Although there may be a perception by some in the community, Calmbirth® is not an Australian version of HypnoBirthing or Hypnobirth.

Each program reflects the profession of its founder one being a midwife and the other a hypnotherapist.

Calmbirth® is an Australian childbirth preparation program which was developed by Peter Jackson in 2004. Peter has worked in General and Psychiatric Nursing and Midwifery since 1970. During the greater part of this time, Peter worked as a registered midwife assisting hundreds of birthing mothers. Many of these mothers experienced fear and anxiety in birthing and parenting. As a result of his desire to help these mothers, Peter undertook study as a Private Subconscious Mind Therapist and discovered the important mind body connection. He has developed Calmbirth® from his years of research, study and experience in these fields.

The HypnoBirthing program was written and founded in the USA in the 1980’s by Marie Mongan, a hypnotherapist who developed the programme firstly, by drawing on her own birthing experiences and subsequent training as a counsellor and hypnotherapist.

Both Calmbirth® and Hypnobirthing programs reflect the knowledge and experiences gained in the founder’s professions and also the times in which the programs were written.

The Calmbirth® program has been written not only with the emphasis on helping couples experience a fear free birth but incorporates life changing elements that can be used for the whole of one’s life. The program draws on the works of Dr Joe Dispenza and Dr Bruce Lipton and uses the extensive understanding of cardiologist Dr Herbert Benson’s work on the Relaxation Response to assist couples attending the classes. The program has been designed specifically to educate couples with skills and techniques which can be used no matter how their labour and birth presents itself, be it a natural birth or caesarean.

Unlike Hypnobirth which uses hypnosis as part of their programs, Calmbirth instead teaches couples relaxation and meditation techniques that allow them to tap into a powerful inner resource called the Relaxation Repsonse. This draws upon the work of Herbert Benson M.D and is proven to counteract the harmful effects of stress providing a healthy atmosphere for emotional and physical healing. It is a powerful tool not only for birth but for life.

Calmbirth® practitioners are mainly midwives who facilitate the Calmbirth® program for pregnant couples in a private capacity as well as work in hospitals as midwives at the coalface of labour and birth. Some are also qualified Childbirth Educators and doulas.

HypnoBirthing practitioners need no pre requisite training in any of these fields before attending the HypnoBirthing training.

Training to become a Calmbirth® practitioner entails participating in pre reading exercises, 5 day face to face lectures and an extensive clinical component with assignments to consolidate their learning. After registration, they are required to maintain certain assessment levels, ongoing education points and participate in obtaining feedback from the couples who have attended their classes. It is vitally important that registered Calmbirth® practitioners have the foundation and support to facilitate their Calmbirth® classes confidently and competently. A large number of resources have been put into the Calmbirth® program to facilitate this. A yearly Practitioner Conference is held to provide high quality ongoing training for the practitioners.

Because of the structure of the Calmbirth® Practitioner Registration process it falls under the Franchise Code of Practice. A Calmbirth® practitioner register has been set up with Standards and Codes of Practice.

The HypnoBirthing practitioner training consists of 4 days face to face lectures. Students fill out an open book review and submit this to the HypnoBirthing Institute in the USA. There is no Australian HypnoBirthing® register.

The Calmbirth® program is an entirely different program to those run in hospitals and birth centres.

Registered Calmbirth practitioners have been through a training process and are qualified to teach the Calmbirth® model of childbirth preparation. Couples attending Calmbirth® classes are encouraged to become informed of the content of the classes conducted in the place they are to give birth, then make up their own minds whether to attend the hospital classes in consultation with their care providers.

Belief controls biology via the emotions, i.e. when a woman believes that childbirth will be painful then the emotion of fear is triggered and it is fear that alters physiology.
The same hormones that are released in the mother’s body by her fearful belief system (adrenaline) cross the placenta and stimulate a similar response in her baby.

Calmbirth® is a model of interaction. In a sense ‘IT’ does not work. Rather it is the pregnant couples who understand how marvellously the mother’s body is designed, who develop the confidence to work with their birth process rather than resist it and finally, to eliminate fear.

These are the couples who are more likely to create a birth experience unforgettably joyful, calm and even ecstatic.

Calmbirth® helps couples understand one of the main reasons why pain is created in the first place. We have anecdotal evidence to support the fact that with this knowledge, some mothers can experience what they call a painfree birth; keeping in mind that these mothers also report they experience sensaions of pressure and muscular activity which can be intense at times but, according to them’not painful’. However this is not the case with all mothers. It seems it requires a leap of faith for the mother to completely trust her body to create this experience. The evidence from Dr Sarah Buckley, Dr Michel Odent and others suggests that when a mother’s body reaches peak levels of birthing hormones and there is no fear, then their labour and birth can be experienced in a most profoundly joyful way.