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What is a Doula?

Doula is pronounced "doo la", this word has its origins from the Ancient Greek word "slave" or "female servant".
The concept of having a companion providing support to the birthing woman dates back to prehistoric times, evidenced by archaeological findings of stone carvings and statues and anthropological studies. [1] 

Doulas gained popularity during the 1980s when women became distressed at the ever-increasing rate of caesarean sections.[2]

A Doula is someone that gives emotional, informational (based on scientific evidence) and even physical support to pregnant women and people, but they can also help the entire family with adjusting to their new lives.
Doulas are there to listen, give confidence and not judge. Offering flexible, practical and emotional support in homes, in hospitals or now more commonly digitally.
Ânia Freitas Doula by Bruna Amaral

About Ânia

Hello, my name is Ânia I am a pregnancy, birth, postnatal doula based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I was born in one of the most beautiful islands of the Atlantic, Madeira in Portugal. I have travelled a bit around the world and lived in different countries and learned from different cultures, but was in Belfast that I decided to settle and is where I now call home. I am mother of 2 gorgeous children born in 2017 and 2020, they were both born in a Belfast local hospital. I have been working for a local homeless charity for more than 8 years.


The idea of becoming a doula was suggested by two friends of mine (they actually don’t know each other but they both felt the same way in relation to this).  They recognised my passion for everything related to pregnancy, birth and parenthood, but especially supporting people through their journeys, and they planted that seed. I then started looking more into the role of a doula and the more I searched the more I felt that this was something that I really wanted to dedicate my time and energy (supporting people). After having my second baby in May 2020 I felt that this experience has been completely different from my first born,  due to the pandemic situation a lot of people lacked support nowadays a lot of families don’t have their “villages or tribes“ to support them.

Image by Christin Hume


Supporting families through pregnancy loss and the death of a baby - webinar

Sands (2022)

International Symposium of Birth Assistance (Online)

Ana Cristina Duarte (2022)

3rd Edition of the Humanization Conference:Evidence-Based labour and Childbirth

Doulas para Todas (2022)

Extension Course for Doulas

Matrona – Liga Humanista (2022)

Born with Rights (in Portugal)

Mia Negrão (2021)

Pelvic Health for Professionals

Sílvia Dias (PhysioDoula) (2021)

Paranama Doula Course

Dr Michel Oden and Liliana Lammers (2021)

Consent: Rights in Childbirth Workshop

Emma Ashworth, Verina Henchy and Maddie McMahon (2021)

Birth and Posnatal Doula Preparation Course

Developing Doulas (2021)

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