5 Ways to Pay for a Midwife (or Doula) |

5 Ways to Pay for a Midwife (or Doula)

nina January 31, 2013
Image by kizzzbeth

By Nina, Modern Alternative Pregnancy Editor

Today’s Daily Tip: Never give up, no matter what!  Life will change, you will have bad days, and you will have to constantly adjust.  That will never stop.  Keep going for your goals as long as they make sense!

A frustrating truth in America is that many insurance companies will not cover the cost of a doula or midwife. While some have to fight tooth and nail for a company to pay for a safe, normal birth at home with a good midwife, that same company won’t bat an eye at a bill for any c-section (necessary or otherwise) and the consequent three-day hospital stay.

Fortunately, there are other ways to pay for your midwife or doula.

What can you expect to pay?

The costs for midwives vary depending on where you live – they’ll be less expensive in Texas than they are in California, just like everything else. Expect to pay around $3,500, which was about $2,000 less than a woman giving birth in the hospital was charged at the hospital I used to work at.

A doula’s cost varies, from around $300 for a doula-in-training who needs to assist some laboring women before she gets her certification, to around $800 for an experienced doula. If she’s a well-known doula in the community and highly-sought after, expect to pay a little bit more. (The same holds true for midwives).

For some, these numbers are no big deal and are absolutely worthwhile costs for such an important event. However, I know that when I was pregnant and finding this out, I thought it would be impossible to have my baby at home because I couldn’t pay for it.

But I did find a way. This was way too important to me to just give up because I didn’t have much money at the time. Where the desire is strong enough, a way will be found.

1. Payment Plans

Many midwives offer payment plans that end with the final bit being paid by 37 weeks. Some may require a certain percentage up front, so this is definitely something you want to find out during the interview process.

You could try working out something similar with a doula by hiring her early on in your pregnancy, rather than waiting until the end of the second, or beginning of the third trimester.

2. A season of sacrifice

Intentionally simplifying your life while pregnant is not only good for you – it allows you to focus on the new baby and enjoy the miracle that it is – but it can also be good for your budget. Deciding to have a “season of sacrifice” where you cut expenses can go a long way toward paying for the care you want.

A few things that you could cut back on gradually until they’re gone:

  • Starbucks (decaf, of course), chai lattes, or other expensive morning drink habits – Take your pregnancy tea to go.
  • Cable or satellite – Save a lot of money by cutting TV completely or switch to Netflix where you can get unlimited instant watching for $7.99 per month.
  • Cell phone – Call and ask for a rate plan anaylisis. You could significantly lower your bill if you’re paying for more than you’re using.
  • Eating out – Try cutting this significantly and eat simple, nourishing food at home.
  • Going to the movies – Rent a movie at redbox or use netflix to have more frequent, cheaper date nights with your husband.

Instead of spending all of your money on these, you can use it to pay for the labor support you want.


Image by frankh

3. Increasing income

I’ve read many times that we use 20% of our possessions 80% of the time. My own experimenting with decluttering has proven this to be true. So what do you do with the 80% that you don’t use? Sell it.

Much of it can be given away, but there are probably numerous items that can be sold. You can hold a yard sale, but expect to get less on the bigger ticket items. There’s always Craigslist – which has its fair share of spam, but is also free. And then there’s good old Ebay. You will pay fees and have to ship your items, but they do give you access to a whole lot of people.

4. Baby Showers/Blessingways

There are a lot of baby shower gifts that will be given to you that you will never use. Or, you’ll use it once and no more (this isn’t just the minimalist in me talking to you, I promise). Rather than asking for the conventional gifts, let people know that you prefer cash to go toward your “amazing birth attendant fund.” If some people feel weird about giving cash, ask your doula or midwife if they offer birth certificates on their websites.

5. Barter

Some doulas and midwives are happy to barter for their services. While you’ll probably still have to pay some money out-of-pocket, you’ll be able to reduce that amount by offering something in exchange for their services.

  • Photography
  • Website design
  • Custom furniture
  • Cooking/Baking
  • Babysitting
  • Coaching (I happily traded my doula services with a friend who offers branding coaching for businesses)
  • Auto repair

There are several possibilities for goods/services that you could trade. If you’re unsure, you can just ask. If they say no, (or yes) employ the other ideas to help you pay for these important birth and pregnancy services.

Are you using a creative way to pay for your doula/midwife?

This is the writings of:



  1. There are also Christian medical fund-sharing ministries which will cover the costs of midwives and homebirths. I belong to one called Samaritan Ministries. Every month I send my payment to another member who has published a medical need. When I have a medical need, the ministry divides my bill among other members and I get money from them. It’s really beautiful!


  2. Wow, I hope that this can be changed in the future to have midwives covered. I live in Canada where we have public healthcare. All is covered regardless of whether it is a doctor or midwife, hospital or at home. All tests, ultrasounds etc. are covered too so we will not pay a dime to have this baby. I think its a shame that families need to sacrifice to have what I think is a large amount of money just to get the type of birth and healthcare they want.


  3. I am a birth doula, and I have been paid with permission to use client photos on my website, help moving furniture (basically truck rental), allowing a training doula to shadow me, and written testimonials for my website. Lots of options if you are creative and imaginative!


  4. This is a GREAT article… I’ll be sharing far and wide and linking to it from my doula blog… everyone needs to read these great tips for funding their birth team!


  5. WONDERFUL ARTICLE! The midwife that I’m sitting next too and myself (an experienced doula) LOVE LOVE LOVE what you say. Just an FYI, on average Midwives in the SF Bay area charge $5,000 for full services and an experienced Doula runs around $1,600.

    Thank you for the work you do!!


  6. Great article. I am co-founder of Birth Santa Cruz a local midwifery advocacy group. We have a similar article with some additional ideas here:




  7. We are a community based non – profit and we offer sliding scale doula support and childbirth education. Our birthworker trainees provide these services for $0-$500.


  8. Cashed out vacation time. The way mine fell I’d have to use it or lose it before my maternity leave anyways.


  9. […] photographer at your birth can greatly enhance your birth experience! Birth certificates, among other creative ways, are a wonderful way to help cover the […]


  10. […] Creative Ways to Pay for a Midwife (or Doula) […]


  11. […] you pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant? Modern Alternative Pregnancy wrote a post on on How to Pay for your Midwife or Doula (as many insurance companies do not cover these costs). There are some wonderfully creative ideas […]


  12. There’s also the option of freebirth. While it is scary (until you’ve done it), going back to the hospital wasn’t something I was willing to do without medical indicators. When trying to find a midwife in my area failed, we simply did our research and decided to birth unassisted. We haven’t gone back, and four of mine were born this way.

    Not even a doula was available there or then.


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

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