1. My Role as a Doula
I accompany women in labor (at home, in a birth center, or in a hospital) to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I draw on my knowledge and experience to provide physical, emotional and informational support. I am independent and self employed. As your doula I am employed by and working for you, not your caregiver or birthing facility.
2. Choosing a Doula
It is very important that you are your partner are comfortable with me and with my role in the birth. Thus, I do expect to meet with my clients at least once before the onset of labor to become acquainted, to explore and discuss your priorities as well as any fear or concerns and to plan how we will work best together. If at this meeting, you or your partner, decide that our interaction does not 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 have a better rapport. If you decide to work with me we will have a prenatal meeting (see below), this may be a part of the initial consultation or it may be scheduled at a separate time.
3. On Call Period
I consider my “on call” period to be from 2 weeks before your due date until 2 weeks after (38-42 weeks). I generally will only take on a client if I plan to be in town and available for this “on call” period. Limits to availability near your due date_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.
I do have a cell phone, and generally can be reached any time. In the rare instance that I need to turn my cell phone off for some reason during an on call period it will be checked every two hours for voicemails.
4. Prenatal Meeting
We will have at least one prenatal meeting (the number will vary depending on which plan you choose) to review your birth plan and give us a chance to discuss 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 as well as difficult situations, and what internal resources you can draw on to assist you with your birthing experience. I will want to know how you are your partner foresee working together, and the role of others who may be attending the birth. We can also review your preferences regarding the use of pain medication.
My role is to help you have a satisfying birth experience as defined by you. The more that we explore this in advance, the better I will be able to fulfill this role.
5. Late Pregnancy
I will be available by phone, text and e-mail from 8:00am until 8:00pm for the duration of your pregnancy and encourage clients to call with questions and 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 are doing.
6. When Labor Begins
We will discuss in our prenatal meeting(s) what you expect to want during labor, and will evaluate this by phone once your labor has begun and you know more what your needs are. When you think that your labor has begun call me so that I can begin making arrangements to attend your birth. We will then plan to check in every one to two hours by phone so that I can provide information and reassurance. It is up to you to decide what at what point in your labor you want me to come and be with you. Once you make that decision I can generally be there in 30 minutes to one hour but need to be given two hours to account for my childcare as well as traffic, and will remain with you until one to two hours after birth.
7. When You Are in Labor
I will come to you at whatever point you feel that you need my support, this is generally in active labor. Comfort techniques that I can offer include but are not limited to guiding your breathing, enhancing relaxation, encouraging movement, suggesting effective positions for labor, acupressure and aromatherapy.
Advocacy: I can assist you with gathering information about the progress of labor to make sure that you have the information that you need to make an informed decision. I can also serve as an advocate between you are your medical staff.
Emotional support: My most critical role is providing continuous emotional reassurance and guidance.
8. After Birth
After birth I expect to remain with my client for one to two hours, until you are comfortable and the family is ready for quiet time together. I can also help with initial breastfeeding. I am available by phone to answer questions about the birth of your baby. My services include at least one postpartum visit to provide breastfeeding support, baby care tips, referral to community resources and a chance to discuss your birth experience.
9. What Doulas Do Not Do:
They do not perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, etc.
They do not make decisions for you. They will help you get the information that you need to make your own informed decisions. They will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth plan, and also verify that this is in fact, your informed decision.
They will not speak to the medical staff regarding matters where your health care decisions are being made. They can discuss your concerns and options with you. They can support you in discussions with your medical staff as your advocate, making sure that you have the opportunity to discuss your concerns, but you or your partner will speak on your behalf to the medical staff.
The total fee for my services range from $750 to $950 depending on the package that you choose. $350 is due at the time that you sign this contract as a non-refundable retainer to secure my services and the remainder is due by 37 weeks gestation.
Retainer paid on_____________
Remainder due by______________
11. Failure of a Doula to Provide Services
If my failure to attend your birth is due to an error on your part (failing to call me, for example) no refund will be given and I will keep my full fee.
If my failure for me or my back up doula to attend your birth is caused by an error on my part I will refund my fee minus the retainer.
If my failure to attend your birth is due to rapid labor if the baby is born less than one hour after you call and ask me to come, I will provide an additional 3 hours of postpartum support at no cost after you are discharged from the hospital. This can include assistance with breastfeeding, light cleaning, baby care, etc. My full fee applies.
If I am unable to attend your birth but my back up doula attend for me my full fee applies.
Any other circumstances out of my control that result in my absence at your birth will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
Back Up Doula
In the rare case that something emergent comes up with me I do have a back up doula in place that is able to attend your birth. If you would like the chance to speak with and or meet with her before your due date I will try to arrange this but can not guarantee her availability.
Cesarean Section: If you plan to have a vaginal delivery and a cesarean delivery becomes necessary after the onset of labor I will continue to provide support during the surgery (as allowed by hospital and/or physician policies) as well as immediately after to help with your comfort as well as breastfeeding. I will also follow up with you after the birth, as I do with all my clients. In this scenario, my full fee applies.
Planned Cesarean: If you are your doctor decide that a planned cesarean is necessary (that is a cesarean done before your due date and/or before the onset of labor), I will provide support during the surgery (as allowed by the hospital and/or physician policies) and immediately after, as well as one additional 3 hour post partum visit to assist with breastfeeding, cleaning, laundry, baby care, etc. In this scenario my full fee applies.
I/We have read this contract describing the doula services and agree that it reflects the discussion that we have had with her.