Making Birth Doula Care Accessible: The Green Bottle Sliding Scale Method

by Brood

At Brood, we believe that everyone deserves access to quality doula care, no matter their family finances or care budget. That’s why we offer a sliding scale for all our birth doula services! In this blog post, we’ll talk a bit more about why we’ve chosen this approach, its origins and how it benefits our families, our care team and our community. 

The Green Bottle Method was first introduced by Alexis J. Cunningfolk. Cunningfolk explains it further “The sliding scale is a tool that allows for a product or service to be obtained at multiple price points based on the circumstances of the purchaser… It represents the idea that financial resources, including income, are not and should not be the only determining factor in whether or not someone can access services/care/etc”. This approach enables families who might otherwise face exclusion due to cost, be able to access care. If some people pay more, and some pay less, the idea is that it equals out so that the doulas themselves are fairly compensated overall. 

We’ve adopted this incredible method at Brood for our Birth Doula Services, families review their care budget based on their overall financial circumstances, and then pick a birth package amount within the sliding scale each doula offers. 

Here are some of the reasons why we believe this is a valuable tool, and why we’ve chosen to integrate it into our pricing model.

Our Commitment to Community-Led Care

At the heart of Brood’s mission is our commitment to community-led care. We believe that care should be accessible to all, and that means recognizing the diverse financial circumstances of our clients. By offering a sliding scale for birth services, we empower individuals and families to access the care they need, in turn facing fewer financial barriers. Although our green bottle and sliding scale method is not applied to postpartum doula services, we also offer free online education, as well as workshops and prenatal classes by donation so that everyone can be a part of our Brood.

Why Sliding Scale Matters in Birth Work

The importance of the sliding scale in birth work cannot be overstated. Birth is a fundamental human experience, and everyone deserves to feel supported and cared for during this transformative time.  The core of a doula’s work is building a foundation for a person’s reproductive journey upon the four pillars of advocacy, protection, affirmation, and validation. Many birth workers believe their work is reproductive justice, and this tool is one for economic justice. 

Determining Your Place on the Sliding Scale

We understand that navigating the sliding scale can feel daunting. That’s why we’re committed to making the process as transparent and straightforward as possible. Start by answering the questions in the image and guide below, as this is meant to point you in the right direction! We believe in transparency and we trust our clients to provide accurate information about their financial situations. The questions are also listed below. Please note that each doula has different sets of pricing at a low, and higher price range, depending on their experience, the contents of their package, who they are hoping to support, and more. These are listed on their doula pages and on their package documents.

Sliding Scale & The Green Bottle Method Questions

Take a look at the questions below, and if you answer most of the questions from one of the bottles/buckets, that is the price bracket you should be placed in. A couple things to note about the language used: basic needs* include food, housing, health care, and transportation and expendable income** might mean you are able to buy coffee or tea at a shop, go to the movies or a concert, buy new clothes, books, and similar items each month, etc.

Top of the Scale (or the left bottle) – This places you in the Doulas Top Price Bracket

  • I am comfortably able to meet all of my basic* needs
  • I may have some debt but it does not prohibit attainment of basic needs
  • I own my home or property OR I rent a higher-end property
  • I own or lease a car
  • I am employed or do not need to work to meet my needs
  • I have regular access to health care
  • I have access to financial savings
  • I have an expendable** income
  • I can always buy new items
  • I can afford an annual vacation or take time off

Middle of the Scale (or the middle bottle) – This places you in the Middle of the Doula’s Price Bracket

  • I may stress about meeting my basic needs but still regularly achieve them
  • I may have some debt but it does not prohibit attainment of basic needs
  • I own or lease a car
  • I am employed
  • I have access to health care
  • I might have access to financial savings
  • I have some expendable income
  • I am able to buy some new items & I thrift others
  • I can take a vacation annually or every few years without financial burden

Bottom of the Scale (or the right bottle) – This places you in the Doula’s Lower Price Bracket 

  • I frequently stress about meeting basic needs & don’t always achieve them
  • I have debt and it sometimes prohibits me from meeting my basic needs
  • I rent lower-end properties or have unstable housing
  • I do not have a car and/or have limited access to a car but I am not always able to afford gas
  • I am unemployed or underemployed
  • I qualify for government assistance including food stamps & health care
  • I have no access to savings
  • I have no or very limited expendable income
  • I rarely buy new items because I am unable to afford them
  • I cannot afford a vacation or have the ability to take time off without financial burden

The Scale and Our Care is Based on Trust

The Green Bottle Method and sliding scale payment structures are built on trust. So is the care our doulas provides, as you’ve trusted us and welcomed us into your home and to support your family. If you have any questions or need support in figuring out how to answer these questions, we are here to support you!

At Brood we believe that everyone deserves to thrive, and that starts with access to essential healthcare services. When individuals and families feel supported and empowered, our entire community benefits. We’re committed to reducing barriers to care in every way we can. Our sliding scale is just one of the ways we’re working to make birth care more accessible and inclusive. 

Interested in working with one of our birth doulas? Check out our amazing team here or get in touch.

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more about the sliding scale method and its impact on birth care, we encourage you to explore the following resources:

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We work and live on the unceded and occupied territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Since time immemorial, the original peoples of these lands have cared for their families and communities. We are committed to honouring their teachings, legacy and their sovereignty.

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