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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

Useful Websites

West Coast Doulas

Doula Association of Ireland  -

DONA International -

See my Code of Ethics and Scope of Practice here

Cochrane Review 2017 summary - here

Continuous support for women during childbirth

Gentlebirth -

Cuidiu - Irish Childbirth Trust

Association for the Improvement of Maternity Services Ireland

National Clinical Guidelines in Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Breastfeeding Made Simple - 


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

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