Active birth workshop - Antenatal education
Our Active birth workshops are led by advanced childbirth educator and senior yoga teacher, Suzanne Swan. Suzanne has been doing this work for over eighteen years and her experience affirms that having the partner involved in the birth process, working hands on as a team with the mother, promotes a positive birth experience and enhances family bonding.
This small group antenatal education class explores practical ways to assist the labouring woman at birth. The attention is on the partner's participation during the labour and how the birth itself is as much a team effort as the conception. It covers practical mind-body techniques not taught in other hospital classes (ie. breathing, massage and birth positions) and focuses on an undisturbed physiological birth, describing the benefits of an active birth for the mother & baby.
This workshop complements hospital antenatal classes or other classes such as Hypnobirthing, and is also an excellent refresher for parents. There is clear evidence that using upright positions in the first stage of labour reduces the duration of labour, the risk of ceasarean birth and the need for an epidural. Read here for the latest evidence on birthing positions.
"Birthing is both an internal and a learned experience. Women benefit greatly in birth with this self-knowledge and with a partner and/or support team* who help her work with her body. When a woman experiences the love, attention and touch of her partner during labour she will easily relax and these feelings are passed to the baby." - Suzanne Swan, yogababy founder.
During the workshop we practice:
- Stretching and preparation exercises during pregnancy
- How to balance the pelvis late pregnancy & in labour to optimally position baby
- Massage/acupressure techniques to enhance labour
- Use of movement to reduce the effect of stress
- Use of the breath to relax and release inner tension
- Use of sound to connect with a woman's strength and power
- Relaxation skills to enhance the natural hormones of labour
- Proven natural forms of pain relief
- Releasing fears & creation of positive affirmations
- Active Birth positioning for 1st & 2nd stage
- Decision making model for dealing with different scenerios
To book your Active birth workshop
ACTIVATE YOUR NATURAL ABILITY FOR PHYSIOLOGICAL BIRTH
Try our Active Birth Workshop Bundle with 10% discount
You can attend a weekly Active birth yoga class covering the eight Active Birth Skills (Relaxation, Affirmations, Optimally Positioning Baby, Visualisation, Breathing, Vocalisation & 1st/2nd Stage Birthing positions) that you practice with your partner in the Active Birth Workshop. The yoga classes give you more practice and in-depth study of the Active Birth Skills.
For information about the difference between our Active Birth Workshop and other courses, see our Workshop comparison.
To increase the potential of achieving an active birth it is recommended that the pregnant mother also attend as many of the Active Birth Yoga classes towards the end of her pregnancy to practise the birth skills presented in this workshop.
Your couple/partner/support team can include:
- Birthing mother and father
- Same-sex couples
- Single mother with support person/doula
- Mother and daughter (birthing)
- Birthing mother, father and support person/doula (additional $50 for third person)
A COMMON SENSE EVIDENCE BASED APPROACH SUPPORTED BY
MIDWIVES AND DOCTORS
Active Birth or Managed birth?
This article by Janet Balaskas, founder of the global Active Birth movement, clearly describes our approach to birth.
Active Birth is nothing new, and yet when Janet Balaskas founded the Active Birth Movement in the early 1980s, it began a revolution. A decade earlier, many hospitals around the world had adopted what was called ‘Active Management’ of labour—a highly technological approach, which favoured medical control over labour and birth.
Active Management was intended to standardise labour times to a maximum of 12 hours per woman. To achieve this, routine medical interventions were applied—induction of labour via amniotomy and/or Syntocinon drip; epidural anaethesia or the use of narcotic analgesics such as Pethidine; and the attachment of sensors to provide continuous electronic monitoring of the foetus.
As you might have guessed, ‘Active Birth’ was chosen as a deliberate play on words—to contrast with ‘Active Management’ – giving the power of birth back to the mother. But Active Management was only the latest example of the over-medicalisation of childbirth. For hundreds of years, advanced nations had been steadily transforming birth from a natural process into a medical procedure. To find women firmly in control of birth, you had to look back to the 17th Century.
In the early 1600s, European women were in control of how they gave birth. They delivered their babies in upright positions, attended by other women in the secluded and familiar environment of their homes, according to knowledge handed down the maternal line. Midwives carried birthing stools from house to house, with many families passing them down the generations.
This maternal tradition had many advantages. Giving birth upright (by standing, kneeling, sitting on a birth stool or squatting) opens the birth canal, makes contractions more effective, and allows the mother to work with her body in harmony with gravity. It has also been discovered that a darkened and private birth environment stimulates hormonal responses and involuntary reflexes that lead to a better experience for mother and baby.
But in the 17th Century, traditions began to change. Forceps were invented and not long after, European women began to labour lying back, under the instruction of male physicians. Some scholars claim the position became popular after the French King Louis XIV demanded that his mistress give birth on her back, so that he could get a good view.
From there, control over childbirth was gradually prised from women’s hands. The role of the midwife was diminished, and labour was manipulated to suit the birth attendants—but not necessarily the mother or baby.
When Queen Victoria’s child was delivered under chloroform anaesthetic in 1853, the social elite of London followed suit, and birth became almost completely passive - “not only lying down, but unconscious” as Janet Balaskas says.
When she founded the Active Birth Movement, Janet made it her life’s work to spread the message that “nature knows best”. She saw that routinely imposed medical interventions were often counterproductive for women having a normal labour—causing a cascade of avoidable complications. She recognised birth as a profoundly sophisticated physiological process, with its true beginning at love-making and conception, and its true end at the child’s growing independence from the mother. Finally, she realised that our scientific understanding of this process is incomplete—and that therefore, it should only be disturbed when truly necessary.
Birth can unfold spontaneously and magnificently—if only we let it! At Active Birth Australia we are dedicated to helping women reclaim their right to an Active Birth.