Studies on the benefits of the Calmbirth® program and labour and birth outcomes
The latest research on the Calmbirth® program
The Calmbirth® program is evidence-based and is founded on research from neuroscience, midwifery, obstetrics and epigenetics. Over the years, Calmbirth® has been part of many different research studies. In this section, we will provide the latest research and statistics on the effect Calmbirth® has had on birth and labour outcomes, and its influence on improving the maternity services in Australia.
Results from a comprehensive research study being undertaken by Dr Jane Svensson, the Clinical Midwifery Consultant Health Education at the Royal Hospital for Women, due to be published in two medical journals later this year, shows that the Calmbirth Childbirth Education program significantly:
reduces the rate of medical interventions during childbirth
reduces the use of pharmacological pain relief in labour including epidurals
enriches their birth experience as one that is positive, irrespective of how they birth
reduces the impact of perinatal anxiety which may then have a protective effect postnatal adjustment, and potentially depression, after birth.
Calmbirth® private study
3800 couples participated over 2008–2013
Calmbirth’s private study included 3800 Calmbirth® couples after the birth of their baby between January 2008 and June 2013, and proves that ‘with knowledge comes confidence’.
The study showed that through information, knowledge, tools and skills, the Calmbirth® program empowers women to provide their bodies and babies with as natural and nurturing a birth as possible, irrespective of medical intervention.
- Felt confident to very confident about their birth after attending 82% 82%
- Calmbirth couples birthed vaginally 76% 76%
- Used no drugs 46% 46%
- Used gas only 30% 30%
- Emergency caesarean 13% 13%
- Planned caesarean 4% 4%
Some more findings
88% of respondents rated Calmbirth 8 or greater out of 10.
4 out of 5 women will definitely recommend Calmbirth to other pregnant couples.
81.6 % of respondents immediately felt a strong connection and bond with their baby after birth.
A fearless and natural birth
The Calmbirth® program emphasises experiencing a fearless birth, and incorporates life changing elements that can be used during pregnancy and childbirth, then for the rest of one’s life. It draws on research from neuroscience, midwifery, obstetrics, and epigenetics; and uses the extensive understanding of the body’s relaxation response and its influence on birth.
The overwhelming majority of Calmbirth® survey respondents have clearly absorbed and understood the Calmbirth® philosophy and training and have been able to use Calmbirth® tools and skills to enrich their birthing experience.
Calmbirth® enables a more natural and nurturing birth
Also in the findings, the national imperative to reduce birthing medical interventions was highlighted, as well as the move towards encouraging skin-to-skin contact between mothers and babies and breastfeeding.
Since its inception, Calmbirth® has been diligently promoting the very processes of natural birthing methods and nurturing connections with babies and partners; and it has spent years gaining knowledge and experience on how to best facilitate natural births, skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding and other elements of birthing experience, with the least amount of medical intervention.
“The best thing about my birth experience was having my baby in the comfort of my own home, being loved and supported by my husband, my midwife and my mother…before the Calmbirth course I was very frightened about he pain associated with birthing my child….Calmbirth enabled me to gain the confidence ‘that my body was built to have this baby’. I walked away from the class having been educated and reassured about the birth experience. My confidence and my trust in my body increased the more I practiced my meditation and visualisation…This experience has taught me to really trust in my body and draw strength from a calm and supportive environment…I’m just really proud to say that I had a calm and natural birth.”
– A Calmbirth mother
This survey proves that there is an abundance of evidence that these birth processes are being enabled in large numbers by the Calmbirth® program. Thus, Calmbirth® is well placed to share their experience with mainstream antenatal programs, and to advise government health and maternity organisations and committees on how to raise national standards and benchmarks in many areas currently gaining attention.
Some results show a comparison of Calmbirth® couples with the NSW Mothers and Babies 2014 report, which are statistics of the general birthing population supplied by both public and private hospitals in NSW.
“Being present with my body and surrendering to the process. I also loved the support of my partner. We were birthing together… truly the most beautiful experience of my life to date.”
– A Calmbirth mother
Royal Hospital for Women pilot study
Study of three prenatal childbirth programs
A significant and comprehensive evaluation
Antenatal co-ordinator at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick, Dr Jane Svensson, used the Calmbirth® program as part of her doctoral study to offer a range of different antenatal education programs in maternity hospitals. She used Calmbirth® as her pilot study.
The objective of this research was to significantly and comprehensively evaluate the Calmbirth® program and its birthing outcomes. The study was not a randomised control trial, but a part of a larger study exploring the outcomes of three different childbirth program models: Calmbirth®, Birth Intensive Program and Having a Baby (HAB).
The results are a ‘glimpse’ of outcomes from a 15 page survey posted to 100 women and their partners at 6–8 weeks post birth.
The study showed that when compared to the Having a Baby program, for Calmbirth program participants there was a:
23.19% reduction in the use of drugs during labour
25% reduction in use of nitrous oxide
33.4% reduction in the use of epidurals
14.2% increase in uterine activity when admitted in labour
80% of the women had a vaginal birth
14% reduction in caesarean sections.
- Felt better about their ability to birth confidently and calmly 80% 80%
- Amazed by themselves immediately after birth 75% 75%
- Labour started on its own 69% 69%
- Vaginal birth with no assistance 62% 62%
- Used no pain relief during labour 40% 40%
- Used an epidural 37% 37%
- Labour induced 29% 29%
- Emergency caesarean 14% 14%
- Used general anaesthetic 1% 1%
- Elective caesarean 1% 1%
As a result of the positive findings, Calmbirth® is NOW being offered in the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick.
Calmbirth’s rates are excellent when compared to the NSW Mother’s and Babies 2014 report which showed that the rate of spontaneous onset of labour fell from 56.5% to 50.8 % in 2014
Dr Jane Svensson believes: “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.”
British Medical Journal study
A controlled trial of antenatal programs for pain management in childbirth
An evaluation of evidence-based techniques to reduce pain relief
Dr Kate Levett is a research specialist, with over 15 years’ experience in public health research, education, clinical trials, epidemiology and management.
In her role as a NICM adjunct fellow, Kate focuses on research that promotes maternal and reproductive health. Her research project at the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) evaluated the effectiveness of evidence-based complementary medicine techniques to reduce pharmacological pain relief during labour and childbirth.
Her study is an Australian first and examined the effectiveness of some childbirth education preparation courses that offered complementary medicine (CM) techniques for the support of natural birth for first time mothers.
Her latest research shows and proves that childbirth education programs such as Calmbirth, not only increases the feelings of self confidence, but also well and truly supports her claim of significantly reducing epidural use, as well as reducing the impact of medical interventions.
A rise in intervention vs natural birthing
Kate Levitt states in her study that there has been a rise in rates of intervention during labour and birth in most developed countries, and the intervention rates in Australia during birth are well above the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) averages. As these interventions increase, such as routine use of epidural block (EDB), so does the rate of instrumental births and associated medical interventions such as caesarean section.
Her study showed that integrative medicine approaches and complementary medicine, in particular, may offer increased options for pain relief in birth.
How Calmbirth compares
Below is a graph which compares 3525 Calmbirth couples which were surveyed online to the 176 women that were part of the Complementary therapies for labour and birth study: a randomised controlled trial of antenatal integrative medicine for pain management in labour.
Levett KM, Smith CA, Bensoussan A, et al Complementary therapies for labour and birth study: a randomised controlled trial of antenatal integrative medicine for pain management in labour BMJ Open 2016;6:e010691. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010691