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EDN member representatives in Warsaw, Poland

Our seventh annual EDN meeting took place in September in Warsaw, Poland.  As you can well imagine, we were all in oxytocin overdrive!  Led by two incredible women, Maria Ryll and Gosia Borecka, a remarkable team of Polish doulas organized a brilliant weekend for over 50 doulas from all across Europe.  It was a rich time of learning from each other and sharing the ups and downs of birth in each of our countries.  It is a weekend that we will remember always! 

It is difficult to put into words the heartfelt time we spent together in Warsaw, However, our wonderful Greek representative, Maria Andreoulaki wrote a fantastic document doing just that.  And our Doula UK representative wrote a beautiful blog post about our time in Poland.   

A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to everyone who was involved in making this meeting a massive success!   

As you will read further down in the newsletter, we are passing our EDN office responsibilities on to three beautifully talented women.  It has been an incredible pleasure to work with all of you over the past few years and we look forward to continuing to be a part of the EDN circle!  

Much love to all from a colorful autumn in Switzerland! 

Mary & Lisa
The EDN Office Team


21-23 September 2018


Mark your calendars for this year’s EDN celebration!

May the circle be open but unbroken!

We are thrilled to announce that the next EDN meeting will take place in Vienna, Austria.  There is a team of extraordinary doulas making plans for a dynamite weekend together.  Everyone is welcome!  We will have more detailed information on the coming events page on our website very soon. 


Many have asked us about where the past EDN meetings have taken place.  Here is a list of past and near future locations: 


Founder’s Meeting in Zurich, Switzerland 

Gouda, Netherlands 

Zurich, Switzerland 

Monte Maripoa, Portugal 

London, UK 

Barcelona, Spain 

Warsaw, Poland 

Vienna, Austria 



In the map above, the blue areas represent the 24 countries where the EDN’s 41 associations and trainings are at home.  If you know anyone who is in the countries yet to become blue, please put them in touch with Andrea Guzzo, our membership guru!  We would so love to see that every country in Europe is a part of and has representation in the EDN!

A hearty and warm welcome to our newest association members: 

Doulas of Semitsvit Centre in Ukraine 

Malealin in Switzerland 

Doulufélag Íslands in Iceland 

Vlammse Federatie Van Doulas in Belgium 

Associació de Doules de Catalunya in Catalonia 

Croatian Doula Association in Croatia 


Welcome New Friends of the EDN

Emily Clark – Switzerland 

Rachael Pilling – Germany 


Andrea Guzzo • Florencia Sabio • Sam Sheppard 

These three beautiful women are now at the helm of our amazing EDN vessel.  Awital and Insa have stepped down from their finance and membership roles and Lisa and Mary will slowly begin to hand over their duties as well.  Originally from Uruguay and Argentina respectively, Andrea and Florencia have lived in Barcelona for many years and run a doula training program there together. Sam is also a doula trainer in the UK.  Below you will find more information on the EDN’s new leadership team.  Andrea, Florencia and Sam, we are thrilled that you will be guiding the EDN!  Your, enthusiasm, new ideas and leadership skills will no doubt take the EDN to wonderful new heights!   


Andrea Guzzo 
EDN Membership

I am a Doula, Doula Trainer, Maternal Breastfeeding Consultant, Digitopuncture Therapist and I do metamorphic massage.  In 2002 I immigrated to Barcelona, a city that welcomed me and supported all of my progress to this day.  In 2013 Florencia Sabio introduced me to the world of doulas.  She transmitted to me a lot of love and her passion for motherhood and the emotional accompaniment of women and their families.  Since then I have been in continuous formation and transformation. Beyond my academic training, my life experience, what I have learned in my professional practices and work with women and couples and, above all, an attitude of love and compassion have given me many of the tools that encompass me that I am today. I work in several networks and I think it is essential to support the union between women beyond our differences or backgrounds. This year has been very special because since our meeting in Warsaw in September 2017 I am part of the EDN office. This will be a great responsibility as well as a privilege for me. 


Florencia Sabio 
EDN Finances

I was born in Argentina and moved to Barcelona in 1998. In 2004 I had a lovely daughter and a year later I discovered the wonderful world of doulas.  I was really touched and felt that I had found my passion so I began to accompany women through this very special time in their lives and shortly thereafter I began a doula training.  I truly believe that women always deserved to be supported but especially during the childbearing year.  In 2013 I became a member of the EDN and now since our meeting in Warsaw in September 2017, I have the honour of being part of the EDN office.  I believe that creating a strong and vibrant network is a very important way that we can let both young families and birth professionals know of the valuable work that doulas do.  So let's spread love and information all around!  Warm hugs! 


Sam Sheppard 
EDN Communication & Website

‘Hey lovely Doulas. My name is Sam. I live in Essex in the UK, am married, have two pretty brilliant children and have been a doula since 2008. 

Over the years my doula journey has taken me on different paths... I’ve been a mentor, regional representative and vice chair for Doula UK, all of which I’ve enjoyed thoroughly. I continue to update my learning through various training workshops, meeting wonderful people and recently expanded my doula horizon by taking on a doula preparation workshop.  

Women never cease to amaze me. The journey I’ve been on, the women and families I’ve supported, the doulas I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had all make me realise how big the world is and yet how closely joined we all are... and how much better we all are for it! 

Being part of the EDN is a joy and a privilege. I can’t wait to embrace this exciting new chapter, and hope you enjoy walking this new path with me!  With love, Sam 


Deadline extended to 15 December! 

The European Doula Network & Doula UK have a surprise for all European doulas... 


Win a free trip to attend the Doula UK 2018 conference on Saturday March 24th in London 

Venue - St Paul’s, 200 Aldersgate, EC1A 4HD 


Join us and explore how doulas can support survivors of trauma and abuse, and each other. 

Prize includes conference ticket and 200 Euros towards travel expenses. 

To enter: 

• In a few words tell us how you would share what you learn at the conference with the other doulas in your own country.  For example, write an article, record a podcast, make a video or create a piece of artwork.  This will be due within one month of your return.  Email your entry to: 


You are eligible to enter if you:  
• Can speak English 
• Are an active doula 
• Are a member of an EDN organisation 
• Do not live in the UK 


CLOSING DATE - Please submit your entry no later than 6pm 15 December 2017 


Please like the EDN page: 

To find out more about the conference: 



Mirjam de Keijzer & Soffía Bæringsdóttir 

Two of our members, Maria Petrova and Soffía Bæringsdóttir were able to attend the Midwifery Today Conference in Helsinki in October.  There was a doula gathering at that meeting and a few topics were discussed.  Here is a summary of their experience: 


The Midwifery Today conference took place in Suomenlinna, a wonderful Island near Helsinki, Finland and I (Soffía) had the privilege to go there. I had been dreaming of doing so for years and finally the time had come. 


The EDN meeting in Warsaw was a true inspiration for me, it was so nice to be with other doulas and get an insight into their work.  It was also wonderful to meet so many lovely women.  Coming from my small community in the north (Iceland), was something that truly filled my doula heart.  The Midwifery Today Conference was the same wonderful kind of space, with wonderful women from all around the world (and a man) mostly midwifes but many many wonderful doulas.  Each day I attended workshops, about using heart and hands in our work as birthworkers, about the birth business - what we do and what others have been doing and a wonderful labor progress workshop with Finnish midwifes. I enjoyed all of the workshops but for me the Oxytocin lecture was eye opening and truly enjoyable. I did my very best to make contact with all the doulas there.  I met with Finnish doulas and we spoke about the EDN and I truly hope to meet some of them at an EDN meeting in the near future.  Both the Midwifery Today Conference and the EDN meeting filled my heart with inspiration, love and laughter. 

Maria Petrova (second on the left) at the doula meeting in Helsinki

Topics discussed at the doula meeting – summary from Maria Petrova:

1. Getting beyond the one person ONLY support rule in most hospitals – Many European hospitals will only allow one support person in the room so many doulas aren’t allowed to support the couple during the actual birth.  How can we change this? 


a) The best way to change things is through the parents.  The doula community can arrange regular events for parents with interesting topics of discussion for the parents.  At these events doulas can build awareness about their role. What they do and don’t do.  Parents can then negotiate with hospitals directly.   


b) Another good way is to speak with hospitals on behalf of your doula association.  Give a presentation to doctors and midwives including the evidence-based researcher on how doulas make a difference.   


c) And the third one is for doulas associations to establish communication and relationships with government authorities to change legislation. 


2. Competition between birth keepers – Many midwives in many European countries still have no idea what doulas do and don’t do. So many feel threatened by them.  There is also the problem of competition between doulas.   


When doulas are connected by the same goal it helps eliminate the competition. Monthly meetings with important topics of discussion is vital.  


As for midwives, it is good idea to invite them as the speakers to the parents events and doulas meetings and to ask them to share their experiences and knowledge.  


3. How doulas can help couples cope with traumatic birth and how they can get support for themselves. 


Many doulas felt that it was important that midwives be invited to the meeting.  They felt that it was important to have the opportunity to exchange thoughts, ideas, feelings surrounding their different roles and how they can better work together. 


In this topic everything depends on relationships between doula and midwife and at the same time on preliminary agreements of parents with all birth keepers involved.  


Nese Karabekir from Turkey shared their great experience. She (as a doula and psychologist) and her husband (as an obstetrician) created the "Birth with no Regret" program. It is very unique. The entire birth team includes a midwife, doula, obstetrician AND a birth psychologist.  


Birth psychologists provide support not only to parents (if needed) but to the entire birth keeper team as well. That brings really amazing results for all parties involved!  



A HUGE THANK YOU to both Maria and Soffía for sharing their experience with us.  The next Midwifery Today Conference will take place in Bad Wildbad, Germany from 17-21 October 2018.  If you’ve never experienced the oxytocin high of a Midwifery Today Conference, we can’t recommend it highly enough.  You can find more information here



By Shea Hardy Baker, Midwifery Today Conference Coordinator 

Women supporting women, whether as midwives or doulas, has a long history globally. Midwives and doulas have always been together in one form or another during birth, but in recent history a gap occurred, which sees us practicing less together in partnership for the common goal of supporting women during the childbearing years. 


Midwifery Today acknowledges the need to recognize doulas alongside midwives in a new way that shows our support for bridging gaps between these two communities. It is time for doulas and midwives to come together to create strong partnerships. This does not always mean actively practicing together—but coming together in a shared goal of creating and supporting empowering, positive, healthful birth and early parenting experiences for all women. This is critical to birth reform; we are stronger together than apart. Midwives and doulas working collaboratively on this level, we believe, is imperative to creating and supporting a safety net for women and families during pregnancy, birth, and beyond—especially when women give birth in a hospital setting. 


With knowledge of the important role doulas play across the spectrum of birth, Midwifery Today is pleased to announce the launch of a new section of the magazine and our website dedicated to our doula sisters—who contribute positively to the birthing community. “The Doula Corner” is part of a multi-pronged approach to incorporate doulas into our organization in an even more meaningful way. 


Midwifery Today intends to become a hub for doulas—as it has been for midwives—regardless of their path or practice. In addition to dedicated sections of the magazine and web site, we will explore ways to incorporate doulas in an even greater capacity into our conferences, both nationally and internationally. 


Please visit Midwifery Today’s new website and “The Doula Corner”

“The Doula Corner” appeared for the first time in Issue 123, Autumn 2017


In October 2016, five volunteers from 4 NGOs (Social Project on Natural Childbirth and Blessed Conception ‘Miracle in the Heart’, Ukrainian Human Rights NGO ‘Pryrodni Prava’, Lviv School of Public Health, and ‘Association of Professionals on Natural Parenting’) created the HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHILDBIRTH NATIONAL REPORT OF UKRAINE concerning the real state of obstetric and midwifery aid in Ukraine for the Europe Summit on Human Rights in Childbirth (HRiC) (October 19, 2016, Strasbourg, France) organized by HRiC and Midwifery Today, and requested by HRiC.  


The brilliant ex-head of HRiC, Hermine Hayes-Klein, the honoured expert and speaker of Festival '2014 of Miracle in the Heart project was dealing with the publication of all National Reports of the countries-participants of the Summit. However, she could not publish them in the HRiC official Summit Edition. So national reports of other 9 countries-participants of the Summit appeared unpublished as well.  


The Ukrainian National Report is about women’s rights in childbirth and the situation of women's consent to medical interventions during childbirth. It is unique and is the only one since Ukraine got its independence in 1991.  It is based on 3 surveys (2015-2016) and over 3,500 responses spanning 12 tables and diagrams.  




Maternity Care in Ukraine: Background Information  

Part 1: Informed Consent and Refusal  

Part 2: Midwifery and Out of Hospital Birth  

Status of midwives in Ukraine’s health care system:  

Midwives in the Hospital, Midwives out of Hospital  

Safety and Integration of OOH Birth  

Serving OOH Healthcare Needs  

Regulation, Integration and Safety  



Within 2017 we approached many international ‘mind-like’ and ‘goal-like’ organisations to publish or print out, and share it, including WHO (World Health Organization), UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund), AIMS (Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services), ENCA (European Network of Childbirth Associations), EDN (European Doula Network), IMBCI (International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization) and others.  


We are so grateful to precious doulas Valérie Dupin (France) and Maria Andreoulaki (Greece) for their inspiration, inputs and contacts support.  


We are so grateful and filled with hope that it will be shared among researchers, obstetricians, midwives, doulas and other birth practitioners worldwide.  


We will also translate it into Russian and publish it on our website as well allowing it to be distributed among as many people as possible.  


Based on the National Report in Ukraine on HRIC data and conclusions, MIRACLE IN THE HEART PROJECT SINCERELY INVITES  


• birth centres and networks  

• sponsors/grantors, and  

• international organizations  


for mentoring and investing into starting a birth center network in Ukraine (the first centre is to be based in Kharkiv). 




• 36% of mothers wish to give birth in a birth centre  

• 18% of women strive for homebirth with a licensed midwife  

• since 2014 a national health care policy has headed to European values and protocols  

• no alternative for a hospital birth  


Human Rights in Childbirth National Ukrainian Report is available at 




For fruitful collaboration, please contact us at 





The Tunisian Association for Prenatal Education (ATEP) is a non-for profit organization, which defends the right of every woman, without discrimination, to respectful maternity care and a dignified childbirth.  They provide free prenatal classes for pregnant women and their families in the Ariana region of Tunisia.  They are seeking funding for this incredibly worthy cause.  If you would like to donate, please click here.   


Copyright © 2017 European Doula Network, All rights reserved.

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