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Want to Hire a Postpartum Doula? Here's How Much You Can Expect to Pay
June 14, 2024

Want to Hire a Postpartum Doula? Here's How Much You Can Expect to Pay

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Want to Hire a Postpartum Doula? Here's How Much You Can Expect to Pay.

After bringing home your newborn baby and realizing the nurses are done taking care of you and baby, and the parade of meals and help from family and friends slows down, you may be wondering, ’what now’? 

There’s not a great standard for aftercare in the US, and many of us have to go it alone when it comes to postpartum recovery. Add in severe sleep deprivation, soreness, stitches, leaking breasts, and this is the moment where some moms start to struggle with postpartum depression and other mental health concerns, with up to 20% of mothers dealing with PPD. There are also concerns about the increasing rate of physical health conditions, and even postpartum deaths, which have almost doubled in the last two decades. 

With the awareness of the need for postpartum care increasing, Kristen Lucas, a postpartum doula and sleep consultant with eight years of experience in Austin, Texas, says postpartum doulas are becoming more common over recent years. “Families are looking for support postpartum, and many families do not live near their own families to help them, so hiring a postpartum doula just makes sense,” she says. The good news is that anyone needing support can hire a postpartum doula.

What Is a Postpartum Doula? 

If only parenting came with a manual, a helpline, and a doting caregiver who knew just how to rock your fussy baby while stirring a nutritious soup for you on the stove so you could rest and recover, postpartum might be a whole lot easier. While their roles differ slightly from one to the next, postpartum doulas generally provide daytime and nighttime support to the parents—and also the baby—and sometimes can do it virtually as well. Their services are typically a bit broader than a night nurse, though there might be some overlap. (And they differ from birth doulas, who tend to parents during labor). 

Some parents plan for postpartum doulas to come right away in the first nights home with their baby, while others push the service out further for when they have less support. But postpartum doulas will come whenever the parent needs them.

Lucas shares some typical services postpartum doulas offer:

  • newborn care and education

  • breastfeeding & pumping support

  • physical recovery guidance and education

  • infant soothing

  • infant feeding

  • basic household tasks

  • emotional support to parents (some doulas will have mental health training)

  • meal prep (not offered by all doulas)

  • coping skills for new parents

  • community resources and recommendations 

Be sure to ask each doula you are considering which of these services they provide.

Benefits of Having a Postpartum Doula

Sometimes new parents will say they feel like they’re “drowning.” Postpartum doulas can be a life preserver in situations like this. Even if it’s infrequent, having someone to talk to, share challenges with, and get a handle on your house, meals, self and family care, can ease your overwhelm far beyond the day it happens. Even knowing the doula is coming can give you some reassurance that help is on the way.

Here are some benefits of having a postpartum doula’s support.

A watchful eye on mental health concerns

Some doulas have specific training on how to watch for maternal mental health concerns, and when to get additional support. Research shows that doulas can reduce anxiety and stress, and for low-income women, even improve breastfeeding success. The same study says that mothers who had doulas might have better perceptions of their perinatal experience, which can impact PPD occurrence, and even contribute to the choice to have another baby or not.

More rest for recovering parents

If you knew someone had dinner and the dishes handled, would you spend the afternoon with your feet up, cuddling with the baby and resting? Probably. Parents who are used to doing it all tend to get a bit more rest when they know support is scheduled, and it isn’t all on them. They are less likely to overdo it, and have physical complications from doing too much too soon.

A second opinion on all the questions new parents have

Is baby eating enough? Should I still be bleeding? Why do I still have contractions when I’m nursing? New parents have plenty of questions—and rightfully so. Often, the postpartum doula has answers, or helps connect you to someone who will. While the doula isn’t a doctor or nurse and therefore isn’t allowed to give medical advice, having a well-trained ear can put your mind at ease that your baby is doing just what babies do, and their 3 a.m. crying bouts aren’t your fault.

Lucas explains that she often helps parents far beyond the first few postpartum months, through the whole “fourth trimester,” which typically ends around three months postpartum. This additional support past when other supports tend to fall away can keep your needs in mind for longer.

What Does a Postpartum Doula Cost?

There are few people who wouldn’t want additional help with all the tough stuff postpartum. But the one major barrier standing between parents and this type of support is often the cost. As a relatively new service just gaining popularity in some areas, there can be questions about its affordability, especially for services like multiple overnight visits that sound, well, pricey.

Price range

“It is a wide price range depending on [factors including] experience and location. I would say anywhere from $25-$75/hr is common, more or less. Some doulas also offer packages that may include a discount for purchasing hours in bulk up front,” Lucas says. She adds that she includes daytime text support, an in-home visit before the baby arrives, and multiple resources at no additional cost.

Insurance and free programs

Most insurance policies don’t cover postpartum doulas, so parents are often left to try to finance it themselves. “Some doulas will set aside a certain number of doula hours or clients per year that they will support for no cost or at a discount/sliding scale. In addition, some areas offer community doula programs that offer doula support for no fee or at a low cost,” Lucas says. 

She recommends contacting local birthing centers, doula agencies or hospitals to find out what programs are available. 

Daytime versus nighttime

“Many charge the same rate for overnight and daytime, myself included, while some charge $5-$10/hr more for overnight support. A smaller portion charge more for daytime support,” she says. If you’re hoping for someone to take care of the baby while you sleep, consider the differences between a newborn care specialist (aka night nurse) and a postpartum doula to determine which you need.

Virtual options

With the rise in virtual support, you might not have to choose someone near you, especially if you’re mainly hoping to ask questions and get answers (if only they could virtually fold laundry!).

“Virtual support will typically be a more affordable option. And many doulas offer postpartum parent support groups, in-person and online, that are free or low cost. I offer a free monthly walking group that is very popular, and that is another good way to get support that is more affordable and very valuable to new parents,” Lucas shares

How to Find a Postpartum Doula

One great way to find a postpartum doula is to chat with other parents who have recently had babies in your area (try parent groups on social media that are local to your region). You can also ask your medical professionals, including your doctors and nurses, pelvic floor therapists, and even your therapist if you have one. Often they know of people in their network who might be able to help.

Once you have a short list of potential doulas, call each to ask them about their pricing, process, and availability

You can also consider adding postpartum doula support to your baby registry, in lieu of the many onesies your baby might not even use before they grow. But purchasing their services to support yourself is totally valid, and often necessary in the throes of new parenthood—so go for it if you can.

If you can’t access a postpartum doula, and are struggling with physical or mental health concerns, definitely reach out to your medical provider, but don’t count out friends, family, and neighbors. It may be hard if you’re not used to asking for help, but  you can tell them about your specific situation and needs and they might be more willing to help than you think. In the end, taking care of not just your baby, but yourself, will form how you remember these tough but rewarding months and years.

Alexandra Frost

Alexandra Frost is a Cincinnati-based freelance journalist and content marketing writer, focusing on health and wellness, parenting, education, and lifestyle. She has been published in the Atlantic, Glamour, Today’s Parent, Reader’s Digest, Parents, Women’s Health, and Business Insider. She spends her “free” time with her five kids under age 8, and testing lots of products. To read more of her work or to connect, check out her website at

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