“Quite a challenging labour and birth but we got there in the end … the birth was amazing and the main thing I used was my breath.”
“What a completely soul opening experience. I went to corners of body, mind and spirit I didn’t know existed.”
“Every midwife commented how relaxed and positive I was throughout the entire process.”
“I did end up having a tear and a bit of blood loss after I birthed my placenta … but I was on such a high from her birth and was still so relaxed that it didn’t tarnish the experience.”
With testimonials like these, it stands to reason more pregnant women are becoming curious about Calmbirth® .
Curious about Calmbirth® and how it might benefit you?
Calmbirth® is a type of antenatal education which began in 2004, combining research from neuroscience, psychology, midwifery and epigenetics, to help pregnant women better understand the mind-body connection and how they can use relaxation techniques to prepare their bodies for the birthing experience.
Many mums-to-be opt to learn the techniques as an extension to their hospital antenatal classes.
Calmbirth® educator and midwife Sandra Mocnik said some of the reasons pregnant women were so interested in her classes included the fear-driven culture surrounding the issue and the births they’d seen on television.
“On television they’re screaming, they’re abusing their husbands, they’re hurting their husbands, they’re in stirrups,” she said.
“Women become scared of tearing or screaming pain; I’ve had a husband tell me his biggest fear was the mother or baby dying.”
Calmbirth® aims to eliminate this type of fear, and instead equip pregnant women with the knowledge and tools they need to be relaxed and empowered during labour.
Fellow educator and midwife Laura Hurrell said Calmbirth® helped mothers-to-be tap into their subconscious minds and work with their bodies, rather than against them.
“You’ve got two systems — your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems — and when we’re scared or fearful, our body tenses up and our hormones don’t work in the same way,” she said.
“This means our uterus, which is needed to birth the baby, isn’t working as effectively and all of the blood is shunted away from the uterus into the big muscles.”
Ms Hurrell said Calmbirth® techniques aimed to prevent that scenario.
“Our biggest emphases are the mind-body connection and breath work,” she said.
“We do lots of things around visualisation, having your affirmation cards, your oils and your lovely pictures that you can set up your birthing space with.
“In saying that, I’ve had couples who left all that at home because they’ve rushed out the door …
“… so, it’s also about letting women know you don’t need all that stuff if you have good support around you, your mind, and your breath work.”
Calmbirth® classes are ideally attended between 24 and 34 weeks gestation, and it’s not only pregnant women who may benefit.
Support people, such as husbands and grandmothers-to-be develop skills too, such as knowing whether to switch off lights, burn oils or what to say during labour.
“The partners learn to recognise if she needs to be calmed down and we give them tools to calm her down, like words he can say and getting her to focus on her breath,” Ms Hurrell said.
“It’s the partner who can put a light touch on her arm when other things are going on, and just say ‘relax’, which is very nice.”
Relaxation and empowerment are two fundamental skills taught in a Calmbirth® class.
“I tell the woman she is the captain, the partner is the navigator, and we’re all the crew; people that don’t have that mindset may see the obstetrician as the boss or they hand their power over to the midwives,” said Ms Mocnik.
“For example, if an obstetrician offers an induction, it’s about understanding why and making an informed decision about that … somebody who’s informed will say, ‘Why are you offering this to me? Are there any other options? What are the negatives of having an induction at that time? What are the positives?’
“Calmbirth is about the mind-body connection, understanding your choices and deciding the best possible choice for you.”
Calmbirth® classes are currently available in Australia, New Zealand and France.
For more information visit www.calmbirth.com.au.