About Calmbirth

Australia’s most highly acclaimed and trusted childbirth education program

Calmbirth® – Prepares you emotionally, mentally and physically for birth

Calmbirth® is Australia’s most highly acclaimed, recommended, TRUSTED and scientifically proven childbirth education program in Australia. Calmbirth® was the first childbirth education program in Australia to recognise the interrelationship between the mind and body connection in birth – the connection and power between a woman’s emotional state and the way her body responds in birth. 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.

  • Calmbirth® provides you with all the knowledge, confidence and tools you need to have a positive birth experience.
  • To work together and feel supported by your partner to birth your child in any birth situation. Calmbirth® teaches your partner how to support you emotionally, and how to be your ‘guardian of space’ during pregnancy, labour and birth.
  • Calmbirth® empowers you to make informed decisions with your caregivers about birth choices.
  • Calmbirth® helps you feel safe, calm and confident to birth your baby irrespective of how you birth.
  • Calmbirth® teaches you about the prenatal bonding, the importance of skin to skin and postnatal bonding, self care and ways to nourish the new mother, and awakens you to the concept of conscious parenting.
  • Calmbirth® teaches you how to nurture your connection to your unborn child and ‘plants the seed’ for ways to strengthen that connection in your transition into parenthood.
  • Calmbirth® teaches you self empowerment – how to be an active participant in your birth and gives your birth support partners the tools to support you. It teaches you how to access your inner resources and gives you the confidence to use them to assist you in pregnancy, labour and birth  –  embracing birth as a natural part of life. 

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® course 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 course, using the tools and techniques to help you prepare for your birth.

Our vision is to be leaders in cultural change by empowering and enabling birthing couples to experience birth as a natural part of life with confidence and fearlessness. To change our current birth culture to one that is talked about and experienced far more positively, and with less unnecessary medical interventions, now and for future generations.

“Calmbirth is a program that explores the mind-body connection. How the hormones of pregnancy and then labour and birth interact in a synergy that makes the female body infinitesimally able to nurture new life and give birth to a child at whatever stage that it is.

Calmbirth’s growth and popularity lies in the fact that women of today want to reclaim their body and learn how best they can nurture their unborn child, not only in labour, but also in the prenatal weeks. No longer do they want to be the passive recipient of their care, they want to be active participants. Calmbirth promotes and fosters this.” 

Dr Jane Svensson, Antenatal Co-coordinator at the Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney

The psychology of birth

Feeling safe, calm, undisturbed and respected

The first part of the program is where you and your partner and/or support person learns all about the importance of a woman’s emotional state leading up to, during and after birth. This is an essential component of the Calmbirth® Program, as the emotional state of a woman on the day of giving birth, not only affects her perceptions and experience of birth, but directly impacts on the way her body responds to birth. It’s not enough for women and babies to be physically safe, but they must also feel emotionally safe.

“A woman will birth best when she feels safe, undisturbed and respected. Calmbirth’s goal is to educate and improve the birthing outcomes for all women and their families, not just physically but emotionally as well.”
Karen McClay, Calmbirth® Director

You will learn

  • The importance of belief systems and how they interact with birth.
  • How to re-frame any negative beliefs about birth and enhance those that positively work with birth.
  • How the emotional state of a woman impacts the way her body works, and how her body will protect her emotional state when she allows it.
  • Some simple yet powerful tools you can use to “keep your headspace” on the day, to enhance your confidence to work with birth and not against it.
  • Explore in-depth the role that your partner and support person plays in protecting your emotional environment and safety on the day – they will be your ‘guardian of space’. 
  • To be informed and feel empowered by your birth choices/preferences.

The mind is powerful in birth and influences our physiology. As a Calmbirth mother said, “When I felt like I couldn’t go on, Calmbirth gave the ability and confidence to change my mindset and keep going.”

The physiology of birth

Working with your body

This part of the Calmbirth® program is all about how your body works with birth, and how you then work with your body. Would you not agree that in order to help your headspace on the day, it’s important to feel confident in how your body gives birth?

“I feel we are making such an enormous contribution to changing the way couples experience birth in our society. Not only does our program help to reduce unnecessary interventions, but most importantly our couples speak far more positively about their birth experiences, no matter how their birth unfolds.

I am proud of the fact that Calmbirth® is helping to change birth outcomes and experiences here in Australia and abroad.”

– Karen McClay – Calmbirth® Director

You will learn

  • What the uterus is all about. How it will be working for you and your baby during labour and birth.
  • The stages of labour. You will be shown how to navigate and work with each phase of labour and birth physically and emotionally.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. What happens when things move to plan B or C? How to apply all the Calmbirth tools and teachings to any birth journey as it unfolds, including: inductions of labour and caesarians.
  • Exploring once again the role of the partner in protecting the physical and emotional environment during labour and birth.
  • A comprehensive toolkit for both of you to work with labour and birth including tools for your headspace, conscious breath techniques, comfort measures, active birth positioning, acupressure techniques and even logistics.

“A woman’s body is designed to give birth and generations of women have done it before us, working together as one with her unborn child.” 

– Peter Jackson, Calmbirth Founder

Birth Toolbox

tools for your headspace

tools for your body

tools for your partner

tools for life

At Calmbirth we provide you and your partner with a toolbox for birth, so you are both well equiped mentally, physically and emotionally for any birth situation. You may find yourself using one or ALL of the tools necessary on the ‘birth day’. 

You will learn

  • Conscious breath techniques
  • Visualisation
  • Guided relaxation
  • Acupressure for pregnancy, labour and birth
  • Massage
  • Comfort measures
  • Active birth positioning

Calmbirth is a great program and extremely valuable in helping to prepare for labour, birth and the immediate postnatal period. What I loved most about the Calmbirth Program was the breathing and visualisation techniques, learning about the acupressure points for labour and birth and the massage.

– Calmbirth Mother

Conscious parenting

Connecting as a family. Birthing conscious parents.

This part of the Calmbirth® program is all about connecting you as a family and the importance of that bonding process before birth, so that you and you partner are on the ‘same’ page entering into birth and beyond into parenthood. Calmbirth® makes couples aware of how their communication impacts upon their birth journey. 

“I believe when we learn how to embrace birth as a natural part of life and not fear it, and stay connected by working together as a family, then not only will unnecessary intervention rates be reduced but the way we experience and talk about birth will be far more positive and empowering for future generations of families.”
Karen McClay, Calmbirth® Director

You will learn

  • The importance of skin to skin after birth for bonding and breast feeding between mother and baby: and bonding between partner and baby.
  • What to expect in the first couple of days and resources to tap into to gain more information on setting realistic expectations for this time.
  • The importance of conscious, or mindful parenting and how important it is to start the bonding process with your baby in pregnancy and how this continues once your baby is born.
  • How to connect as a couple to parent this child and others as a strong team.

” One generation full of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world.”

–  American Psychiatrist, Charles Raison

Why Calmbirth?

Evidence based and clinically proven

Highly acclaimed, most recommended and TRUSTED childbirth education program

Trained midwives, doulas and birth professionals

Calmbirth® is the pioneer in quality and evidence based Childbirth Education in Australia and has stood the test of time teaching approximately 45,000 couples since its inception in 2004. Calmbirth® continues to be leaders in childbirth education, training, research and cultural change in maternity care, and for future generations of birthing families. It’s also one of the first childbirth education programs to be evidence based and clinically and scientifically proven to significantly:

  • reduce the rates of medical intervention
  • reduce the use of pain relief and epidurals during childbirth
  • reduce the impact of perinatal anxiety and postnatal depression in women after childbirth, and
  • enrich their birth experience as positive, irrespective of how they birth.

Calmbirth® is also the ONLY childbirth education program that requires ALL its educators to be practising midwives, doulas or trained birth professionals with close to over 100 registered Calmbirth Educators in Australia, New Zealand and France.

Because of Calmbirth’s credibility, Calmbirth has been able to consolidate strong partnership with Maternity Hospitals in Australia to have the Calmbirth program offered as part of their hospital antenatal structure.

Calmbirth in hospitals include:

  • Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick
  • The SAN, Wahroonga
  • NSPH, North Shore
  • Sutherland Hospital, Sutherland
  • Mater Hopsital. North Sydney 
  • The John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle
  • The Northern Beaches Hospital, Frenchs Forest 
  • Nepean Hospital, Nepean &
  • Auckland District Hospital, Auckland New Zealand

Calmbirth® is the most highly recommended and TRUSTED childbirth education program by obstetricians, midwives and GPs in Australia, which is why it has been able to develop strong partnerships with leading maternity hospitals in Australia, which are now offering the Calmbirth® program. The Calmbirth® program is now available at the Royal Hospital for Women (RHW) in Randwick, and the Sydney Adventist Hospital (SAN) in Wahroonga, the North Shore Private Hospital, in North Sydney, the Sutherland Hospital, the Mater Hospital in North Sydney and the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, and soon to be expanding into other hospitals across the country.

Peter Jackson


A revolution in childbirth education

Peter, the founder and gifted architect behind our incredible Calmbirth® Program, was the first pioneer to bring this model of childbirth education to Australia in the late 1990s, and at the time revolutionising childbirth education in Australia. The Calmbirth® Program evolved out of this work commencing in 2004 and has grown to be the highly credible and professional program that it is today.

Internationally recognised work

Peter, a midwife for over 40 years, with extensive experience in mental health early on in his career, has been internationally recognised for his success in changing and improving childbirth education and birthing. Thus, changing lives, changing birth culture and birthing conscious parents. 

He has a passion for mind-body medicine and has been a practitioner in this field for over 20 years. He has an extensive knowledge and understanding of the mind, and its impact on our perceptions in life and on our physical health and wellbeing. Peter’s background in this therapeutic medicine means he understands the connection and power between a woman’s emotional state and they way her body responds in birth.

Peter believes that preparation is the precursor to the experience. He developed the Calmbirth® Program to assist couples prepare for birth confidently with evidenced based knowledge and tools.

Southern Highlands Calmbirth®

02 4871 1806
[email protected]

Karen McClay


Karen McClay is a self confessed pregnancy and birth junky and is passionate about helping women and their partners positively transition from a couple to a family. Karen is the owner and director of the Calmbirth Organisation and a practicing Midwife. She also has the privilege of being the daughter of Peter Jackson, the founder of the Calmbirth Program and works tirelessly to continue Peter’s work of changing the culture of birth in Australia.

Karen is a highly experienced Calmbirth® Educator having seen over 2000 couples complete the Calmbirth® Program since 2009. She is taking Calmbirth® to the next level by continually evolving it, and incorporating it into the antenatal structure of many maternity hospitals. She has also formed many strategic collaborations and alliances with other expert and evidence based organisations and individuals in the birthing and parenting fields, as well as creating the Calmbirth Conversation Podcast to help pregnant couples make informed decisions for their pregnancy, birth and parenting journey.

Karen has a passion for sharing her knowledge and experience with pregnant couples and caregivers, and she’s doing her bit to change how our society and cultures views and experiences birth. 

By attending Karen’s Calmbirth course, couples come away with not only a thorough theoretical knowledge of birth, but also highly effective practical skills, ideas and techniques to assist them with their own individual birth journeys and in life. Karen is dedicated to supporting couples with their choices about birth and in assisting them to work together as a family unit to welcome their baby calmly, safely and confidently into the world.

Southern Highlands Calmbirth®

02 4871 1806
[email protected]

Accredited Calmbirth Educators

The Calmbirth® organisation has built its reputation over the years by the credibility of its Calmbirth Educators which are ALL trained birth professionals. Calmbirth has been the first to create and consolidate strong partnerships with private and public maternity hospitals in Australia, in successfully incorporating the Calmbirth® program into their antenatal structure.

Calmbirth® has close to 100 registered Calmbirth® educators throughout Australia, New Zealand and France.



Registered Educators



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