Calm birth is a philosophy of childbirth to reduce anxiety through preparation and knowledge. There is a strong connection between the mind and body during birth. The idea is to leverage that deep connection to pivot the fear and stress about giving birth and replace it with the confidence and knowledge that our body know how to birth a baby calmly and safely.
You will first learn all there is to know about the physiology of birthing to understand what your body will go through, the physical changes, hormonal changes and their impact.
Then you will be taught many technics to teach your mind to focus on something different than the small area of your body experiencing pain. This will allow you to remain stress free and positive throughout the birthing experience.
Calm Birth: Is it different to hypnobirthing?
While both focus on reducing the fear and anxiety around birth, and through this having a positive impact on the birthing experience, hypno-birthing uses hypnosis as its primary tool. Whereas Calm Birth teaches relaxation, breathing and visualisation techniques that can be drawn on throughout the labour. To some extent Calm Birth will also rely on some hypnosis methods to keep you as relaxed as possible.
Hypnobirthing is also somewhat more prescriptive than Calm Birth and might be more suited to women that enjoys having a clear path and method.
Another difference is that Calm birth practitioners need to have prior professional experience working with pregnant women and the birthing process, for example GPs, obstetricians, midwives or accredited doulas.
Both methods strongly agree on that ‘birth is a normal, natural and physiological event, not a medical procedure’.
Calm birth classes: What will I learn?
In a typical calm birth class, you will learn about how your body is designed to conceive, grow and deliver a baby and how to work with your body to help the natural and normal event that is birth.
To that end you will be taught a lot of methods to help harness the power of your mind and distract it from the pain – waves or surges as they like to call it. Rather, the techniques you will learn will help focus your mind on something else which will make the pain very manageable. It is all about empowering you with the right tools. Some of the methods taught are:
- Breathing techniques such as Womb breathing and Compassionate Breathing.
- Visualisation techniques for example visualising the uterus working in labour.
- Relaxation techniques using guided relaxation tracks.
Some of the techniques that you will learn will feel very foreign to you and you will probably be thinking that you will never get to use them. However, it is crucial that you keep an open mind and that you pay attention to each technique being taught. You might be very surprised to what your body and your mind will find useful on D-Day. Chances are that this relaxation track that you find mostly annoying during your pregnancy will feel very powerful when your body is experiencing contractions. It is very hard to predict how you will feel and what you will need so best be prepared.
Our final tip is to train and experience the techniques regularly throughout your third trimester. Doing this will fine tune your relaxation skills and they will be second nature by the time baby is ready to join your arms.
Calm Birth: our top tips for Hypnobirthing in Australia
Below is a list of material that you can grab from your local library or listen to from the comfort of your home that will help you achieve a calm birth – tried and tested!
- Birth Skills, Proven Pain-Management Techniques for Your Labour and Birth. Author: Juju Sundin.
- Calm Birth Method. Author: Suzy Ashworth.
- Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Author: Ina May Gaskin.
- Birth with Confidence: Savvy Choices for Normal Birth. Author: Rhea Dempsey.
- Australian Birth stories podcast