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Ann GrauerAffording the Cost of Hiring a Doula
by Ann F. Grauer, LCCE, CD (DONA), ICCE, PCD (DONA)

Q. I really want a doula, but I can't afford the full fee. Are there any low-cost alternatives?

A. This is a great question and no family should ever be without the services of a doula due to cost. DONA International's mission is a doula for every woman who wants one, not for every woman who can afford one.

Many doulas quote their full fee and then have a sliding scale to accommodate ability to pay. Asking about it should not be embarrassing at all. Doulas are happy to share this information with you. Also, some doulas will barter their services. I know a doula who bartered for a pie a week from a client who was an excellent baker. Another doula had a deck added onto her house in exchange for her services.

Some hospitals have doulas on staff and you may be able to hire a doula for a greatly reduced fee. Not all hospital programs are created equally and you will want to make sure that the doula's primary interest is you--not the hospital.

Lastly, there are doulas working on their certification who will do births for free or for a major reduction in cost. What the doula receives in exchange from you is evaluations that she can use towards certification.

Regardless, please do not allow concerns about costs to deter you from connecting with doulas. With a little searching you will find the right one for you!

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