Supporting

It’s easy to do great work when you believe in what you do. That’s why we’re committed to helping doulas, birth workers and health professionals join together to support people through the most difficult challenges of life. EDN has a long history of supporting doulas as they support their clients when faced by crises: as a result of human conflicts or during natural disasters, such as earthquakes.

Connecting, Supporting and Informing is our purpose, our driving force. It's the reason we get up every day and do what we do as volunteers. Most importantly, it keeps pushing us to come up with new ideas to meet each challenge. 

Support EDN and help us creating greater awareness of the role of the doula and appreciation for the contribution each doula makes to their community.

Extract of words of compassion, written and presented during the EDN Madrid conference on Saturday 30th September 2023

The full version, written by volunteer Debbie Mitchell, is available here:
English
Español

When people are in danger, women are in danger, 
when women are in danger, families are in danger, 
when families are in danger, children and babies are in danger.

Where society is fractured, social connections are fractured, people are fearful and when people are fearful they do not thrive. Often, in their desire to survive, they may find it hard to be kind.

Even if we feel we cannot change the world, we can change ourselves, the kindness we send ourselves, we can send to others and kindness has the power to change the world of another individual:

to feel cared for, 
to feel respected, 
to feel safe enough to heal, 
to feel safe enough to trust, 
to feel safe enough to trust yourself and to trust others.


We may all speak other languages, but we can all speak the one language of loving kindness.

We are all one
European Doulas, Global Doulas
Connecting, Supporting, Informing

Sometimes we heal, sometimes we need healing
Sometimes we love, sometimes we need loving.
We are all one.

Safe Birth in Palestine

The European Doula Network supports the following statement and call for action:

“Below is a statement from pregnancy and childbirth professionals and organizations working in the field of prenatal, perinatal and postnatal health. Everywhere in the world, we advocate for every woman's right to give birth in safety and every baby's right to be born in a secure environment, without reservation or conditions. Please email us for adding your organization’s name to this call or individually to be a part of a volunteer network: 

“Women and newborns are disproportionately bearing the burden of hostilities in Gaza” as the World Health Organization states. Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women and children are adversely affected by the atrocities of war. 

Approximately 50,000 pregnant women reside in Gaza, with over 180 deliveries occurring daily. Around 15% of these women are at risk of encountering complications during pregnancy or childbirth, necessitating extra medical attention. Due to the blockage of medical supplies and power, emergency cesarean sections are now performed without anesthesia without the basic sanitary needs, medically unnecessary hysterectomies are performed to save blood. 

As health professionals who dedicate their lives to protecting civilians under all circumstances, we are aware that creating safe spaces for childbirth also means creating safe spaces for all people. For this reason, we must seek ways of influencing the international community to help achieve the following immediately: 

  • Immediate ceasefire and adherence to international humanitarian law
  •  Opening safe corridors for evacuation of pregnant women and children
  • Meeting the need for emergency medical care and before and during evacuation
  •  Establishing safe zones for hospitals and care homes under the auspices of international organizations and taking other measures to protect medical personnel and installations 
  • Building infrastructure and providing resources for safe childbirths and medical care in safe zones
  •  Building field hospitals and temporary installations in safe zones
  •  Increasing the efficiency of medical aid by ensuring collaboration between the aid agencies and the local health professionals 
  • Providing psychosocial support as an integral part of the emergency response 


These are only the initial steps to alleviate the pain and reduce the suffering of the people of the Gaza Strip, a population displaced from their homes. As we continue to call for an immediate ceasefire, the above-mentioned steps are of critical importance, as civilians and medical staff are protected by international law. We ask all childbirth-related organizations to join our solidarity call. 


The full details of this call for action are available here:
Safe Birth in Palestine.

Doula Solidarity and Support Initiative for women in vulnerable circumstances

International doulas, who agree to the EDN Code of Ethics, are connecting to offer their support to women and other people in vulnerable circumstances.

The Doula Solidarity and Support hub was set up on 1st April 2022 in response to the escalating refugee crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and now has over 200 doulas in countries all across Europe and beyond.

It has been carefully organised by country and theme, so doulas can personally connect and share doula resources in the languages needed in that country. Referrals can be made when a refugee requests a doula.

Debra Pascali-Bonaro, in collaboration with the EDN Doula Solidarity and Support initiative, launched a fundraiser in 2022 to donate rebozos to Ukrainian doulas providing care to Ukrainians who are giving birth far from their home and often without partners.

Rebozos are especially nurturing for people experiencing trauma and provide a nurturing touch to those who find physical touch does not feel safe.

40 Ukrainian doulas have received rebozos from Mexico thanks to this initiative.

For each rebozo donated, 2 US Dollars were also donated to Doña Caridad. She is a traditional midwife who is building a birth home “La Paloma Azul” at San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

We thank you for your support!

EDN Offer of Doula Solidarity and Support 

EDN Offer of Doula Solidarity and Support 


As reported by the UNHCR, over 4 million refugees have left Ukraine, while more than 2 million people are internally displaced. Meanwhile, the UNFPA reports that 80,000 Ukrainian women are due to give birth in the next three months. 


The EDN stands unified and strong in its solidarity and support of doulas from Ukraine wanting to support mothers everywhere. 


The EDN wishes to raise awareness within medical and social welfare institutions, humanitarian organisations, local communities and via local, national and international media.


International doula support is available during pregnancy, birth and postpartum, for refugee women who are separated from partners, family, friends and communities, unable to speak local languages.


  • Ukrainian doulas currently support women within Ukraine, when possible.


  • Ukrainian refugee doulas want to support Ukrainian refugee women in host countries. 


  • European doulas want to provide support to Ukrainian doulas and vulnerable women.


Our doulas offer continuity of presence and kindly reassurance at times of greatest need, in accordance with the EDN Code of Ethics. A doula’s role is: • non-medical • to listen respectfully without judgement • to inform of available options and resources without bias • to connect with relevant professionals and community networks.


The EDN now has a dedicated international refugee doula support group in collaboration with its Ukrainian members: the Ukrainian Doulas of «Semitsvit» Center: доулами Центру «Семицвіт» and the Association of Natural Parenting Specialists (AFPB): Асоціацією фахівців з природного батьківства (АФПБ). In this group Ukrainian refugee doulas, and doulas offering support, are able to privately share referrals, community contacts and translated resources, all organised according to host country. 


Our 36 member doula organisations, in 20 countries, including Ukraine, are ready to channel all requests for doula support and translations of resources. The EDN Statement of Doula Solidarity and Support (in more than 10 languages) provides full background to this initiative.


We encourage you to help us raise awareness within your spheres of influence, about the role of doulas, and the support being offered by Ukrainian doulas and doulas offering pro bono care to pregnant refugee women and mothers.

European Doula Network
International Non-Profit Organisation 
28 March 2022


EDN Statement of 

Doula Solidarity and Support 

(abridged version: full versions translated below)


The European Doula Network stands unified and strong in its solidarity and support of doulas from Ukraine, Europe and around the world in this World Doula Week, and year round. Through the EDN, we meet, connect and bond, making close friendships that transcend all boundaries. The EDN stands by and for doulas everywhere.

About doulas

Doulas are an age-old phenomenon, however they are little known about, and frequently misunderstood in the present day. Doulas offer kindness, love and comfort to those at the crossroads of life: in maternity, during life-changing transitions such as puberty, menopause, grief and separation and also at death. 


Their role is to listen without judgement, to inform of available options without bias and to connect people with the specialised professionals, community networks and resources most able to help. Doulas generally work ‘on call’ 24 hours a day during periods when they are likely to be needed, then offer continuous personal support at the time when they are most needed: during labour, birth and at end of life (for the terminally ill).  Doulas offer continuity of presence.


As Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale sought to bring their care and compassion to improve the wellbeing of men in need in their time, we doulas aim to bring our care and compassion to women in need in our time.


About doula support for vulnerable populations

A number of doula organisations already offer developmental training to doulas to help them support vulnerable and traumatised women, a topic also presented at the EDN2020 online conference. EDN member, Doulas Without Borders, is a non-profit dedicated to supporting vulnerable women in a variety of situations.


Doulas believe that all those giving birth should do so with respect and without fear, regardless of their position in society. Unfortunately, the current crisis is not new, with an estimated 84 million forcibly displaced people worldwide in mid-2021 (UNHCR). 


About doula support during birth

The majority of doulas work within the birthing community. The most comprehensive  overview of the research on the benefits of doulas, the Cochrane Report (2017), on Continuous Support For Women During Childbirth, found no harmful impact found for the presence of a doula. Even within stable populations, systemic issues can jeopardise the sense of physical and emotional safety needed during birth. Doula’s presence aims to help minimise the triggering of the hormonal fear-tension-pain cycle. As Dr John Kennel said, 

‘If a doula were a drug it would be unethical not to use it’.


Doulas the world over have recently demonstrated their strength, resilience and flexibility whilst supporting women through the Coronavirus Pandemic, despite their presence at birth frequently being denied. Emotional support can and has been offered remotely, although the comfort and connection of receiving this care in person can never be rivalled, as the pandemic has shown everyone.


About the EDN

The European Doula Network is a grassroots non-profit, established in 2011, with the aim of connecting doula organisations across Europe sharing a common Code of Ethics (also translated). 


The core values of our organisation are: connecting, informing, supporting and we feel this is a pivotal moment in which we can let the whole of Europe know about our mission, to reach those who need our reassurance and for them to feel empowered by our kindness and love. 


EDN Core Organisers,

Debbie Mitchell, Maria Andreoulaki, Anita Budak