Breaking Down Birth Doula Fees

Have you taken the time to consider what your hourly rate would be for the time you’re dedicating to your birth doula clients? In a recent Facebook Group post for students of Birth Arts International, founder Demetria Clark offered the following example:

If you charge $400 per birth, this is a simple breakdown to consider:

Time with parents – 5 hours (prenatals and phone calls)
Time at birth – 10 hours (sometimes much longer, sometimes much shorter, but 10 is a midline average).
Time in postpartum – 3 hours
Postpartum visits if you offer 2 – 3 hours
Driving time – 3 hours average.
Prep and research time – 2 hours

At 26 hours, you’re rate is approximately $15.38 an hour.

The above example only takes the amount of time you’re spending into account. Other costs you might want to factor in include:

  • Gas and parking
  • Childcare for your own children
  • Meals and snacks for yourself while you are at the birth

Two other costs to consider are the time and expenses that may be incurred while you recuperate after attending a birth. Self care is critical for you, especially if you attend a particularly long birth. Do you need someone to care for your kids so you can catch up on your sleep? Does it help for you to get some body work done? Do you need to talk to someone if the birth you’ve attended was rough? What helps you rejuvenate yourself after a birth?

For Doulas-in-Training/Student Doulas

As a new doula, it is reasonable to charge an amount that will help to cover your basic expenses such as gas, childcare and meals. This is especially important if it would otherwise cause hardship for your family if you did not charge anything. It will be much easier for you to dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to your clients when your basic needs are being met. In addition, clients may place more value and take you seriously when there is an exchange of money for services, even if it is a minimal amount.

There’s No One Right Way To Charge

There are an infinite number of ways you can structure your pricing at different stages of your business. Your philosophy, current financial situation, business goals, and even your personality will play a role in helping you determine the best way to set up your rates.

Your rates play a part in reflecting your self-worth. Know that you bring tremendous value to a woman and her partner at a birth, no matter how much experience you have.

I’d love to know how if you’ve broken down your rates, what you discovered in doing so, and whether you intend to make any changes.

photo credit: Philip Taylor PT via photopin cc