10 Easy Steps to Get You Started on a Positive Birth Journey!


The Birthing Room Online Antenatal Classes launch this week! And to celebrate we are letting you in on 10 easy steps you can take to begin a positive birth journey.

#1 Choose your lead maternity carer (LMC) wisely

Will your choice of midwife or doctor help you achieve a positive birth experience? Dr Sarah J. Buckley (author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering) explains in her book an easy test of an empowering health care practitioner:

  • Do you come away from every appointment feeling even happier, or at the least less anxious? If so, this is a great sign of an positive birth partnership.
  • Do you come away from every appointment feeling negative, more afraid or more anxious than before? If so, it maybe time to consider a change.

#2 Be careful what you read

Just as a sign of a great LMC is that you come away from each appointment feeling even happier and less afraid, a sign of great information about pregnancy and birth is that you come away feeling the same. This helps fill your whare tangata (the womb world of your baby) with the love hormone oxytocin, and keeps stress hormones low.

Many popular antenatal and newborn parenting books promote strict newborn routines, which undermine natural newborn attachment, health and well-being. Two recent research studies showed books such as these actually negatively impact maternal (mother) well-being and self confidence, and increase the likelihood of postnatal depression and feelings of stress. So choose carefully! Look for pregnancy books, movies or YouTube clips which empower you and do not make you feel afraid.

#3 Find your village

Imagine having a group of like-minded friends, who are having babies at the same time of life as you. Through every life stage (pregnancy, newborns, toddlers, choosing a preschool or kindergarten, starting school) they are right there with you, and know what you are going through. Essentially you are doing life together!

Unfortunately, finding these people isn't as easy as it sounds, especially if you are living in a rural area. That's why we've created online village groups just for you as part of our new Online Antenatal Classes! Not only will you find amazing like-minded parents-to-be to chat with and ask those questions that only they will understand, you'll also find a group of friends to do life with.

#4 Be knowledgeable about your baby's position

Sure your baby may be head down, but did you know that this is only a tiny bit of the big picture? Your baby's position at the end of pregnancy can influence if you go "post dates", how fast dilation occurs, the length and intensity of labour, how high your risk of complications and intervention and more! We think this is SO important for you to know that we have included OODLES of information on Optimal Foetal Positioning in our new Online Antenatal Classes.

#5 Make informed decisions

Your rights as a health consumer are very important for you to know. Just because they exist in NZ doesn’t necessarily mean they will be practiced. Research suggests “that women’s perceived control over decision-making in childbirth is surprisingly low and that maternity care providers’ (providers) understanding of women’s legal rights in maternity care is poor.” (Powell, Walker & Barrett, 2015). In order to make informed decisions, you need to know what your rights are, and the right information. Often expectant parents are loaded down with pamphlets and information sheets that contain medical terms and statistical data. Research shows most expectant parents can't make informed decisions out of this. You need information that is truthful, informative and makes sense to you. Making the best decisions that you can at the time with the information that you have, helps you feel more positive about your birth experience.

#6 Hire a doula

If you do not have the perfect support person to journey through birth with you and your partner, why not consider hiring a doula? A doula is a professional birth companion to helps you set up a positive birth atmosphere from the get go of labour. Research shows doulas:

  • Reduce the need for medical pain relief
  • Reduce the likelihood of medical intervention
  • Help families have a more positive birth experience!

Not sure how to find a doula in your local area? Check out this list from Doula Lydia.

#7 Reduce your risk of complications

Although it is still possible to have a positive birth experience when complications arise, it's definitely easy when they don't! So if you are hoping to avoid any unnecessary complications, incorporate the following into your pregnancy:

  • Regularly exercise
  • Eat lots of REAL food (nutritionally dense, wholefoods!)
  • Regular massage therapy... OK, so I don't have a lot of research to back that one up, but hey! There has to be some perks to growing a whole little human, right? Massage therapy does help you release oxytocin, and oxytocin helps your baby grow well, so that's got to count for something!

#8 Choose an empowering birth place

Remember the Tupperware Shape-O? If not, don't worry, you're about to become a parent. You'll soon be very familiar with it! The idea is to fit the right plastic shape into the right shape cut out. Choosing to birth in a place that does not match your birth philosophy and plans is like trying to get the triangle through the square. It might not be the right fit for your family. Choosing a place where you feel safe, secure and empowered can make all the difference to how you feel about your birth.

#9 Prepare spiritually and emotionally for birth

Families are often really good at preparing physically for birth, but birth is not just a physical event! It is a spiritual, emotional, cultural, family life event! Preparing for a baby can be compared to the whare (house) in the Māori health model Te Whare Tapa Whā. There are 4 pillars of wellness that make the house strong. They are physical, mental, spiritual and family health. So we've included information about emotional and spiritual preparation for birth and traditional Māori birth practices as part of our new Online Antenatal Classes to help make your birth as positive as possible!

#10 Be as educated as possible

When it comes to preparing for your birth, you don't need a "How to give birth" lesson. Every female body is born with the knowledge of how to birth a baby! Our new Online Antenatal Classes are all about helping empower your family with knowledge, helping you develop trust and faith in the amazing ability of Mama to birth your baby, as well as equip you with information to make informed decisions. Our course journeys with you right from the start of pregnancy, all the way through to when baby is 3 months old. How cool is that?!

Like to find out more about having a positive birth experience?

Start with our FREE online mini course Optimal Cord Clamping & Care of the Placenta As a bonus, if you are registered for this course you'll be the first to hear of the launch dates for our new Online Antenatal Classes. So sign up today, and either whip through this little beauty while waiting for your Online Antenatal Classes to begin, or tuck this course away for later in your pregnancy safe in the knowledge it is all yours, and start your journey towards a positive birth experience with our first trimester session in The Birthing Room's Online Antenatal Classes.

Just want to join our newsletter so you can find out course launch dates? You can do that below!


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required



FREE online course: Optimal Cord Clamping & Care of the Placenta

Photo credit: Human Birth Project

Photo credit: Human Birth Project

The Birthing Room's FREE online course on Optimal Cord Clamping & Care of the Placenta is almost here! Our subscribers will be the first to receive this awesome mini course next week!
Topics include:
-Making an informed decision about if and when to cut the umbilical cord
-Your choices about the birth of your placenta & what to do with it afterwards
-Maori tikanga (traditional practices) for iho & whenua (cord & placenta)
This FREE mini course includes video tutorials, PDFs, quizzes, downloadable birth plans, and videos of families sharing their own experiences. Both expectant families & health professionals are welcome to take this FREE course.
Please share about this course on social media and help us spread the word on this important topic.
And finally, make sure YOU don't miss out! Subscribe asap by clicking the link below.


The Birthing Room Conference 2017: Cultivating Our Roots: Let The Tree Flourish


skin to skin benefits breastfeedingThe Birthing Room is thrilled to announce our 2017 conference, Cultivating Our Roots: Let The Tree Flourish! This one day hui will focus on traditional Māori birth practices, and how tikanga can be integrated into today’s maternity system. Cultivating Our Roots: Let The Tree Flourish is a hui for midwives, childbirth educators, obstetricians, doulas, plunket nurses, other allied health staff, and whānau (families), who would like to feel more empowered and knowledgeable about integrating traditional Māori birthing practices into their clinical practice or the birth of their pēpe (baby).


Kelly Waiana Tikao 32 Kelly Tikao
Waitaha, Kāi Māmoe, Kāi Tahu
“E tama! And he pointed to this cousin of mine. Na! He commanded and I thought no way, no way, no way. It was the next thing you had to do after the baby had come away that I had difficulty with…they always said go and get a shell and I thought they were going to use it for that, severing the cord. They didn’t, they bit it off, tied it in a knot both ends! It’s sacredness ceases after the cord has been severed then it becomes another womb ready for another baby, twins or triplets but that cord belongs to that child, so you sever it and then you go and bury it. We had a tree under which we buried all the umbilical cords in the village.” (Porter, 2011)

Ngāti Kahu Kaumātua Pereme Porter was chosen at the age of 12 to cut the umbilical cords of the newborn babies in his village whilst reciting ancient karakia. A task he initially found very difficult to do but over time Pereme felt honoured to be part of such a rich cultural process.
Kelly Tikao filmed Pereme for her student film “Iho – a cord between two worlds” Traditional Māori Birthing Practices in 2011, along with a thesis on the same topic for her Masters in Science Communication Degree specialising in film making at the University of Otago in 2013.
Kelly’s own fascination with indigenous birthing practices and the ongoing public interest in her Masters film and thesis encouraged her to extend upon her Masters research with a doctorate at the University of Canterbury. She is currently in her second year of study specifically exploring Kāi Tahu birthing traditions and practices pertaining to conception, pregnancy and birth. Kelly was fortunate enough to be financially supported by the NZ Health Research Council and the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre with two research scholarships to help her carry out this project.
Another important component for Kelly is to ensure her research can be used practically to aid and support the implementation of traditional Māori birthing practices into New Zealand’s current maternity services. Therefore, she already has plans drawn up for the production of resources post her doctorate to return the research into the hands of midwives and whānau.

Kelly is quick to declare that she herself is not a midwife although she has the upmost respect for her colleagues in this field. Kelly is an experienced Registered Nurse currently working for the Southern District Health Board in Public Health. She has completed the Huarahi Whakatū PDRP Programme to expertise level through Te Rau Matatini and has worked for Māori Health Providers and in a variety of clinical areas under the Auckland, Wellington and Otago District Health Boards over a 20-year period.
Her current Public Health Role involves working with priority tamariki and vulnerable youth. Kelly completes health assessments, provides health education and navigates youth and whānau towards appropriate and needed health services. Having a variety of health interests and working through barriers to wellbeing as an advocate for young people and whānau have been Kelly’s ongoing professional focus.

In 2008, Kelly decided to extend her nursing into health research and worked for the Donald Beasley Institute (a research institute that promotes research and education in the field of intellectual disability) as a research assistant. She worked on a number of short and long term national and international research projects and remains with the Institute as a Research Associate of the Donald Beasley Institute.
Alongside her health and academic research Kelly thrives off the many creative opportunities that have been presented to her over the years in: radio, film and dance. She has produced a number of radio documentaries, created short films for exhibitions, danced for Puaka/Matariki Performances and generally enjoys viewing or being part of Māori arts in it’s many expressive forms.

Kelly’s te reo Māori journey began when she started her first tertiary qualification and after many years of various courses including: Kura Reo, Kia Kurapa, Kainga Reo and the many other fantastic Kāi Tahu reo initiatives Kelly has gained an intermediate fluency (of sorts) and has resigned herself to the reality that it will take her many more years to feel confident in the tongue of her tupuna.
Kelly is completely dedicated to her PhD topic and she is honoured to be able to share a little of what she has learnt so far at this very special Birthing Room Conference – she admits she has a long way to go on this project but knowledge of generations will never be achieved in just one life time, so she reckons she better get on with it!

Alice Spittle

Alice SpittleAlice is a Māori Contemporary artist based in Christchurch, New Zealand. She finds it hard to define herself as a painter, weaver or mixed media artist but she would consider herself as a Māori contemporary artist, exploring life creatively through as many art forms as she can. Each art form inspires and compliments the others and they allow her to stay motivated and focused on her passion. “As long as I am doing something creative and I am in my studio exploring and playing, I feel free to channel my life’s experiences through my art”

Alice studied Māori Design and Art at Te Wananga O Raukawa in Otaki (2002) and started her journey into the expression of art in Christchurch where she exhibited and sold her works nationally and internationally. Alice has exhibited her work in galleries and events throughout New Zealand and most recently in Australia. She has spent the last 5 years enjoying motherhood and being creative.

Alice runs weaving (raranga) workshops in Australia and New Zealand. We are delighted to announce Alice will be holding a muka cord tie demonstration workshop as part of The Birthing Room’s conference. She will demonstrate a traditional technique of making muka cord ties with New Zealand harakeke (flax) and together the group will explore and talk about processes, traditions, tikanga/protocols around weaving as well as how to nurture the plant and how to harvest sustainably.

Whether you are a beginner or have experience in other weaving techniques, you will enjoy this demonstration of weaving muka in a safe and nurturing environment.

Whānau AdobeStock_85669744 [Converted]-01

As part of The Birthing Room’s conference we will be having a panel of whānau (family) members sharing about their experiences of birth, and how they incorporated Māori tikanga (customs) into their births. Hear first hand of the joys and challenges they faced, and how incorporating tikanga (customs) influenced they way they and their whānau felt about pregnancy, birth and parenting.


As well as sessions with Kelly Tikao, Alice Spittle, and our whānau panel this hui will include a workshop on making clay ipu whenua (a vessel in which to place a placenta for burial), and an interactive discussion on obstacles to implementing tikanga in birth and ways to overcome these hurdles.

You will also receive an awesome conference bag filled with goodies, delicious kai (food) and the chance to meet like minded individuals who are passionate about seeing whānau have empowered birth experiences.


The Birthing Room has been serving New Zealand’s midwifery community and hapu whānau (pregnant families) since 2013. We have had hundreds of expectant families come through our antenatal education service since then, and love to see families come away feeling empowered and equipped for their journey ahead. In 2015 we began offering antenatal education for young parents-to-be in partnership with The Youth Alive Trust, funded by the Canterbury District Health Board, which is still going from strength to strength today. Since opening our doors in 2013 we have run numerous events for health professionals and birthing families, including movie nights, educational workshops, conferences and ‘Bringing Māori Tikanga Back to Birth’ hui. Our purpose is to equip families and their care providers with evidence-based information, so that families can make informed decisions and have positive birth and parenting experiences.


Friday March 24th 2017, 0900-1700hrs The revolutionary round table

Registrations from 0800-0850. Tickets must be pre-purchased through Eventbrite. No door sales.

Grace Vineyard, 111-113 Seaview Rd, New Brighton, Christchurch, New Zealand.



This year The Birthing Room is looking to partner with an organisation to give each participant a FREESET CONFERENCE BAG! This means that not only will you receive a beautiful bag that you will use forever, your attendance will also be helping set free women trapped in Kolkata’s sex trade. Say goodbye to useless conference bags that are thrown away after conference ends. Your amazing conference bag is going to be life-changing!

Find out more about Freeset click here


To register please click on this link: The Birthing Room Conference 2017 Registration


Tickets can be purchased from as little as $90NZ* for exhibitors and $145NZ* for participants.

*Excludes Eventbrite fees


Opportunities are now open for your organisation to partner with The Birthing Room to promote your Clay ipu whenuabusiness/services, as well make our 2017 conference awesome. These opportunities range from exhibitor tables to sponsorship & promotion packages. Please contact us to be emailed a sponsorship prospectus and find out how our 2017 conference can benefit you contact us here



We are looking forward to having the following exhibitors and sponsors as part of our conference:

ALR&R-stacked A little R & R provides clinical therapeutic level massage to pregnant bodies of all trimesters. We have wonderfully comfortable ‘Body Form’ pregnancy pillows that enable you to lie face down safely and easily up until mid 3rd Trimester (or 2nd Trimester depending on shape of bump). We promise: To Listen, To be 100% present while we treat you, To do our best to ease your pain in body and spirit & give you the best tools we know to empower you to help yourself out of discomfort.


image001International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE), is a non-profit organisation that certifies health professionals who provide lactation and breastfeeding care to mothers, infants, and their families worldwide. There are now over 28,880 currently certified IBCLCs worldwide, in 105 countries.

To become certified one must meet the eligibility criteria and pass a psychometric exam. Once certified the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is able to use the acronym IBCLC to identify as a professional who has demonstrated their lactation knowledge. The IBCLC certification program is accredited by National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) of the Institute of Credentialing Excellence (ICE).



SBA Hornby will save you time and money.
We know you have a business to run, a family to look after and a life to enjoy.

You don’t want to be doing tax returns when you could be growing your business, relaxing with the family or having fun with friends. Let SBA Hornby take care of the finances, so you can focus on life!


Conference Giveaway

The Birthing Room is giving away one FREE pass to our 2017 conference! You could be our lucky winner!

Here's how to enter:

  1. Click on The Birthing Room's Facebook page and check out our conference giveaway post
  2. Tag 2 friends in the comments who you think would enjoy conference too
  3. Share The Birthing Room's giveaway post on your Facebook timeline.


This year's conference is 'Cultivating Our Roots: Let The Tree Flourish'. This one day hui in Ōtautahi (Christchurch) will focus on traditional Māori birth practices, and how tikanga can be integrated into today’s maternity system. Cultivating Our Roots: Let The Tree Flourish is a hui for midwives, childbirth educators, obstetricians, doulas, plunket nurses, other allied health staff, and whānau (families), who would like to feel more empowered and knowledgeable about integrating traditional Māori birthing practices into their clinical practice or the birth of their pēpe (baby). For more information click here.

The Birthing Room's 2017 prize pack includes:

  • One general admission pass (no meals) worth $145
  • Free entry into all sessions
  • The opportunity to make your own clay ipu whenua and be part of the muka cord tie demonstration
  • An amazing Freeset bag filled with conference goodies
  • Morning and afternoon tea

The prize pack does not include travel, accommodation or lunch, and cannot be exchanged for cash. In the event that you are not able to make it on the day of conference (especially if you are a midwife on call!), you are able to give your prize to another person. The Birthing Room must be notified of this change via email. Your name and photo may be used by The Birthing Room for publications related to our 2017 conference. 

All entries meeting the criteria will be placed in the draw, and the lucky winner will be drawn on February 18th 2017. (Entries close Feb 17th 2017 at 11pm). The winning person will be announced on The Birthing Room's Facebook page and website. The winner will have 7 days to claim their prize. 



Like to know more about traditional Māori birth practices? Interested in integrating tikanga māori practices into your own birth plan? This 2hr wānanga offers the opportunity for you and your whānau to build on your knowledge, and prepare for your birth together.

Topics include:

  • The use of oriori and waiata in pregnancy and birth
  • Care of the whenua (placenta) and iho (umbilical cord)
  • Film: ‘Iho” A cord between two worlds’ by Kelly Tiako
  • Create your own clay biodegradable ipu whenua as a whānau

Evening includes supper, a short film, and your own biodegradable ipu whenua to keep.

Cost: Gold coin donation per person over 13yrs of age

Tickets essential. The date and time in June this wānanga will be held will be determined by what best suits whānau attending. To express your interest please email info@thebirthingroom.co.nz or contact us here