Birth for HumanKind


Giving babies the best possible start in life

End of Financial Year Appeal, Media Release
Tanya with a newborn

Birth for Humankind have launched the ‘Give babies the best start in life’ campaign to expand pregnancy, birthing and early parenting support services across Melbourne and eventually across Victoria.

To coincide with the campaign, the not-for-profit has developed a state-wide government funding submission to ensure that socially and economically disadvantaged women across Victoria have appropriate supports that address their complex needs.

Ruth Dearnley, CEO of Birth for Humankind, says that this campaign is vital to address our current situation, as more women are birthing alone and without the essential support they need to give their baby the best possible start in life.

“We’ve seen a number of barriers for women with complex needs during this health pandemic – most of these were existing barriers – but they are now amplified and more widespread due to restrictions,” said Ms Dearnley.

“That’s why there’s been a significant shift in our service delivery. Our doulas have been delivering more online support for women in need, ensuring they understand restrictions and ensure they continue accessing health care and services during these uncertain times.

The reality is we need more support and investment from all sectors, including government, so that we can give babies the best possible start in life. International research shows that continuous support models, such as doulas, promote better health outcomes for mothers and babies.”

The proposed submission asks for an integrated non-clinical birth support program for pregnant women experiencing social and financial disadvantage, to combat the unfortunate fact that only 8% of women have continuous support during their pregnancy and birth. Phase one will see Birth for Humankind non-clinical support services, such as doulas, integrated alongside the public maternity system across Greater Melbourne and Geelong. Birth for Humankind hopes to see this fully scalable plan extend state-wide, through an online program and regional hubs.

“Through the generosity of our community, we have been able to reach women in need across Melbourne – creating more online resources and a safe transportation service to ensure that our clients continued to access antenatal and postnatal appointments and other supports during these uncertain times,” said Ms Dearnley.

“However, it’s just a step. While we rely so much on public donations, we also need government involvement to ensure that women experiencing socio-economic disadvantage receive the personal support they need to access clinical care and services. If not, many will be at risk of poorer maternal and child health outcomes.”

To get involved, visit Give babies the best start in life.



About Birth for Humankind

Birth for Humankind is a Melbourne-based not-for-profit that aims to achieve equitable maternal health and wellbeing for all by providing and advocating for respectful pregnancy, birth and early parenting support for women experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage.

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