Letter of Agreement Describing Doula Services, Limits, and Fees
What is a doula?
As a birth doula, I accompany women in labor to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I have completed training approved by DONA International, given birth twice, attended one birth that was not my own, and read extensively regarding pregnancy, birth, and labor support. I continue to educate myself regarding best practices and evidence based research in fields related to birth on a continual basis.
I draw on my professional training, knowledge, and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort, and, as needed, communication with the staff to make sure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions as they arise in labor. I can provide reassurance and perspective to you and your birth partner, make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, soothing touch, positioning and other techniques for comfort. I am independent and self-employed. As your doula, I am working for you, not your caregiver or hospital.
I will meet with you and your partner at least twice before labor to become acquainted, to explore and discuss your priorities and any fears or concerns, to discuss your birth plan and to plan how we might best work together. I also want to know your birth history, your own best ways of coping with pain and fatigue, and how you and your partner foresee working together.
I will also inform you of times when I am unavailable for labor support. To cover those times, I will arrange one or more qualified backup doulas with whom you may also meet.
We may also decide on other meetings and will certainly want to remain in touch by telephone and/or email.
When you are in labor
I prefer that you call me when you think you are in labor, even if you do not yet need me. I can answer questions and make suggestions over the phone as needed. We will decide if I should come right then or wait for further change. I usually need approximately one hour to get to you from the time you ask me to come. We will also decide where to meet—at your home, the hospital, or the birth center. Except for extraordinary circumstances, I will remain with you throughout labor and birth.
I usually remain with you for one or two hours after birth, until you are comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together. I can also help with initial breastfeeding, if desired.
I am available to answer questions about the birth or your baby and would like to get together with you within a few weeks to see how you and your baby are doing, to review the birth, and to get feedback from you about my role. I will remain available for postpartum support either by appointment or by phone for the first month after you give birth.
Your birth story
I will provide you with a typed account of your birth story by the end of your first month postpartum. This account will be from my perspective and based on our postpartum interview during which we review the details of your birth. Think of this as my eyewitness account of your birth journey. You may also choose to share your birth story on my website if you would like. There is a separate release to sign for this after you have received your birth story if you would like to share it.
What doulas do NOT do
As a doula, I do not:
- Perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and others. I am there to provide only physical comfort and emotional support.
- Make decisions for you. I will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth plan.
- Speak to the staff on your behalf. I will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner must speak directly to the clinical staff.
Failure of a doula to provide service
I will make every effort to provide the services described here. Sometimes this is impossible (for example, with a rapid labor). If my failure to attend your birth is due to my error, there will be no charge for my services and I will refund the retainer fee. If it is due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, I will keep the retaining fee, but there will be no further charges. If it is due to your failure to call me, my fees will be due in full as specified below.
My fee for the services described here is to be paid as follows:
$200 as a retainer fee, due when you select me as your doula by signing this contract.
$200 balance due two weeks prior to your due date.
I/We have read this letter describing the doula’s services and agree that it reflects the discussion we had with her.
Client’s Name (Print) Client’s Partner (Print)
Client (Signature) Client’s Partner (Signature)