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.
I consider my on-call period for a birth to be from 36 weeks gestation forward. At any time in this point my phone will be kept on loud for your contact information that you have provided and I will be ready to attend your birth with full confidence and support.
We will have _ prenatal meeting(s) 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.
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.
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 as soon as possible, and I can begin making arrangements for attending the birth.
I will then plan to check in every few hours by phone, so I can provide information, ideas for comfort techniques, and reassurance through early labor. 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 30 minutes to an hour, and will remain with you for the duration, until after the birth.
When you are in Labor
Comfort techniques: 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 and all the services and products shown and described from my doula bag at the initial consultation.
Advocacy: I 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: My most critical role is providing continuous emotional reassurance and comfort.
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. I 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, as well as general household help such as laundry, meal prep, etc.
Fees. The total fee for these services, to cover my time, childcare, travel expenses etc, including the prenatal consultations, birth, one post-partum visit and placenta encapsulation is $_____.
As a trained professional, I do ask fair recompense for my services. However, I also truly value the positive benefits of doula care, which is why I attempt to make my prices as affordable as possible.
The fee you will be paying is: $_____, please let me know the business email in which to send my invoice to you via Paypal and what payment plan increments would work best for you.
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 a circumstantial emergency, I am unable to attend your birth, my backup doula will be available to serve you for the birth and her payment will come out of my compensation at no extra cost to you. I have not missed a birth thus far and do not foresee any predictable emergency that could not be handled in a timely fashion, so rest assured that this would be a very rare and unlikely circumstance. In the event that my non-attendance is due to not being contacted for the birth, and at no error of my own, my fees are to be considered non-refundable as I have reserved and dedicated this on-call time period specifically for you and your birth and made arrangements to do so. If you need to cancel my services ahead of time before the birth for any reason, a compromise on fees will be met to cover the services that I have already provided to you at that point and nothing further will be due.
I / We have read this letter describing the doula services and agree that it reflects the discussion we have had with her.