the birth of the parent. This sacred and delicate time deserves just as much reverence as the birth. During the postpartum doula your doula can support you by: listening as you process the birth and postpartum period, support with nursing, teach you about infant care, light cleaning, cook you nourishing food and much more. Personally, I offer postpartum care in two forms: day time shifts which are 4 hours and overnight care, which is 8 hours and aimed at getting parents optimal sleep between feedings.
What Kind Of Doula Should I Hire?
Now that we have a brief overview of why you might choose to hire a doula in Austin, let’s discuss the various ways doulas run their business and why that might affect the cost of a doula.
Private Doulas - Private doulas, or individual doulas, are doulas who run their own small business and work alone. While private doulas technically, work alone you can expect them to have one or two backups in case something comes up and their are unable to attend your birth (sickness or unexpected travel, for example). Private doulas typically have a max number of clients they can take each month depending on their lifestyle. This is important as it cuts down on the chances of clients going into labor at the same time, which would increase the chances of a backup doula being at your birth.
Doula Agency or Group - Doula collectives or groups may choose to structure their business however they like. The two most common structures are:
-Individual doulas who practice on their own, but belong to a group that supports them through their business structure and built in “on call doulas”. Meaning, you would hire one individual doula but have access to their backups and any other additional services that the agency offers (such as childbirth education classes or lactation support). Pricing varies depending on each individual's experience and training.
-Some agencies structure their business in a way in which you would interview the agency as a whole and would be assigned doulas for your prenatal care. In this structure you would receive prenatal support from 1-2 doulas, and the doula on call (which you may have the chance to meet or not) will be attend your birth. The doulas in this structure split call time based on their availability.
Partnerships - A doula partnership is most commonly structured so that you have two doulas who work together to support each individual client. These partnered doulas will each support you prenatally by attending your prenatal meetings. Typically partnered doulas split call time and the doula on call would attend your birth, however some partnered doulas both attend the birth if possible. This a wonderful structure for those doulas who have a lifestyle in which they need a bit more flexibility with being on call, such as having a family or a full-time job.
What Services Do I Get With A Birth Doula?
Each type of doula or doula agency offers care that is unique to them and the structure of care may vary from doula to doula. However, overall there seems to be some consistency in terms of the client experience and offerings when you hire a birth doula, particularly in Austin.
Here is overview of what you can expect (and what you get for your money) when hiring a doula in Austin:
-A consultation (typically complimentary) to see if they are a good fit for your family
-Full access to them for informational support via phone or email
-Two prenatal visits in your home, typically between 34 and 36 weeks
-Attends a visit with your care provider (ObGYN or Midwife) if requested
-Your doula is on call for you from 38 to 42 weeks.
-A backup doula (or two)
-Labor support at your chosen birthing space (some doulas have time limits on how long they are with you in person before they call in a backup doula, typically around 12-16 hours)
-One or two postpartum visits in your home to process your birth experience and support with any additional care (nursing, baby wearing, infant care)
-Additional postpartum support if purchased in a package
I go into more detail on what the cost of a doula covers in this video.
All of that said, I cannot tell you how many people ask me, “How much does it cost to hire a doula in Austin?”
The cost of doulas in Austin varies depending on experience and additional trainings (such as lactation support or placenta encapsulation) as well as the business structure they have setup. For example, a doula working alone may offer a lower cost service than a partnership or group because they are not sharing the profit. Doulas are free to price their offerings however they life.
In Austin you will find doulas offering their birth doula services between $800 and $1800. Often doulas will offer packages which include additional support, like postpartum hours or lactation support. When you purchase a package doulas may offer discounted rates on added services. Many doulas often offer payment plan options with an initial deposit being made upon signing the contract.
I will also add that if you are not in a place to invest in doula support, some doulas offer limited sliding scale and pro bono work per year as many doulas believe ALL birthing people deserve support and money should not be a constraint. If this is you, I encourage you to reach out to the doula you are interested in. If they cannot support you, they will certainly refer you to someone who can. I personally offer limited sliding scale and pro bono services per year to those who reach out to me personally.
Now that you are clear on how much it costs to hire a doula, I would encourage you to shop around and interview 3-4 doulas so that you can find just the right fit for your family. As you interview doulas you will find that each doula offers their own unique personality and perspective. There is no one size fits all doula, but there is a doula for every family.