Our work

We provide free non-clinical support and education to women and gender diverse birthing people experiencing disadvantage in Melbourne, Australia

Our purpose

To achieve equitable maternal health and wellbeing for all by providing and advocating for respectful pregnancy, birth and early parenting support for people experiencing social and financial disadvantage in Melbourne, Australia

Our work

We believe that no one should birth alone.

Many pregnant women and gender diverse birthing people face complex barriers to seeking the support they need throughout pregnancy and early parenthood. Experiences of discrimination, limited accessibility to appropriate information, difficulty accessing interpreters, inability to access continuity of care and lower familial or emotional supports are just some of the factors that can affect maternal health outcomes in the Australia.

Since 2014, Birth for Humankind have been pioneering the delivery of community-based doula support for people experiencing disadvantage in Victoria. We provide marginalised women and birthing people with tailored social-emotional support throughout pregnancy and early parenting, which complements and enhances clinical care. This support facilitates informed decision-making, positive birth outcomes and experiences, as well as increased confidence and resources in the postnatal period.

Through our programmatic impact and evaluation, advocacy, and partnerships, we drive systemic change and improve maternal health equity.

Our programs and services include:

Doula support – our team of highly-skilled birth and postnatal support professionals (volunteer doulas) provide free and continuous personal, physical and emotional support – delivering more than 200 services per year.

Education resources – targeted pregnancy and childbirth education in community languages to increase preparedness and confidence for birth and early parenting and support women to navigate the Victorian maternal health system.

Research and advocacy – influencing the maternal health system to better support communities experiencing disadvantage through research, programmatic evidence and advocacy. We also provide professional development training to our doulas and maternal health workers, to provide improved support for women experiencing systemic disadvantage.

Foundational doula training – equips participants with skills and knowledge to support women through pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period, with a focus on health equity and a trauma-informed, culturally sensitive perspective. Scholarships to our doula training program are provided to women from diverse cultural backgrounds and with lived experience of disadvantage.

We receive referrals from major hospitals in Melbourne as well as self-referrals.

Who we support

Our clients are experiencing financial hardships but also face other intersectional disadvantages and a range of barriers to accessing equitable care.

We support people who are:

  • experiencing family violence, trauma or abuse
  • experiencing or at risk of perinatal depression or anxiety
  • experiencing homelessness
  • socially isolated with no other support person
  • experiencing or have a history of alcohol or drug misuse
  • new migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
  • under 25

Many of the people we support have diverse cultural backgrounds and speak various languages. We have a number of bicultural doulas and can help facilitate interpreter support at appointments, where possible.

Our approach to gender inclusivity

At Birth for Humankind, we provide safe, compassionate and personalised support to all people who are pregnant and birthing. And we recognise that transgender, non-binary and gender diverse people face unique barriers and experiences of disadvantage when pregnant and birthing.

Our language and organisational practices aim to include all gender diverse birthing people. We are committed to actively listening to the wider transgender, non-binary & gender diverse community as well as those using our services, and will continually re-evaluate our practices whenever necessary.

When working with clients or telling their stories, we always use their preferred pronouns and appropriate gendered language. When referring to external aspects of our work that uses gendered language, we use current terminology (for example, the maternal healthcare system) but apply our gender-inclusive principles. While we prioritise using gender affirming language, we also acknowledge the importance of sexed language and sex-specific clinical care.