By Peter Jackson

Calmbirth® is a childbirth education program created by Peter Jackson in 2005. As a midwife in a country hospital for over 20 years, Peter witnessed mothers whose experience of childbirth was one of fear, anxiety and trauma. The calmbirth® childbirth education programme is the result of his search for a way to help modern mothers rediscover their birth power and joy.

The calmbirth® philosophy is based on the belief that pregnancy, labour and birth are normal life events and that birth is a natural process to be experienced in a calm and joyfully memorable way. Calmbirth® seeks to alleviate the fear and anxiety many pregnant couples feel about their approaching labour and birth.

The classes educate the pregnant couple in the understanding of the birth process, how the mother’s body works as well as teaches skills for the couple to use up to and during their labour and birth. The aim of the calmbirth® programme is to empower couples to take back the locus of control for their own birthing experience. In calmbirth® the role of the father or birthing companion is vitally important, all three, mother, baby, father/birth companion work in tandem. In the classes fathers/birth companions learn how to support the mother, making the experience one of joy for all concerned.

Although there is an emphasis on natural birth in the classes, the knowledge and skills taught are also very beneficial if, as happens at times, intervention is needed for the health and well being of baby and mother. Couples are encouraged to surrender to the process of their birth no matter how it unfolds.

The calmbirth® program consists of a set of classes totalling approx. 13 hours in length. The time frame varies with different registered calmbirth® practitioners. Some classes run over one weekend, others 2.5 hour