My last post discussed why a doula charges so much. It can be confusing for some people to figure out how a doula sets her fee. Now that we have all of that sorted out, lets talk about the new problem: how in the world can you afford a doula if money is tight? There are thankfully several ways to pay for the cost of a doula if it is not necessarily in your budget!
1. Ask your insurance company if a doula is covered!
There are multiple insurance companies that are now reimbursing for doula services! This varies by plan and company so check with your provider before any other option is explored!
2. Use your FSA or HSA
Anyone with a FSA or HSA should look into being able to use the funds available for paying your doula costs. Many of them offer this option.
3. Add doula services to your shower registry.
We add so many things we may never even use to our registries (how many of us end up giving away extra baby clothes??) Instead of letting people guess what you need, add doula services to your registry! Someone may just end up seeing this need and helping you take care of it!
4. Ask if your doula offers gift certificates. If so, tell your friends and family!
Always ask your doula if she accepts gift certificates! For the record, I do! All your family members need to do is contact your doula via her website and purchase the certificate. You would just need to bring the certificate to a prenatal meeting to redeem it for services.
5. Find out if your doula offers payment plans.
Most doulas understand that not everyone can just drop 600.00 in one sitting. I certainly do. Ask your doula about a payment plan. I, for example, am happy to sit with a couple and outline when they expect to make their payments. we just include it in your contract. As long as payments are made before I go on call at 38 weeks, then you're all set to go!
Are you a photographer? Do you knit or make clothes? Are you a painter? Any skill you have at all can end up being your method of payment for a doula! I personally have bartered birth doula services in exchange for family photography sessions! It is a win-win situation for everyone!
7. Cut out non-essential spending (e.g. going out to eat) and save over time.
If you have exhausted all other resources and those are not options, one thing that will almost work is to put yourself on a budget. I find if something is very important to me, I make it a priority over things like new clothes, eating out, movie dates, etc.
I hope this list helps reassure you that while doulas can be difficult for some families to afford, it is possible! Just be honest with your doula, and seek out help where you can!