Postpartum doula services can be incredibly helpful both during the birth of your baby, but especially after you have had the baby. In addition to emotional support, a new mother will need physical support with infant care. The care of your baby can be exhausting in the postpartum period.
A postpartum doula services contract is a written agreement between a postpartum doula and their client, outlining the terms of the services to be provided. The contract typically includes information like services, terms of payment, privacy, and clauses for special circumstances like severe weather or unpredictable scheduling conflicts. Here is an overview of the types of things that should be included in an agreement between a new mom and their postpartum doula.
A detailed description of the services the doula will provide, including the number of hours during postpartum visits, the type of newborn care (diaper changes, baths, etc), any labor support before the birth of the child, and the specific duties the doula is able and willing to provide. While birth doula services do not include medical advice, they may include informational support on postpartum care. If a new family expects major housecleaning tasks, this will likely be additional costs to the family. Doulas will usually wash the bottles of the baby, but will typically not do dishes for the household.
The postpartum doula contract should also contain a schedule. This schedule should be adhered to as best as possible so that the family knows when they will have the hours of postpartum support. It should include not just a weekly schedule but also how many months total the contract will last for. In the event of illness on the part of the doula, the contract should state if there will be a backup doula available. Birth doulas and postpartum doulas may have different contracts.
Payment & Cancellation
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The contract should also clearly state how the fees will be broken down. If there is a nightly rate or an hourly rate. There should also be a provision for overtime or additional hours. If a doula shows up late, there should also be a provision in the contract for this especially if the compensation is nightly rather than hourly. In general, to avoid over or under payment, it is best to have an hourly rate.
A payment schedule should be mutually decided on by both parties. The best way to handle a payment schedule is to pay the doula after each night or day of service. This way if the arrangement is not working out, either party can decide to terminate the agreement at any time. A reason for early termination may be that the family does not feel comfortable or does not feel that they can trust the doula. A reason for early termination on the doula’s side may be that the doula does not feel safe in the family’s home. There may be special circumstances that arise and for this reason, it is best to pay your doula after each night or after each day of service.
The contract between a new family and a doula should also have a cancellation policy. Since the due date of a new baby is unpredictable and birth plans can sometimes change, it is important that there is a cancellation policy. Many doulas have their clients booked out months in advance and if a family cancels on them, it may be difficult for them to find work in a short period of time. Likewise, parents who have little support, may be relying on paid help when they leave the hospital and a cancellation policy should include some assistance in finding another suitable doula for the job.
In the unfortunate situation that a termination of the contract is necessary, it is important to include a termination policy. Most doula positions are at will positions. In most cases, either party can terminate the agreement at any time for any reason or for no reason at all. This is likely the simplest option for most people.
It’s important to have expectations in place on both ends when it comes to a postpartum doula working with a family. This article is for educational purposes only and is not formal legal advice. It is important to talk to a lawyer or qualified legal professional that can help you determine what is the best way to enter into an agreement like this.
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