By Bec Eadie
I first discovered Calmbirth while working as a Midwife in the hospital and seeing firsthand the impact it had on a couple’s ability to approach birth with excitement and without overwhelming fear, confidently make informed choices, and support themselves in a range of ways that led to more positive outcomes. I have also completed my Master’s in Public Health, so I was interested to see that the evidence also reflected what I was seeing in the hospital, that couples who attended Calmbirth courses seemed to have lower intervention rates and higher overall satisfaction with their birth experience. It wasn’t until I was preparing for my own VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) that I started to consider Calmbirth as part of my personal birth preparation.
As a midwife who had worked in the hospital system for some time and having had a planned caesarean for my first birth, I was bringing a lot of doubts and fears into my second pregnancy. At the suggestion of my Obstetrician, I decided to give Calmbirth a go, I felt I had nothing to lose and at the very least it might teach my husband some good massage skills. By the end of the course, my whole mindset had changed. For the first time in pregnancy I was excited to give birth, knowing that I already had everything I needed within myself, and I was confident in our ability as a couple to make decisions and navigate labour with a whole toolkit of skills should we need it. My beautiful daughter Lily was born into water at 41+3 weeks, and my birth was everything I could have hoped for, I will always remember it as one of the best days of my life. I felt inspired to become a Calmbirth Educator, because despite not having an ‘intervention free’ birth, throughout the process I still felt in tune with my body and baby. I had been practising connecting into my own thoughts and feelings through meditation and breathing exercises, and I was able to navigate decisions in a way that felt informed, empowered and supported, which I realised for me was the real power of Calmbirth. And it appears that I was not the only one who has felt positively impacted by the Calmbirth education program.
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.
These results support the research led by the University of Notre Dame Australia, Dr Kate Levett with NICM and Western Sydney University, which evaluated the effectiveness of evidence based complementary medicine techniques to reduce pharmacological pain relief during labour and childbirth. The results of this study shows antenatal education not only reduces the rates of medical interventions during childbirth, but can also save the healthcare system up to AU$97million dollars. This 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.
The Calmbirth philosophy states that “With Knowledge Comes Confidence” and the birth outcomes speak for themselves. No matter what type of birth you are planning, all parents deserve to feel informed, supported and empowered in their transition to parenthood!
Bec Eadie is a Midwife, Calmbirth Educator and Prenatal Yoga Instructor. Her philosophy centres the woman as the expert in her own body, and she believes birth education should encourage women to cultivate self-trust, allowing them to feel informed, empowered and supported, independent of their birth and parenting choices. Through Birthing Energy, Bec facilitates the Calmbirth childbirth education program between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, and here she outlines why she is so excited about Calmbirth and its potential to help change birth outcomes for the better. You can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.