By: Angie Rosier, UDA President
As the doula profession grows and more doulas are trained, the public becomes increasingly aware of what doulas are and what they do. The position of a doula is now often recognized as an important and integral part of a birth team. Through the professional services offered by many outstanding doulas, obstetricians, registered nurses, and midwives alike often refer their patients to doulas they have enjoyed working with. This is great news for those of us who work as doulas. The local price of a doula has also increased in recent years. While the rate for doula services varies widely by state and region, prices have continued to climb. In Utah we have seen as much as a 75% increase in doula fees in the past 15 years. This is also great news for doulas. Many doulas enjoy earning a decent wage while doing work they are passionate about.
What does this do, however, for women and families who cannot afford doula services? Currently doula services are viewed as a luxury item in our medical system. Insurance does not cover doula fees (a topic for another day), and many families who could benefit from the services of a doula are unable to afford paying a few hundred extra dollars at a time when additional expenses are already expected. Many doulas offer discounted services when situations of need arise. That’s the beauty of owning your own business—being able to listen to your doula heart and give back to the community. Many doulas feel drawn to certain populations such as teens, incarcerated women, single mothers, or refugees. While there is currently little to no financial benefit to serving these populations, this is very possibly where doula services can be most valuable.
The Utah Doula Association has continued to grow over a period of over 25 years—has striven to be fiscally responsible—and has been able to build up some funds beyond operating costs. Membership dues, conference fees, community partners, and our doula retreat are some of the main ways the organization had been able to grow financially. The board is always looking for additional ways to raise money so that, as a group, we can fulfill the mission of the UDA, which includes community awareness, continuing education, marketing for its members, and supporting at-risk, low-income, and under-served families.
We are excited to announce the Utah Doula Association’s new program for serving underprivileged women and their families while offering pay to doulas for their services. From funds raised through donations, memberships, community partner memberships, the retreat, and conference we have the funds to pay our doulas to help these underprivileged women have support through their pregnancy and labor. This year, the UDA board has discussed and approved paying $599 for 5 individual birth clients. We are piloting this program and hope to grow it next year. We are working with a local provider to seek women in need of services and we are open to assessing other situations in the community. Eligibility requirement for doulas serving in this program is that she has been a UDA member in good standing for at least two years. Fees will be paid through the treasurer of the UDA.
The client in need will be matched up with a qualified doula who is available around her estimated due date, has expertise surrounding the mother’s pregnancy situation whether it be high-risk, multiples, teen mom, etc., and has been a UDA member for at least two years.
We are happy to send anyone who needs doula support an application to see if they qualify. Situations will be reviewed by the president and president-elect and the board will be notified of each of the five paid births available this year.
The board has also approved funds this year to pay for postpartum doula services for a woman in need. We are so excited to be able to help fill this gap in care in our community and look forward to growing this program and be able to adequately reach out to those who need a doula.
Angie Rosier has been a doula since 2003 and has attended over 1,000 births. She lives in Salt Lake with her husband and 5 children and is the current president of the Utah Doula Association and owner at birthlearning.com.