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What is a Doula?

Motherhood . . . this is the image that is portrayed, but it is often very far from the truth.

In today's society many women don't get the chance to enjoy their pregnancy, labour and new baby with the pressures society place upon them.

"Doula" (pronounced "doola") is a Greek word meaning "woman servant or care-giver". In today's society it now refers to an experienced woman who offers emotional and practical support to a woman (or couple) before, during and after childbirth. A doula believes in “mothering the mother” - enabling a woman to have the most satisfying and empowered time that she can during pregnancy, birth and the early days as a new mum. This type of support also helps the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience.

Birth doulas are trained and experienced in childbirth, although they may or may not have given birth themselves. They have a good knowledge and awareness of female physiology BUT the doula is not supporting the mother in a clinical role - that is the job of the midwife/medical staff and the doula never takes on this roll.

Postnatal doulas work flexible hours to suit the family, offering practical and emotional support to the new mother and father in the home following the birth of their baby. In the West today, too often mothers are rushed back into normal day-to-day activities; in many cultures women are confined to bed and rest for a period of up to 40 days. This may be impossible in our society but with the help of a postnatal doula, a mother can enjoy some of the benefits of a prolonged "lying in" period. This will help her bond with her baby and spend extra time with any older siblings. Our work is about empowering a family to take care of itself and we facilitate this by helping around the house and offering encouragement and suggestions.

Why Use A Doula?

Research has shown that having a Doula alongside you during the birth process can lead to:

50% reduction of cesarean rate.
25% shorter labour.
60% reduction in epidural request.
30% reduction in analgesia used.
40% reduction in forceps delivery.

Source - "Mothering the Mother". (Klaus, Kennell & Klaus, 1993)

Here are some vital statistics:

                                                               No Doula   Doula

Caesarean Deliveries                                    18%           8%

Forceps Delivery                                          26%           8%

Epidural                                                      55%           8%

Prolonged Breastfeeding                               29%           51%


We are a network of doulas who have trained and are really eager to help other women throught the pregnancy, birth and postnatal period of their new baby arriving.

We are from all over Northern Ireland and we all have the same aim in mind, to make the arrival of the new baby a beautiful one to remember. We are a non-profit organisation and we try to accommadate every family that comes to us looking our help.

Our funding (when available) allows us to offer our service to underprivilaged families free (for more information on this contact

We cover a wide range of problems like, breastfeeding, postnatal depression, birth physiology, pre-eclampsia, to name but a few our list in endless.

Many of us have experienced difficult births/postnatal problems and therefore know what it is like to be frightened and have no where to turn to.

A number of us are breastfeeding peer supporters so we are trained to deal with any breastfeeding problems that may develop.


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