Birth for HumanKind


Every doula counts, this World Doula Week

In November last year, we set about recruiting and training a cohort of bicultural doulas so that our team of volunteer doulas reflects the diversity of women we support. One of those women is Faith.
Yasmin and Nafisa
Image: Nynno Bel-Air

Birth for Humankind has launched ‘Every Doula Counts’, a new campaign to raise urgent funds and awareness for life-changing birth support for vulnerable women mums-to-be.

The Every Doula Counts campaign, which coincides with World Doula Week – a global movement raising awareness about the important role doulas can play in pregnancy, birth and early parenting – aims to raise funds and awareness so that more women experiencing disadvantage can receive free support by volunteer doulas through Birth for Humankind.

The importance of continuity of care from the same health professionals and birth support companions has been recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, this is not always the case in the Australian public health system.

Many women experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage do not see the same clinicians and over 80% of Birth for Humankind’s client have no other support person during birth – putting them at increased risk of poor health and wellbeing outcomes.

Doulas (derived from the Greek word meaning ‘servant of a woman’) provide non-clinical birth and parenting support to women and are proven to positively improve birth experiences, as well as ongoing maternal and child health outcomes.

“A volunteer doula, providing personal care and quietly advocating for her, can take a birthing parent’s experience from crisis to confidence.” said Ruth Dearnley, Birth for Humankind, Chief Executive Officer.

Birth for Humankind has provided support to over 300 women experiencing social and financial disadvantage. But many women across Victoria remain isolated during pregnancy and birth.

Research has shown that a doula being present during labour and birth can lead to a 50% decrease in caesarean sections, a 25% reduction in length of labour, a 60% decrease in use of forceps and a 30% decrease in use of pain medication (Klaus, Kennell and Klause, 2002).

Increasingly popularised by celebrities – most recently Megan Markle – and widely hired privately, the contribution a doula can make is increasingly understood by birthing parents across Australia.

“Just imagine then, the transformative difference a doula can make to someone who would otherwise be facing this time alone”, said Ms Dearnley.

By supporting the Every Doula Counts campaign during World Doula Week, you can help all women get the support they need.

To find out more visit:

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For more information and interviews please contact:

Cressida Blumson, Communications Lead, Birth for Humankind on 0418 541 521 or

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