What is a Doula?
The word "Doula" (Greek in origin) was traditionally used to signify a woman servant or caregiver who attended women during birth and the postnatal period. Nowadays the word “doula” is used to describe someone who attends women during labour and after the birth, but the emphasis now is as much on assisting the empowerment of women through the birthing process as it is on providing practical physical and emotional support.
There are two categories of doulas:
Birth Doulas - These doulas work with women during the antenatal and labour/birth period.
Emotional support (continuous support, reassurance and encouragement)
Informational support (information gathering, explanation of procedures)
Physical support (comfort measures, massage, relaxation and positioning etc.)
Postpartum Doulas / Postnatal Doulas - These doulas work with women after the birth.
Some of the services postnatal doulas provide are
Maternal care - emotional support, knowledge of postpartum health and recovery from birth, evidence-based information on infant feeding, breastfeeding support
Newborn care - bathing, changing, feeding and comforting
Household tasks - light housekeeping, meal preparation, grocery shopping
Undisturbed rest time while someone listens for the baby
Timely referrals to vetted professionals if required
From DAI Website
West Coast Doulas
Doula Association of Ireland - www.doula.ie
DONA International - www.dona.org
See my Code of Ethics and Scope of Practice here
Cochrane Review 2017 summary - here
Continuous support for women during childbirth
Gentlebirth - www.gentlebirth.com
Cuidiu - Irish Childbirth Trust
Association for the Improvement of Maternity Services Ireland
National Clinical Guidelines in Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Breastfeeding Made Simple - Breastfeedingmadesimple.com
Videos to watch:
Cervical Dilation Video balloon example here
Baby's first crawl / Breast Crawl here
Attaching your baby to the breast here
Laid Back Breastfeeding / Biological Nurturing - search on youtube
Paced bottle feeding here