Birth Support Agreement
Covid-19 amendment – please note that all references to attending in person, and all references to meeting up or visiting are subject to appropriate covid-19 guidance at that time. I am currently unable to commit to meeting in person beforehand or attending your birth unless the guidance changes. Where possible I will make all attempts to be with you, however if this would put you and your family, or me and my family at risk then it may be that we have to rely on alternative means of providing communication and support, utilising technology as much as possible.
What services can I provide for you?
As a doula, I am able to accompany you (and your partner) through the process of preparing for birth and support you during labour, birth and bonding. I can also support you in the first weeks after birth and will visit you at least once. I do not give medical advice nor do I undertake examinations or perform any other clinical task. I cannot make decisions for you. I can only act as a spokesperson for you (if this has been clearly stated in your birth plan). I am independent and self-employed. I am working for you, not your caregiver or hospital.
My role is to be led by you, providing the support that you may need along the way. The kind of support I give is often emotional, practical and informational and will be offered unconditionally and without judgment. Our conversations and all correspondence I keep strictly confidential.
I draw on my knowledge and experience to provide you with emotional support and physical comfort measures. If the need arises I can help you communicate with your midwife and medical care givers to ensure that that you have all the information you need to make informed decisions during pregnancy, labour, bonding and early parenting. I can provide a continuous friendly face for you (and your partner), make suggestions for planning and preparing your birth and bonding environment and building rapport with your midwives and medical attendants,
I can help safeguard your bonding period and am available to talk to after the baby is born. I do not come between you and your partner but rather support both of you. During labour my aim is to ‘hold your space’ so unless you request my physical support, my role is to ‘be’, not necessarily ‘do’. In the current climate it may be that my physical presence is not possible, however I will be with you virtually if that works for you.
Whatever your decision is about how you plan to feed your baby I am able to support you. It can be useful to discuss feeding before your baby is born so that you are best prepared and have the support you need available. We can include this in our discussions.
How do I provide this service to you?
I prefer to meet with you and your partner at least twice before labour starts, and if necessary this may be via zoom or other online media. These meetings are used for getting to know each other, to explore and discuss your priorities, any fears or concerns, and to plan how we might best work together. We usually look at your birth plan and/or any preparation and I can acquaint you with signposts and information as well as some of the comfort measures I have found helpful in the past.
I would like to become familiar with your birth plan, including your preferences regarding management options and your views on pain relief. I also would like to know about your natural coping-mechanisms and how your partner and I could help with these.
I will keep you informed of any times I am unavailable for consultation but you can call me 24 hours a day from 38 weeks of pregnancy (or sooner if you go into labour). You can phone/text and email me as often as you like during pregnancy.
How can I support you during birth?
It’s useful if you could call me immediately (at any hour of day or night!) when you believe that you may go into or are in labour. Useful information for me includes bowel movements, shows, how you feel physically and emotionally and any sensations you may feel.
After chatting on the phone we will decide together on the best course of action. Even if you plan to go into hospital I usually meet you at home first, unless baby comes in a hurry or an emergency situation has occurred. Please keep in mind I may need 60-90 minutes to arrive depending on how far away you live. If we have planned for you to birth without me being present then I will remain on the phone/laptop for you/your partner.
Except for circumstances out of my realm of influence, I will remain with you throughout labour, birth and bonding. If you transfer from home to hospital or within the hospital, I will do my very best to stay with you.
I will do my best to safeguard those precious first minutes of physiological bonding after birth.
If you want to use natural/complementary remedies during pregnancy, labour and early parenting I suggest you contact a professional therapist. I’m happy to support you with therapies or remedies but only under your instruction and this should be included in your birth plan.
How can I support you after the birth?
I would like to get together with you within the first week or two after the birth to see how you are doing, admire your baby and listen to you and your partner as you talk about how it went for you and how you are feeling. This may need to be done remotely via video call.
As part of this agreement I am available for consultation by phone (or email) during the first six weeks after birth.
My agreement with you
I will make every effort to provide the services described in this document. It may be that external circumstances may limit my availability (for example really quick labour). If failure to attend your birth is due to my misjudgement or unavailability, then only 50% is payable. You may make further payments according to your discretion. But, if due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control (e.g. you call me too late, you choose to keep vital information from me, covid-19 restrictions) the full fee applies.
My support extends to unforeseen emergency or elective caesarean section. This means I will stay with you, in theatre if possible, and continue to provide emotional and practical support during the birth and immediately postpartum. If you and your partner choose an elective section late on in your pregnancy or if you decide you no longer require my services less than 2 weeks before your due date, I quite understand but my full fee will still be required. This is because I may already have gone on-call for you and/or worked with you for some weeks/months and been unable to take on other clients because of the time I have dedicated to you. If your cancellation is due to factors beyond your control, or due to some negligence on my part, we will reach an appropriate agreement.
The fee for your birth package includes all the antenatal support, on-call and continuous support through labour and birth, postnatal visit and 6 weeks remote postnatal support… and cake!
My fee is £949. A deposit of £150 is required in order to hold the booking and secure the on-call dates for your birth. The remaining balance can be paid in 2 parts, the first due at 38 weeks and the second at the postnatal visit. If you prefer, the remaining balance can be paid in equal monthly instalments.
Remember that Doula UK also has a voucher scheme, so friends and family can buy you doula support. See www.doula.org.uk for details.
No tips are expected – however, some clients like to show their appreciation of the support I have given. If you feel this way after your baby is born, any extra payment you would like to give enables me to afford to support women who are in difficult and vulnerable circumstances.
You should know that your privacy and the protection of your information is important to me, as well as a legal requirement. We will need to communicate in the period of time I am working with you, and I will keep all relevant information securely. I won’t share your information with any one else.
At any time, you can ask to see the information I hold about you and you can ask me to delete all of the information. I am obliged to keep some information for accounting/tax purposes.