Updated: Jan 7
It's not always easy to afford the care we need & deserve. Don't let cash stop you, paying for a doula may be easier than you think!
While it’s still uncommon, you may be able to get birth doula services covered completely or partially by your insurance company. It may not be an easy task, but it’s worth the extra effort for several reasons. Most insurance companies are still unclear on what a doula even is, let alone the major impact they have on better birth outcomes. Even if your insurance company denies your request for coverage, it increases the overall awareness of how needed doula services are, thus boosting the chances of insurance companies covering this service in the future (and covering your future births, too)! Here’s a link to the steps for filing a request for coverage: How to Get Your Insurance Company to Pay for Your Doula
Health Savings Account
Since birth doulas are a health-related service, check with your employer or insurance company about covering the cost of a doula using your health savings account – which is very different from the insurance coverage mentioned above. You may be able to pay for it upfront with your account debit card, depending on your HSA policy and the type of payments accepted by your doula. Another option may be to pay your doula upfront, then get full reimbursement from your health savings account once a payment invoice is provided.
Income Tax Return
One of the top ways families cover the cost of a doula is by using their income tax return. Countless doulas only require a small deposit to be paid upfront and the remainder of the fee to be paid later. If you already know you will receive enough money back on your tax return and you know the doula you want to hire books up fast, then make sure you lock them in with a deposit and pay the rest later without worry!
Have A Yard Sale
This may be my favorite way people have paid for birth doula services! This method serves two purposes. First, it helps you declutter your home in preparation for bringing home your new little one, and second, it helps cover the cost of doula support. I have witnessed entire families come together to donate items for the sale, make signs, run the sale, and have an absolute blast all weekend together. It could potentially cover the whole cost of doula services plus have extra cash left over from a single weekend sale. How incredible is that?
Baby Shower Funds
This category varies greatly. You can simply add doula services to your registry if you use an online registry service such as Babylist. If this isn’t your flow, you can accomplish the same thing by putting up a “Doula Funds” jar at your shower. Some doulas, including myself, have a registry page just for clients where friends and family can make contributions to their accounts with me. I have even seen a few GoFundMe pages just for doula services! It’s also possible to use prepaid gift cards you receive at your baby shower to help cover the cost.
Utilize the payment plan options your doula offers. Most of the time, the full amount isn’t due upfront. If you know early on in your pregnancy that you want to hire a birth doula, I encourage you to set up a complimentary consultation as soon as possible so you have plenty of time to think about if that doula best suits your needs, then set up a payment plan with them before they get booked up or before it’s too late to make small, easy payments.
Cut Out Non-essentials
Some non-essential spending that can be cut out or greatly reduced to help counter the cost of doula care is eating out, traveling, entertainment, and gifts for friends. Sit down and seriously discuss your budget with your partner and make a financial plan. You may be surprised at how quickly you can save money once you get serious about it!
Put It on A Credit Card
While debt is not my usual answer, it can be a good option if you have a financial game plan already in place. For example, if you would like to use your income tax return to pay for birth doula services but you’re due in early January, it could be an option to put it on your credit card with the intention to pay it off in less than three months, depending on when you file your taxes. This can also be a wonderful option if you already received a notice from your insurance company that they will be compensated for doula services you pay upfront for.
Bartering never goes out of style! If you or your partner offer another valuable service, ask your doula if bartering is an option. I once had my garage door installed by a client’s husband in return for birth support. This took a huge stress off my family and also helped them out tremendously! While not all doulas are open to this option, but it never hurts to ask!
Know where your priorities are. What’s more important, having a luxury changing table or having the support that has shown time and time again to improve birth outcomes? We all want to give our baby the best, but keep in mind the long-term benefit of anything purchased – including services. The day you give birth to your baby is one you won’t forget. When the paint is all worn off and the clothes are all stained up, that memory will still be with you.