With Knowledge Comes Confidence
Calmbirth® is a highly acclaimed childbirth education program that is leading the way in inspiring and educating couples to birth their babies with knowledge and confidence since its inception in 2004. The program runs over two-days (weekends) or four evenings/half days. It prepares couples mentally, emotionally and physically for the birth of their baby. Calmbirth® understands the interrelationship between the mind and body – how our bodies react to our thoughts. Calmbirth® uses this mind- body connection to assist couples to replace the fear, stress and anxiety about giving birth with the knowledge and skills to birth their baby calmly, fearlessly, safely and confidently.
The Calmbirth® program is suitable for first time or subsequent births; for couples who’ve had a challenging birth experience and would like their other birth experience to be different; as well as for couples who know they’ll be having a caesarean. Calmbirth embraces and accepts all pregnant couples regardless of their age, culture, socio-economic or sexual orientation.
The ideal time to attend a Calmbirth class is between 24 and 34 weeks gestation
This, however, is not a strict guideline; if you are feeling particularly anxious, we suggest coming earlier on, and if you have left it a little late to book, you are still welcome to attend after 34 weeks. We feel that the ideal time frame of 24 to 34 weeks gives couples enough time to reflect on and practice what you will learn in the Calmbirth class, using the tools and techniques to help you prepare for your birth.
Couples can use their knowledge and skills learnt in Calmbirth to meet any birthing journey they encounter with confidence. These life changing elements in Calmbirth® can be used during pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and then for the rest of one’s life.
The Calmbirth® program is built on a solid scientific foundation as it draws on research from neuroscience, midwifery, obstetrics and epigenetics; and uses the extensive understanding of the relaxation response and its influence on birth.
It gives couples the knowledge and tools to work with life as it unfolds, regardless of how their labour and birth presents itself – be it a natural birth or caesarean.
The Psychology of Birth: The Mind-Body Connection
Creating and maintaining a positive mindset
There is no other time in life when the power of the mind and body connection can be so acutely observed as in birth. It is the time when a mother’s emotional state can directly influence, not only her experience, but also the way her body is working with birth and vice versa. The mind controls our physiology; the body is subjected to the mental processes.
Mind – body specialist, Dr James Gordon, states that the mind and body are essentially inseparable:
“The brain and peripheral nervous system, the endocrine and immune systems and indeed all the organs of our body and all the emotional responses we have, share a common chemical language and are constantly communicating with one another”.
This awareness of the mind -body connection in Calmbirth® helps mothers and couples to re-frame their beliefs to think differently, and to think more positively about birth. They learn to eliminate the fear, stress, anxiety and tension that can inhibit labour and birth.
A Calmbirth mother says, “When I felt like I couldn’t go on, Calmbirth gave me the ability and confidence to change my mindset and keep going.”
During the Calmbirth® program, couples learn to understand and engage with the mind-body connection, using mind- body therapies that reduce fear and stress. Couples are guided through relaxation, meditation and breathing exercises and techniques that teach them how to tap into a wonderful inner resource called— the relaxation response.
The relaxation response is a person’s innate ability to evoke a bodily calm allowing them to counteract the harmful effects of stress, thus providing an atmosphere for emotional and physical healing. During birth the relaxation response is powerful, enabling a mother to work with her physiology and not against it.
This can be best described in a mother’s ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ response in the process of giving birth. Mother’s who resist the process of giving birth because they’re frightened will tense up and engage the sympathetic, flight and fight or survival response of their physiology, instead of the para-sympathetic response. This para-sympathetic response is what enables them to create their unique birth experience no matter how their birth unfolds. These skills learnt are not only for birth but can be used in everyday life.
Dr Andrew Weil from the DVD, ‘The Connection’ says, “Breathing is the core physiological function of the body and produces dramatic changes… the breath is a function that unites mind and body, connects the unconscious mind with the conscious mind and gives access to the master controls of the involuntary nervous system… Thus, enabling one to modify the activity of the involuntary nervous system. Breath work increases Para-sympathetic tone and decreases sympathetic tone, which is the essence of the relaxation response.”
Calmbirth® also provides dads and support partners with the tools they need to help their birthing partner remain calm and focussed emotionally during labour and birth, as well as being able to provide them with the physical comfort and support.
The Physiology of Birth: Her Body
Designed To Give Birth. Her Belief Is Critical.
Calmbirth® acknowledges the amazing ability and design of a mother’s body to work as one with her unborn child to give birth. The releases of the cocktail of birthing hormones during birth are the helpers, and we know that if we get the cocktail of birthing hormones right, then the birth of a baby can be an amazing and positive experience for the couple and the baby.
Dr Sarah Buckley says, “The hormones of love, (oxytocin) transcendence, (endorphins) excitement, (adrenaline) and prolactin, (the mothering hormone); when these hormones are released in peak levels during labour and childbirth the birth can be ecstatic. An undisturbed birth creates maximum ease and safety for the mother and baby, as well as making birth a potentially ecstatic experience.”
Calmbirth® empowers couples to believe in the mother’s own physical and natural strength to nurture and birth her baby, and how to work with this process the day of her baby’s birth. It teaches women to work with their bodies and not against it, just like nature intended her to do. The mammalian principles of birth are simple. Calmbirth® knows a mother will birth best where she feels safe and her privacy is respected.
North America’s leading midwife and author of Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin says,
A Calmbirth® mother says, “Giving birth was the most euphoric, empowering moment of my life. I was able to birth a 9 pound baby boy naturally, in four hours, without any drugs or stitches! My husband was so proud of us, he was also so amazing during our birth. I felt so loved and so safe. “
“We are the only species of mammals that has the intelligence to doubt our ability to give birth.”
The Connection: Becoming A Family
Connection is a major theme in the Calmbirth® program; it is not only important to connect the mind and body, but it is also important to connect with yourself, your baby, your birth experience, and your partner. Calmbirth® recognises that the connection of the family unit is vital, so it works with couples to assist them in improving their communication with each other and building stronger bonds. The program allows them to focus on each other as a couple, while also focusing on their unborn baby and the family they will become. This strength in unity and moral support and encouragement not only helps them achieve a calm birth experience, but also lays a strong foundation for them as they transition from couple to family.
Calmbirth® teaches couples to visualise their birth, feeling the love for each other and their baby. It helps them to let go of the fear by replacing that emotion with confidence.