New doula service to support West Cork women through pregnancy and birth


Posted on: 9th March, 2015

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

Pictured above: Heather Pabiou and Zoë Kingston are both professional doulas.

A new service, which is all about ‘Mothering the Mother’, will provide professional birth assistance and postpartum support from trained doulas for West Cork women.

Originating from a Greek word, meaning woman who serves — in today’s society the aim of the doula is to provide gentle and caring physical and emotional support, information and companionship to birthing mothers and their families during the pregnancy, labour, birthing and post-partum processes.

Set up by West Cork mothers and professional doulas Zoë Kingston and Heather Pabiou, South West Doula Services, which is affiliated with the Doula Association of Ireland, will provide an independent source of support to pregnant women and new mothers in Cork, whether they are planning a hospital birth or home birth.

A doula is not a midwife, does not perform clinical or medical tasks and does not diagnose medical conditions or give medical advice. Mother of three, Zoë Kingston of South West Doula Services explains: “ We don’t give advice or express an opinion. Part of our role is to help the woman and her partner obtain the information they need from the healthcare professionals in order to make informed choices.”

“The other part is to provide continuous support and reassurance to the couple according to their birth preferences, as far as possible since labour is unpredictable,” says Heather Pabiou of South West Doula Services. “We aim to nurture the mothers’ memory of a positive birth experience”

A woman’s satisfaction with her birth experience and even her self-esteem has been shown to improve with the assistance of a doula through childbirth. Some of the benefits of employing the assistance of a doula include the shortening of first-time labour by an average of two hours; a 50 per cent decrease in the chance of a caesarean section; a decrease in the need for pain medication; greater participation with more confidence by fathers; and increased success in breastfeeding.

Heather, also a mother of three children, feels that the act of giving birth, if positive, can instill lasting confidence in mothers to help in the journey of parenting.

The care provided by South West Doula Services will be tailored to meet the individual needs of the mother and her partner. “Doulas are highly supportive of the midwifery model of care,” explains Zoë “and together with the midwives, can form an effective team.”

Down through the ages, in nearly every culture in history, women have been surrounded and cared for by other women during childbirth. A trained doula is a compassionate, friendly presence on the side of the woman. “Our role is to empower the woman and her partner in what should be one of the most wonderful experiences of their lives,” says Heather. A doula is not there instead of a partner. “Exactly the opposite in fact,” Heather explains. “We encourage couples to work together as a team throughout the entire experience. We help the partner to help their loved one in labour.”

“Postpartum, we can provide breastfeeding support and give practical help (even making the dinner), reassurance and information on how to look after the needs of the newborn,” says Zoë.

The birth doula package offered by South West Doula Services includes one or more antenatal visits, ongoing phone/ email support, being on-call from 38 weeks to birth, continuous support throughout the labour and birth and one or more postnatal visits.

For more information or to make an appointment call Zoë 086 8571379 or Heather 086 8064886. Email

Latest News Articles:

Issue of childcare a major concern for 72 per cent of female entrepreneurs
Rain, slurry deadlines and housing
Celtic Ross Hotel awarded AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence
St. Joseph’s in Clonakilty looks back on 50 years of educating young girls
‘Operation Transformation’ for Young Beef Farmers
Macra President welcomes publication of EU Young Farmer Survey
Vital role of Focus in the West Cork community highlighted at Open Morning
Clonakilty Food Company opens new production facility in Clonakilty
Beara student one of three Cork students awarded €20,000 scholarship by Naughton Foundation
International success for Skibb rowers

Join us on Facebook

Bandon Walled Town Festival in looking for new ideas!
Would you like to get involved in the 2018 Festival?If you yourself would like to be involved in big or small way
... See MoreSee Less

11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
... See MoreSee Less

11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at or text at 086/0476124.
... See MoreSee Less

26th September, 2017  ·  

Jump to: