Terms and Conditions and Expectations

Thank you for choosing to book.  Here’s clear guidelines and what to expect now.

As birth work is by nature extremely unpredictable, it’s important that there are clear expectations so that everyone knows the process of working together.

Here’s a breakdown to how the fees will be invoiced

For birth ONLY:

  • On booking, a deposit of 50% this is non-refundable
  • 2 weeks post birth, 50% of the agreed birth fee

For birth AND postnatal bookings:

  • On booking, a deposit of 50% of the birth fee and 20 hours of postnatal support (please note that 4-6 hours of postnatal support are already included in the birth fee so this means 24-26 hours of postnatal care)
  • 2 weeks post birth, 50% of the agreed birth fee and any additional hours of postnatal support
  • Ongoing basis – any additional hours over the 20 hours of postnatal support every fortnight

For postnatal bookings ONLY:

  • On booking – 20 hours deposit (non-refundable)
  • Ongoing basis – any additional hours over the 20 hours of postnatal support are billed every fortnight in arrears

Back up doula (ie back up)

For every booking, there’s a small chance there will be days in the on call period that cannot be fulfilled due to personal reasons, illness or other business commitments (ie clients giving birth out with their 38+ week dates, at another birth, or at another work related event).

At booking, dates and other commitments that I know I cannot cover will be discussed.  Any additional dates will be given to the client as soon as is possible.  And I’ll provide to you details of a back up doula for those dates/times.

In the case of an emergency, I will provide to you a list of TRUSTED back up doulas for you to select from.

It is entirely up to the client to decide if they should wish to go ahead with the back up doula or have no doula.

If the client chooses to have no doula present because I am unable to make it and there is a suitable doula available, the full fee will still be charged.

Antenatal appointments

In some specific situations, the client may need to go to additional antenatal appointments (i.e. meetings with health care professionals).  I am happy to come to some of these where the client chooses.

Keeping in touch – the on call period

For most births, from week 38 is the oncall period.  During this time, it would be expected to be in touch every few days.  I normally try to contact you each Monday and Thursday to remain consistent.  If there are appointments, I can come with you to appointments where I am free.  My phone will be charged and with me 24 hours a day from that time period.

In terms of allowing me to make arrangements so I can be fully available to you and not worry about my children, I need as much notice as possible.  Should you be experiencing any pre-labour warning signs (loss of mucous plug, lower back pain, mild period like cramps, unusual bowel movements, waters breaking, regular contractions etc), then please let me know as soon as you can.  I prefer frequent keeping in touch rather than ‘I don’t want to bother her’. And I also prefer regular phone calls rather than texting as it’s quicker – even if during the night.

If you happen to give birth out with the oncall period – I will do my best to be there but I can’t guarantee – I may have other clients I’m supporting at this time, I may have booked a holiday, I may be having a well deserved night out.  I will always do my best to be there as I care that you are supported at your birth.

If you are expecting twins or have a history of pre-maturity, we might decide together to change the on-call period or have a very flexible on-call understanding.

When will I come to you?

I will come to you when you ask me to be with you.  Every situation is different and it might be that I come to you and decide to come back in a while or that I stay as I feel you need me or are further on that you realised.  What experience so far has taught me is that having full energy means I can support you better than when I am exhausted.  I, however, also like to make physical contact with you in person so I can fully gauge the situation.  It’s much more important to me that I’m called too early than too late and that we keep communication really open and frequent.   Please allow AT LEAST ONE HOUR for me to get to you – if we’ve been in regular touch then I should have an idea of when you will need me. Regular being in touch is vital.

What will I do?

I am there to provide you with female emotional and physical presence through birth.  I sometimes might not do very much if your birth is going well.  However, where you need support I might provide some physical massage, I might provide suggestions for good positioning, I might provide ideas about how to help labour progress etc.  I might provide you with information so you can make choices around your birth and where needed, advocacy.  I will not make decisions for you. I will help you get the information necessary to make an informed choice. I do not perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal assessments, vaginal exams, etc.  I hope to be a witness to your birth and keep you in the right mental and physical mindset to be able to enjoy your birth.

Inductions

Due to the nature of inductions, you may be at the hospital several hours/days without you needing my constant presence. Be sure to stay in communication with me so I can provide tips for comfort and progress. Together, we will decide when it is best to join your labour.

When will I leave?

After your birth, I will remain with you until you are comfortable and your family is ready for private time together. I can assist you with your initial breastfeeding latch, if necessary. I am available for phone and email contact to answer any questions you may have.

If your birth requires surgery, it may be appropriate at the time for me to leave the birth dependent on hospital policies – each situation is different and I will where possible endeavour to stay with you throughout the birth but cannot guarantee this where there is surgical intervention following a long labour.  If I am the SOLE birth partner, I will not leave you until you are settled into the postnatal ward.

Shared understanding

I understand that birth is a monumental time for you and I will work with you to ensure we have the best birth possible for you and your family.  I will respond to you as soon as I can on every occasion and do my up most to be fully embedded in your situation and support you fully.

I ask that you have an understanding that I am self-employed and thereby charge for my services and that you, as a client, are paying for this private support as you would for any other service in your life (ie dentist, therapist, plumber, etc).

I ask that you understand that I am a mum, that my priority is at all times with my family and that to be good at my job, I need you to respect that and keep regular communication so that I can ensure that whilst I am with you at birth, I am fully confident that they are happy and thereby I can leave that part of me behind for the time I am with you.

I ask that you understand that I am fully committed to every client, that I take my job seriously, that I love seeing a birth through to the end.  I will at all times be professional, be aware of boundaries and treat you with respect and love.

What happens if I don’t make your birth?

IN VERY RARE (IN FACT NEVER YET OCCURRED CIRCUMSTANCES), I will not make a birth for whatever reason.  Here’s how it works:

  • If I don’t make the birth because the client hasn’t got in touch in time (see Keeping in Touch/Shared Understanding), 100% of the fee will still be charged as I have made myself available for that time
  • If I don’t make the birth due to illness/other family emergency/I’m at another birth or it’s a date that you are aware of that I can’t be available, and you have chosen not to have a back up, 75% of the fee will still be charged
  • If myself or a back up don’t attend the birth because we have messed up with childcare/logistics/other, then only the deposit is charged and I will work with you post birth as normal

What happens if you birth before 38 weeks?

I will try my up most to be there regardless of when you birth but due to my own other commitments I might not be able to manage it.  Here’s how it works:

  • If I can be present at your birth, I will still charge the full fee
  • If I can’t be there, I will charge the 50% deposit for antenatal support and two-three postnatal visits and any extra support you might need – ie telephone support to help with breastfeeding or other

What happens if something happens to your baby?

The deposit is non-refundable but I will not charge the full fee.  I will still be 100% present for you and your baby and your birth and try to still make it as special a birth as it can be.  I will provide as much support as I can through the process and help connect you with local organisations that can support you.

Exclusivity 

As I am currently turning away clients each month, if you would like EXCLUSIVE doula support – that is – that I don’t take on any additional clients during your full on call 4 week period – there is an additional charge of £400.  As birth is so unpredictable, we have to trust that if I’m meant to be at your birth, I will be.  You will always be offered a backup doula which you can choose or not as above.  I need to make a salary to contribute to my family to allow me to continue to do this work and as such, sometimes that does mean balancing clients.

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