How Much Do Doulas Make?
Posted on: April 19, 2016 | Become a Doula, Doula Business, Doula Inspiration, Doula Self Care
When someone decides to become a doula, they are completely focused on supporting families in birth and/or on the postpartum side.
That’s where their focus should be.
Only those passionate about this important work can tolerate doula work.
Life “on call” = No wine with dinner, sleeping with the phone next to your head, leaving wherever you are, whenever you are when a laboring woman calls and heading to her birth and that’s all before you even get to work. Missing school plays, chorus concerts, back to school nights, soccer games, holidays, etc.
Next comes the aches and pains of squeezing hips, massaging, applying counter pressure for hours in a squatting position OR hanging over a warm steamy tub pressing the palm of your hand into the lower back of a submerged woman while sweat drips down every crevasse of your body.
But lest we forget, while this work is rewarding, it’s still work.
Work requires pay, right?
The thing most people really don’t understand and aren’t typically prepared for is that being a doula is a… sales position.
I know… that thought never crossed your mind, but if we don’t first sell this service, we don’t actually get to provide it.
So here’s what’s interesting to me.
When you do a Google search for “become a doula,” You can see similar searches at the bottom of the page. Others who searched the words, “become a doula” also searched the words, “how much do doulas make?”
This tells me that people looking to become doulas, are recognizing this work as something that generates income and that’s great, because it does!
When you create a business and treat it as such, it generates revenue.
When you take on a hobby doing something you enjoy, it typically costs money.
Let’s address the streams of revenue for doulas.
Labor Doula Support
A client hires a doula to provide physical, educational and emotional support for the remainder of the pregnancy, the birth and approximately one to two hours post birth.
There are two basic models for compensation.
- A flat rate for the on call period, 1-2 prenatal visits, the birth support itself and the early postpartum hours. Doulas are known to charge anywhere from $0.00 – $2,000.00 for this support. Regardless of the number of hours invested, this flat rate divided by the number of hours on call and serving, breaks down to a very small amount of compensation and often leads to lack of sustainability. In this model, if the doula needs to call in a back up doula, she or he must pay that doula from this amount, leaving even less compensation for the hours worked.
- A flat rate that covers the on call period, 1-2 prenatal visits, 12 hours of actual face to face birth support and the early postpartum hours. Doulas who practice this model typically charge between $650.00 – $1,500.00 with an additional $20.00 – $50.00 an hour beyond 12 hours of face to face labor support. In this model, labor support that is necessary beyond 12 hours is billed at a fair hourly rate to compensate the doula for additional hours served. This model also allows for payment to a back up doula in the case of a long birth without negatively impacting the original doula’s income.
Postpartum Doula Support
Postpartum support is typically billed by the hour and prices ranges from $25.00 per hour to $50.00 per hour. Many doulas group a number of hours together and offer it as a package. Typically, the more hours a client purchases, the less the hourly rate becomes.
Postpartum clients regularly purchase between 40 – 500 hours of support.
Add on services
Placenta encapsulation services
- The price for this service ranges from $100 – $375. This is a very sought after service. While for many doulas, this is considered an “add on” service, many clients contact doulas specifically for this service and may choose to add another supportive service later.
Childbirth Education Classes
- Childbirth education classes come in all different shapes and sizes. From large classes that meet weekly over 2 -3 months to private customized classes in the intimate setting of the client’s home. Group classes range in price from $100.00 – $550.00. Private classes usually begin at about $200.00.
So let’s say for the sake of argument, a client hires you for the following services at middle of the range price points:
Labor support 12 hours $950 + 2 additional hours at $30 per hour = $1,010
Postpartum support, 50 hours x $30.00 = $1,500
Total = $2,510.00
Labor support at a flat rate of $1,500.00
Private childbirth class at a rate of $250.00
Total = $1,750.00
Postpartum support, 100 hours at $35.00 = $3,500.00
Total = $3,500.00
Labor support at a flat rate of $850.00
Placenta encapsulation services $225.00
Total = $1075.00
As you can see, the income is there. However, that is not to say that you simply become a doula and this magically happens.
ProDoula is proud to support doulas with the hands on practical training they need to succeed, as well as the business support required in order to thrive.
Hopefully, this information helps you understand the earning potential of professional doulas and that this assists you in making this career choice that will reward you in more ways than you can imagine.