Contracts set out the obligations of both parties so that everyone is clear on what is expected, help to lesson potential misunderstandings and defines responsibility on both sides.
Here is a list of things you can check when looking for someone to support you during your pregnancy, birth and postpartum:
- Does it define the provider's scope of practice and their skill set?
- Does the contract set out in clear terms what services you will receive and when they are available to you? - Do you know exactly what you are getting for your money?
- Is it realistic and relative to their expertise or comparable to other service providers in the area with the same skills and experience?
- When is your Doula on call for you and how and when should you contact them?
- Do you understand your responsibilities eg communication, payment, things to organise etc ?
- What happens if your birth worker doesn't provide the services agreed to? She might offer different options depending on the reasons she couldn't provide the services ie The remedy for you not notifying them about your birth will be different than if she was sick and unable to attend you.
- Does the contract clearly state if a back-up is available to you, under what circumstances refunds or credit for the provider's other services may be offered?
- How do you go about adding in extra services from your specialist if you decide you want these later down the track and what are the payment options?
- Does the agreement let you know when your payments are due so you can plan for it in your budget? Please let your birth professional know if you can't make a payment on time so a mutually agreeable arrangement can be made. We understand things can happen beyond your control but we hate chasing clients for payments as much as the next person.
Remember that while birth-work is a heart calling for many of us and a job we love, it is still a business that needs to be run with sustainability. Would you ask other service providers like your hairdresser, mechanic or dentist for that discount, extra service for free or forget to pay them all of their fee they have worked hard for?
She provides placenta encapsulation and in-home support to families in their fourth trimester.