As a professional business, one extremely vital piece is your contract. Having a legal document to protect both you and your client is so important.
A good, legal contract will include information in several areas. Let’s break them down.
One of the first things you’ll describe are the services you will provide to your client. This includes what you’ll do for them prenatally, on-call time, during labor and birth, and postpartum. Birth Beautifully certified birth doula contracts also include a note that we work on behalf of our client only, not a provider or hospital, and that we do not approve or disapprove of our clients’ decisions, we only offer support for what they decide. We are also not responsible for specific outcomes – ideal or not.
It is also important to have a section that lists what you do not do as their doula, including clinical/medical care/diagnosis/treatment, and other things that are out of scope.
A contract clearly states the responsibilities of both parties, so it is necessary to have a section that lists the things required of your client. These items would include communication regarding changes in health status and notification of the onset of labor. We also suggest including a section on the client and your own responsibilities regarding induction. Be sure to note when and how deposits and other payments are expected, and what will happen if those deadlines are not met. Any fees for additional face-to-face hours, travel fees, and the like should also be clearly noted.
Refunds and Release of Liability
Each business owner has to make decisions regarding what situations (if any) would allow for refunds. To discuss this in depth, consider Birth Beautifully’s doula mentoring service. Precipitous labor and birth, Cesarean, or a client changing her mind about doula support after the contract is signed are not grounds for refunds.
The release of liability section distinctly states that by signing the contract, the client takes responsibility for all decisions and outcomes, and will not hold the doula responsible should something occur that the client did not want. We recommend that you have your own attorney (in your state) review your contract to be sure it is legal and binding.
Birth Beautifully offers many resources for birth workers to help them get their businesses running smoothly and successfully, including a downloadable contract that you can use in your business! Visit the Birth Beautifully shop or get in touch with us for information on our Doula Mentoring service. We are here to help you succeed!