Most people have never heard of a doula, let alone know what they do. Yet many women after their births will reflect that they really could have done with someone extra at their birth; someone, who was there just for them. Someone who would have supported them and their choices, someone who would have helped them navigate the Irish Maternity System and someone who might have helped them make sense of it all afterwards.
The word doula comes from a Greek word meaning she would serves. The role of a doula is to be there, and to serve a pregnant woman and her family during pregnancy, labour birth and beyond.
A doula provides emotional support and physical comfort measures. She is also a fountain of knowledge with respect to how to approach birth, with respect to hospital labour and birth, procedures and the latest evidenced based research in pregnancy labour and birth.So in this way she is able to provide you with informational support. Most doulas have had babies of their own, but not all. I have had three children.
A doula walks the journey of pregnancy and birth with you and your family. she (and very occasionally he), will visit you at home during your pregnancy to get to know you and how to best support you. She will be on call for you from 37-38 weeks to 42 weeks and be able to support you emotionally and with basic comfort measures during early labour at home. She will attend the hospital with you if you are having a hospital birth and support you and your partner during your labour. After you have had your baby she will stay with you for a few hours until you feel happy for her to leave. Whether you have your baby by caesarean or normally your doula will be there to support you.