I am really nervous about my baby's birth. How can the Calmbirth® course help?
Many parents-to-be arrive at the course with some level of uncertainty, worry or fear about their baby’s birth. As the course unfolds it is amazing to watch the transformation that occurs as parents develop a new understanding of the birth process. Parents develop a tool kit of resources that are effective at reducing stress and fear during pregnancy and childbirth. The relaxation exercises also assist in preparing for birth on a deep emotional level.
Is there any research that has studied the benefits of Calmbirth® during childbirth?
The Calmbirth® program has been the subject of a number of research studies in recent years. In a private study by Calmbirth®, 3800 women were surveyed 6-8 weeks following their baby’s birth between January 2008 and June 2013. The questions related to women’s feelings towards childbirth, details about the type of birth, pain relief used and partner support.
The findings showed that couples had a high rate of satisfaction with the Calmbirth® course. 88% of couples rated the course 8 or more out of 10. There was a dramatic change in the confidence levels of couples following the course. 82% of women reporting feeling confident to very confident about the birth. This was in comparison to pre course feelings where almost 50% of women felt anxious, frightened or very frightened. Partners feelings towards birth also improved with 80% of partners feeling confident to very confident.
The types of birth were also explored. 76% of women birthed their babies vaginally, 13% required an emergency caesarean and 4% had a planned caesarean. Women were less likely to require pain relief then women who had not attended Calmbirth®. 46% of women used no pain relief and 30% used gas only.
The findings revealed couples had a high level of satisfaction with the Calmbirth® program and approached their baby’s birth with feelings of confidence. There was a higher rate of vaginal birth and a lower rate of caesarean rate compared to mothers in the NSW Mothers and Babies report 2010. In addition the use of pain relief was also lower in the Calmbirth® study compared to the women in the NSW Mothers and Babies report 2010.
Similar findings have been identified in studies at The Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick and in a research project by the National Institute of Complimentary Medicine. For more information please see the Calmbirth website.
When is the best time to attend?
We recommend attending a Calmbirth course around 22 to 34 weeks of pregnancy. This allows plenty of time to review the knowledge and practice the skills taught in your course. However if there are reasons that prevent you from attending a course in this recommended window it can still be highly beneficial to attend. If you wish to discuss your individual circumstances with Kate please contact her here.
Is there any research to support the Calmbirth® teachings?
The Calmbirth® program incorporates research from a variety of disciplines including obstetrics, midwifery, neuroscience and medicine. The program is founded on the pioneering work of English obstetrician Grantley Dick Read. Read recognised a woman’s mind set approaching childbirth could have a powerful effect on the way her body functioned during labour. He observed that the women who approached birth calmly and confidently understood the process and were able to relax their bodies. Current research now identifies how profound the mind-body connection is on the uterine muscles and hormones during childbirth.
Does Calmbirth® take the place of other birth classes?
The Calmbirth® program is an intensive course that combines information and practical skills to mentally, practically and emotionally prepare for childbirth. There is some overlap with traditional birth classes however the focus in Calmbirth® is on developing your skills to work with birth. These skills include relaxation, breathing techniques, massage and acupressure. There is also an emphasis on the partners role and how they can support you in labour.
If you feel you would like more knowledge about caring for your newborn baby then attending an early parenting course may be helpful. Most hospitals run courses regularly.
It is highly beneficial to attend a breastfeeding course during pregnancy to prepare as a couple for your breastfeeding journey. The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) runs 3-4 hour workshops regularly. Please click here to see more information about the ABA pregnancy classes.
Is Calmbirth® only for couples planning a natural birth?
Calmbirth® is a program that assists couples to prepare psychologically, emotionally and physically for birth. It is not a prescription for a particular kind of birth but about developing knowledge and skills to use in any birth situation. In respecting birth we need to also be aware that there are times when medical intervention is required. This is not a failure and its does not need to be the end of your positive birth experience. In the Calmbirth® program you will develop knowledge and skills to feel confident communicating with your care providers. You will also learn practical skills such as breathing, relaxation, massage and acupressure techniques that are beneficial even if medical intervention is necessary.
Can I claim a rebate for my Calmbirth class through my private health insurance?
Yes! Health insurance rebates are available with the following insurers depending on your level of cover; NIB, Australian Unity, GMHBA and GU Health.