pregnancy & baby festival

O'Reilly Hall, UCD, Dublin
22-23 February 2014, 10am - 5pm


Nurture – It really is okay to talk about it!

One of our goals at babytalk is to raise awareness of the fantastic supports and organisations that we have here in Ireland for families and parents-to-be. One of these orgnaisations is Nurture, who took part in our information station.

Nurture is an Irish charity who offer timely and affordable professional counselling and supports surrounding pregnancy and childbirth mental health illnesses & emotional wellbeing to women, their partners and families in Ireland.

Some of the areas in which Nurture offers support and/or counselling include:

  • Infertility
  • IVF Disappointment
  • Depression during Pregnancy
  • Baby Blues
  • Postnatal Depression
  • Pregnancy Loss
  • Newborn Loss
  • Premature Births
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Postpartum Psychosis
  • Men and Postnatal Depression

If you or someone you know is going through a difficult time in pregnancy, as a new parent or in any of the other other instances listed above Nurture are there to help. You can contact Nurture on 01 8430930 or email

Nurtures counsellors offer compassion and respect to every woman, man and family who contacts them and attends their support services. Their counsellors are kind, friendly and extremely understanding women and men. They are more than respectful to every personal situation and offer each individual a confidential, judgement-free, independent counselling service.

Nurture are organising an Emotional Wellbeing Education Conference on Saturday 10th May 2014 in the Gresham Hotel which has some fantastic speakers and topics – for more information visit their website.

Car Seat checking at babytalk festival


We’re delighted to announce that the Road Safety Authority’s “Check it Fits” service will be present at babytalk festival!

The “Check It Fits” service will be stationed in one of our lovely large car parks, where you can get your car seat checked to ensure it is fitted correctly. The service is fast, convenient and free of charge to all festival attendees.

3 out of 4 child car seats are incorrectly fitted in cars in Ireland, so why not get your car seat checked for peace of mind when at the festival.

There will be trained experts on hand who are familiar with almost every child car seat on the market and who can check your car seat and answer any questions you may have.

Check it fits will be on site from 10am – 5pm on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd. For more information visit the “check it fits” page.

Doulas do what?

Guest post from Tracy Donegan of  GentleBirth – a babytalk exhibitor.

Professional Portraits

Tracy Donegan RM – Founder of Doula Ireland

Although Doula services have only been available in Ireland since 2005.  The work of the Doula extends back to ancient Greek times when the Doula was household servant who provided extra care and emotional support and encouragement to a labouring mother. In more recent times research positively shows that mothers who have a Doula with them in hospital (or at home) have less caesareans and less routine interventions. Doulas are welcome in all Irish hospitals and a welcome addition to our over stretched maternity services where 1:1 care in labour is not always possible.

What is the difference between a Doula and a midwife?
Doulas do not perform any clinical tasks. Your midwife is responsible for your clinical care as well as physical and emotional support but your doula is 100% focused on only your emotional and physical comfort. This is the part of the job that midwives enjoy the most but with current staffing levels, policies and procedures it can be impossible to provide that extra support a Mum needs. Although all hospitals promise one to one support throughout your labour this isn’t always the case and you do not know the midwife and the midwife does not know you. Your doula does not replace your midwife but works along side her as she completes clinical tasks and documentation. Your doula fills that gap when your midwife is busy with other tasks/breaks or goes home at the end of her shift.

Over 20 years of research shows that the presence of a birth doula has a significant impact on the outcomes of births.

  • 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin (drip to speed up labour)
  • 28% decrease in the risk of having a caesarean section
  • 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
  • 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
  • 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
  • 34% decrease incidences of being dissatisfied with the birth experience

My partner will be there and he has been to all the antenatal classes with me – why would I need a doula?
A good antenatal class is essential for positive birth preparation but the intensity of emotion surrounding the birth of his baby….while providing support to you AND remembering everything he learned in the class is a big responsibility.  Having a doula with you means Dad can participate in a way that is comfortable for him. Your doula can remind birth partners about what they learned in the antenatal classes if necessary.
 Here’s one of my favorite analogies: if your partner is a football fan he’s probably seen plenty of matches on TV….maybe he plays in a league on Tuesday nights…but tomorrow he’s going to be expected to coach in the World Cup. How confident would he feel?

Will my partner feel left out if I have a doula?
Having a doula helps Dads to provide meaningful support to their partners. Some partners are concerned the doula will ‘take over’ during labour. Sometimes Mums feel they don’t need a doula because their partner will be with them on the day. Your doula supports you both. Most partners have never supported a woman in labour before, have limited knowledge about what really happens in birth or the workings of the hospital and will need to leave you for bathroom breaks or sometimes during medical procedures. Some partners are apprehensive about having a doula before meeting us but this is seldom a concern after the initial meeting. Partners report that after the birth they felt reassured having a doula present and found having the doula helped them be as involved as they wanted to. Dads feel much more confident when they are given the tools to advocate for mum. We spend a significant amount of time working with you and your partner so they feel very capable and confident at the hospital.

I’m a very private person – isn’t the doula a stranger ?
For most Mums their midwife is a stranger too. But we will have spent quite a bit of time getting to know each other during our meetings in pregnancy before your baby’s birth. Think of your doula as a good friend who’ll be with you during the birth and after.

For more information on doula services around Ireland visit or


Tracy Donegan is the Founder of Doula Ireland, the first service to offer Doula care in Ireland in 2005.  Tracy is a Registered Midwife and used the services of a Doula for both of her sons births.  Tracy is certified with DONA International and provides accredited birth Doula training in Ireland and abroad. Tracy is also the Author of The Irish Better Birth Book, The Irish Caesarean and VBAC Guide and Founder of GentleBirth.

On the front page!

Irish times 1

Babytalk in the Irish Times Health and Family Supplement

I nearly fell over my feet this morning as I rushed down to my local newsagents to pick up a copy of Today’s Irish Times. There on the front cover was an advert for our article! It’s a very difficult thing to do – walk and read a newspaper (I nearly walked into a bin trying) so I rushed home with Juliet to read the double page spread.

It’s a fab article by Sheila Wayman about navigating your way as a new parent amid lots of conflicting advice and misinformation. It features insightful quotes from our many excellent speakers and gives some background into the story behind Babytalk and what will be happening at the festival over the weekend of the 22nd & 23rd of February.

The photo shoot took place at our gorgeous venue – O’Reilly Hall, UCD, you can see the lake and fountains in the background of the cover shot. Marie and Juliet look great – I really wish I had taken the time to brush my hair before the shoot, but in true Mammy style it’s a little less than perfect – Juliet had been playing with it just before the shots!

Irish times 2
Marie, Rachel and Juliet in the light filled cafe area of O’Reilly Hall, UCD

Quick, run down to your local shop and get a copy for yourself or read the article online to find out all about the festival!