What is a Doula?

A doula is a professional, non-medical companion trained in the needs of the family. They provide clients with continuous support during pregnancy, labour and birth, and the postpartum period.

Doulas may also offer support through other significant life experiences such as miscarriage, termination, debilitating illness, or end of life.

BIRTH DOULAS offer constant, non-medical support to the birthing woman/person and their birth partner/s. They help families during pregnancy, labour, and birth by providing informational, practical, emotional, and physical support.

Birth doulas will

  • Recognise that childbirth is an incredibly important life experience.

  • Have no agenda other than using their extensive knowledge of the process of childbirth to support the needs and choices of their clients.
  • Make sure evidence-based information is available so clients can confidently draft a Birth Plan or Birth Preferences.
  • Support and strengthen the birth partner’s role (if a birth partner is present).
  • Stay with their clients throughout labour, providing continuous support.

  • Be objective in supporting their clients, providing emotional support and physical comfort measures.

  • Facilitate communication between clients and medical care providers, helping clients advocate for themselves.

  • Be dedicated to creating a birth environment that reflects the clients’ wishes.

  • Be directly employed by their clients, as doulas are not affiliated with any maternity care providers such as hospitals, obstetricians, or midwives.

  • Respect your privacy and maintain confidentiality of all details relating to your pregnancy, labour, and birth experience.

POSTPARTUM DOULAS offer non-medical support to new parents and their families. Their focus includes post-birth recovery, changing family dynamics, and newborn care. They provide informational, practical, emotional, and physical support.

Postpartum doulas will

  • Recognise that becoming a parent is an important, life-changing event and a vulnerable transition phase.

  • Offer non-judgmental emotional and physical support during the early days, weeks, or months with a new baby.

  • Be dedicated to holding space for postpartum recovery, including rest, physical comfort, and proper nutrition.

  • Listen to their clients’ birth story, honouring their experience and often assisting in processing it.

  • Provide access to current, evidence-based information to facilitate an environment that encourages new parents to discover and develop their own way of parenting.

  • Assist with peripheral activities, such as light household chores and organisation, so the birthing person can recover and the family can bond.

  • Assist with essential activities, such as newborn care, family adjustment, feeding options, and safe sleep strategies.

  • Share their resources and suggest appropriate referrals to other complementary service providers if necessary.

  • Be present when needed, attending the family for set times where they can provide the most support.

  • Respect your privacy and maintain confidentiality of all details relating to your postnatal period.

Doulas will not

Professionally trained doulas take their scope of practice very seriously and fully understand the limitations of their services.

DAI members also abide by a common Code of Ethics which states some of their responsibilities, expected professional conduct, and shared ethos.

Many doulas have taken additional trainings in related areas and are able to provide other services. Those may be included in birth and/or postpartum service packages they offer; however, keep in mind those services are not being provided under the Doula role.

  • Perform clinical tasks.

  • Diagnose medical conditions.

  • Provide medical care or advice to parent and/or baby.

  • Make decisions for or speak to medical personnel on behalf of clients.

  • Offer advice or their opinion. They provide access to information, so that clients can make their own confident, informed decisions.

  • Have any agenda regarding their clients’ birth or parenting choices, acknowledging that this is a personal experience and they are facilitators, not directors.

  • Take control over baby care or provide baby-sitting services.

Find Your Doula

DAI members come from several countries around the world, have diverse professional backgrounds, and are located throughout Ireland. We are sure a perfect match is there for you!