To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “A Labor of Love: A Massage Doula Specialty Benefits Mothers and Babies,” by Judith Koch, in the March 2011 issue. Article summary: A growing number of massage therapists have found an exciting way to enhance their practices and take part in one of the most miraculous events known to humankind by becoming doulas.

by Judith Koch

Fees for doula services can range from $300 to $1,000 or higher for labor. These fees do not include the prenatal or postpartum massages.

It is standard in the doula community to charge a flat rate pricing for the birth, for practical reasons. With an hourly rate, the client may be tempted to not call the doula as soon as she should, and become too tense for the doula to be of maximum benefit when she finally does call. Or, she might call right away, and then be tempted to send the doula home when she needs her the most because she doesn’t want to pay any more.

This is a chance both parties take: The doula takes a chance of putting in a 36-hour marathon and the mother takes a chance of paying full price even if she delivers within a couple of hours.

Judith Koch has been a massage therapist since 1991, and a prenatal therapist and doula since 1993. She began teaching massage doula training in 1997. She is the director of education for the Institute of Somatic Therapy ( and serves on the advisory board of the American Pregnancy Massage Association.