I love being a Houston Doula. I love attending births. I love how it makes me feel. I love how it makes the mom feel. I love making a difference in other peoples’ lives.
Houston has a great selection of professional doulas, and I am proud to be among some of the best in the business.
Have you ever asked yourself, “why do doulas charge so much?”
Aside from the cost of education, books, workshops, continued education, and advertising (website, cards, brochures), we also take into consideration the time that it takes for all of these as well as out of pocket expenses.
Let’s just break down one of my Houston doula packages in terms of time that I spend with my clients during the course of their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum:
Pregnancy and Labor Package
- Initial consultation meeting – Approximately 2 hours
- Two prenatal meetings (One can be at a prenatal appointment to meet your caregiver.) Approximately 4 hours
- Birth Plan Assistance – Average, off and on, 1-2 hours
- ASAP telephone, text, and email support during contact hours (8am-8pm) Average 4 hours
- 24/7 on call within 2 weeks of your estimated due date -
Can you really put a time on that?
- Around the clock Labor and Birth support once labor has begun – 10+ hours
- Pictures of labor and birth with my camera as well as yours
- Immediate postpartum support of approximately 2-3 hours, or until the baby has nursed successfully and the family is settled – 2-3 hours
- One postpartum visit to discuss your birth, share photos, dote over your new arrival, discuss options for additional support (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, etc.) – Approximately 2 hours
With these approximations, we’re looking at about 25 hours, in the least, just for interaction with my clients. If you add in another estimated 3 hours for research, paperwork, etc., that goes into setting up each client, we’re at 28 hours.
The average trip I make to meet with clients is approximately 30-40 miles one way. These estimates are based on this Miles Per Dollar Calculator and my vehicle.
- Trip time (based on 5 trips) – 7.5 hours
- Gas costs (based on 35 miles one way – 5 trips) – $53.75
Childcare & Food Costs
- Childcare – Approximately $100 per client including visits and birth
- Food During Birth – Approximately $10 depending on the length of birth
- Hospital Parking and tolls – Approximately $10
- Materials for Clients – Approximately $5
- Credit Card or Paypal Fees (if you accept this form of payment – Thanks Robin!) – Approximately 2%-3%
Total Time and Out of Pocket Expenses
- Time – 36 hours
- Childcare – $100
- Food – $10
- Gas – $54
- Misc – $15
Let’s do the Math
Remember the Taxes
Don’t forget that you’re looking at state or federal tax (depending on where you live and what bracket you fall into) and you also the 13.3% Self Employment Tax (that’s the state of Texas – 10.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare). Thank you, Susan, for reminding me!
This is figured for the State of Texas and DOES NOT include Income Tax because that would depend on your tax bracket.
Again, this is based on my time and expenses. Of course, over the duration of my time with a client, I can spend more or less one on one time. This is all approximations.
In the grand scheme of things, you’re paying for an invaluable service during your pregnancy, labor, and birth. The difference a doula can make during this time is often priceless. The least that can be done is pay her asking fee.
Do you think that an OB or midwife would lower his/her costs if a mom told him/her that the fees just are not in their family’s budget? Doulas are a valuable asset to a mom’s birth team. Our time is also valuable – just ask our kids (and the electric company who won’t waive our monthly bill because it doesn’t fit into our budgets!)!