What’s Up With Birth Doula Fees?

When searching for a Birth Doula, you may notice it’s not one set fee across the board. They can range anywhere from free to $2500.00 – even in the same geographical area. So where does a Doula’s fees come from? Trust me, we aren’t pulling it out of thin air or trying to take advantage by creating a “high fee.” There is much to consider when setting a fee, including packages offered, skills offered, various trainings offered, and so on. This is also our career for many of us. It’s not a hobby. So we need to try to earn a living wage. I can’t speak for every Doula, but this is a general breakdown of where the cost of Doulas comes from.

This is the average work and money that a Birth Doula puts into just one client:

Direct time spent with families:

  • Interview- ½ hour
  • 2 Prenatal Visits- 4 hours total
  • Birth- 12-18 hours on average (can be much more though- think possibly 50+hours!)
  • Postpartum Visit- 2 hours
  • Paperwork, research, etc – average 3 hours
  • Continued phone, text, and email support throughout the contracted time period

Upfront costs related to client care:

  • Child care for Doula
  • Travel- gas and travel time for each visit and birth
  • Food during labor, birth, and/or postpartum
  • Backup doula payments
  • hospital parking, tolls, printed materials

Business owner costs

  • The doula bag- tools that help laboring families and the doula
  • Training and education
  • Taxes (we have to put at least 30% aside!)
  • Liability insurance

Immeasurable costs

  • Being on call 24/7 starting around 38 weeks
  • Travel time, car maintenance

So let’s break it down.

Birth fee=    $1000.00

Automatically take 30% out for taxes = $1000- $300 = $700 left for doula

Average Direct Family Contact Hours (let’s say about 30 hours) = The doula is making about $24/hr

Minus childcare (in NJ it averages about $15/hr and about 25 hours is needed) =  $700 – $375 = $325

That’s $325 left to pay for:

  1. Gas for travel each visit and birth
  2. Food and drinks during labor, birth, and/or postpartum
  3. Backup doula payments
  4. Hospital parking/ tolls
  5. Printed materials for client

That’s about $200 per client left to pay for everything else related to the business and personal living wage expenses.

So, think about it. We put most of any “profit” we have into taking care our clients.

The average wedding in Northern New Jersey costs $45,000- a day that celebrates the unity of two people.

The average Birth Doula in Northern New Jersey costs $1,500 – only $1500.00 for continuous support and education on a day that creates empowerment, life, a family, and the start of the rest of your life.