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Let me tell you a story about Sam. You may know her. Maybe you are her. She is the Mum I meet for coffee. My hairdresser. My aunty. The brand new Mum I see on facebook with a drip in her hand and her baby in a plastic cot. She is who I meet everyday…
Sam is the amazing woman who in a group setting jokes her baby was too big to get out. “A monster of a baby!” she laughs. Everyone laughs and agrees with her. On the outside is humour. On the inside pain and disappointment. She believes her pelvis was too small and her baby too big for her to birth her baby.
But let’s unpack Sam’s story a little bit. SAM stands for Scared or Sadness About Myself. Typically there are three parts to Sam’s story:

Before she was pregnant:
Going into pregnancy Sam believes her body has failed her. Maybe she has been sexually abused. Maybe she experienced infertility. Maybe she tried for a long time to lose weight, but didn’t. Maybe she experienced terrible period pain. Maybe she had previous health issues. Maybe she had a miscarriage. In her mind, her body does not work for her.
Sam gets pregnant and this pregnancy processes: Her body of course is amazing and is carefully, masterly piecing together her infant day by day without Sam even having to think about it. But in Sam’s mind is a different story. In her conscious or subconscious mind is the abuse, her dislike for her body, her miscarriage. She carefully chooses her birth place and team based upon her history and negative self belief. She will choose the place where interventions are the quickest, as she has a gut feeling that birth will not go smoothly. After all, her body does not work for her. She will choose a birth team who will be skillful in intervening, so that they will do interventions to the best of their ability. She has many scans to help allay her fears of something going wrong. But these set out to do the very thing she was trying to alleviate. Innocently made comments such as “You’re baby is very big for your gestation” and “There may be something wrong with your baby but I can’t get a clear picture. Come back in a couple of weeks so we can have another look.” reinforce her belief that her body does not work for her. She comes away feeling anxious and afraid. The clincher is when she has an appointment with her care provider and hears “I think your pelvis is too small to birth your large baby.” She agrees to an induction before her due date to prevent her birthing the 15lb baby her mind has created.

During the birth:
It is far worse than her mind ever believed possible. Intervention after intervention occurs as she labours on the bed. Although not physically tied down, she is restrained by the electrical foetal monitoring, the IV drip, the medication, the pain. Bright lights, noise, direct questions and fear make it impossible for her to enter her primal brain, the part of Sam that knows instinctively how to give birth. She feels disempowered, out of control, a failure. Really she is a warrior, an Amazon woman. At every point through her pregnancy she has made the best decision she could with the information she had. At every point she has thought of and made decisions based on her or her infant’s survival. But she will never know how amazing she is. Finally her baby is born. She is told that medicine saved her baby. This reinforces her belief in her choice of birth place, her birth team, and her negative self belief. In her mind, her pelvis was too small to birth her baby.
At every point of Sam’s journey were options that would have changed her story. (See below for some top tips) Without a deviation in her life story, Sam may well go onto hold the belief that her body does not work for her for the rest of her life…

Before pregnancy:
Get counseling to help you work through issues that will impact on your birth.
Develop self esteem. You are precious, smart, valuable and loved. Affirm yourself.
Do research about the impact of birth teams, birth places and environment on the birth process. Read books that empower you and increase your trust and faith in birth.

During pregnancy:
Choose a care provider that believes in the ability of a woman to birth her baby.
Choose a place of birth where you feel most safe and secure. That is where you will labour and birth the best.
Surround yourself with people who believe in your ability to birth your baby. Listen to positive birth stories. Challenge any negative self belief you hold.
Attend a BirthWorks course.
Grieve and heal previous childbirth related losses.

During birth:
Create an environment conducive to natural birth.
Make informed decisions about medical intervention and obstetric drugs.
Use optimal foetal positioning to create lots of space in your pelvis for baby to be born.
Choose a kiwi companion to be present with you, or a mother, sister or close friend who believes in your ability to birth your baby.

To find out more about BirthWorks courses click here
If you would like to find out more about how a Kiwi Companion can help your birth click here



The revolutionary round table


Registrations for the big event are now open! The Birthing Room and The Birth Connection are proud to invite you to join us as four speakers share four short, powerful, empowering presentations that will revolutionise the childbirth experience.

Topics include Choice vs Care: Incorporating care into our choice focussed health care system; Supporting Women with Breech Pregnancy, Human values in Pregnancy and Birth, and more!

Includes an interactive panel discussion from world leading experts on antenatal education, the female pelvis, maternity and breastfeeding research, and midwifery care.

Special guest speaker Cathy Daub, president of BirthWorks International.

A life changing workshop for midwives, childbirth educators, doulas, students, allied health staff and parents to be.

Cost: $40/person

See The Revolutionary Round Table for more details.

BirthWorks Childbirth Educator and Doula Training


Are you passionate about seeing New Zealand families have more positive birth experiences? Now is your opportunity to join New Zealand's most holistic and empowering antenatal education provider. BirthWorks International antenatal education and doula companionship (kiwi companion service) has been available to expectant families for over five years now in various parts of the country. During this time BirthWorks educators and doulas in New Zealand have seen the incredible improvement in birth outcomes and experiences that is generated by expectant families incorporating BirthWorks into their journey.

BirthWorks International needs more women to join their awesome New Zealand team! Without more facilitators and kiwi companions, BirthWorks will remain limited to lucky parts of the country. But we are passionate about seeing all New Zealand families have the opportunity to be part of empowering and life changing education and support. So if talking about awesome birth outcomes lights your fire, please join a BirthWorks workshop coming up in June 2015! BirthWorks training is open to those with no previous experience, as well as health professionals. If you are a doula, breastfeeding educator, childbirth educator or midwife, please talk to BirthWorks to see if an accelerated pathway of training is available.

"BirthWorks International is the only organization to promote birth as an instinctive process that doesn’t need to be learned. Birthing a baby requires the integration of the mind, body, and spirit.  BirthWorks provides an emotional preparation for birth as well as current, evidence-based information.  We are a Holistic Childbirth Organization that is designed to help women develop more trust and faith in their ability to give birth.  BirthWorks is the only childbirth organization that actively promotes the practice of Human Values that empowers and transforms women in birth.  The practice of Human Values increases confidence and decreases fear. We provide crucial information about Pelvic Bodywork.  Knowledge of position helps a baby pass through the pelvis more easily.  A high value is placed on empowering women through the process of birth helping them to experience transformation into Motherhood.  BirthWorks has been educating women about birth and offering Childbirth Classes for over two decades and Doula Certification and Services for over one decade.  We have structured a high quality curriculum that also includes flexibility to meet the needs of our Childbirth classes."


Upcoming BirthWorks International Workshops

BirthWorks International Accelerated Childbirth Educator and Doula Workshop:

  • June 21st-24th 2015
  • Pegasus, South Island (only 15mins north of Christchurch)
  • An accelerated pathway to become a childbirth educator and a doula (kiwi companion) in one course, saving you time and money
  • Hosted by leading antenatal education organisation The Birthing Room
  • Be part of The Birthing Room's Christchurch evening event on Saturday 20th, bringing you the latest evidence-based research on childbirth and breastfeeding. Guest  speakers include lecturers from Canterbury University and Cathy Daub, president of BirthWorks International.

BirthWorks International Childbirth Educator Workshop:

  • June 27th-29th 2015
  • Auckland, North Island
  • A three day workshop kick starting your journey as a childbirth educator
  • Internationally recognised qualification
  • Workshop also open to Aoraki trained childbirth educators and NZ midwives as continuing education

For more information regarding training with BirthWorks International or their upcoming workshops please check out BirthWorks International website or email The Birthing Room Contact Us

Quality antenatal education for North Canterbury parents to be

Rosemary (10 of 22)


This month will see one of New Zealand's top antenatal classes begin in North Canterbury for the second time this year. The Birthing Room's Antenatal Classes, which are a combination of BirthWorks and BabyCalm, will start in Pegasus on Saturday May 23rd. The Birthing Room's classes help expectant parents build confidence in both their ability to instinctively give birth, and to parent their newborn. The classes are holistic in nature, as birth and parenting preparation is so much more than understanding the physical process.

The Birthing Room has been running antenatal classes since 2013, and has held a 0% caesarean rate for all antenatal class participants and kiwi companion clients for 7 months now. This is in stark contrast with New Zealand's ever increasing rates of intervention, with caesareans rising from 9.6% of births in 1983/84 to 23.1% in 2003 and the rate is still climbing (Kiwi Families, 2012).

Key topics of The Birthing Room's antenatal classes include:

  • Active labour and birth
  • Using your primal brain during birth -the part of you that instinctively knows how to birth your baby
  • Fears, hopes and dreams
  • Choosing your birth place and team
  • Making informed decisions about medical intervention and obstetric drugs
  • Grieving and healing childbirth related losses
  • Pelvic body work and optimal foetal positioning
  • Nutrition and exercise
  • Breastfeeding self efficacy
  • Womb to world -identifying your newborn's needs
  • A toolbox of strategies to help settle your baby

The Birthing Room's antenatal classes are fantastic to do at any stage of pregnancy, but the earlier one can take them the more time they'll have to integrate information into their birth planning and health and wellness. The classes are great for first time parents, those who have experienced previous birth trauma and are planning another birth, or families who would just like a more positive birth experience next time around. Cost: $190 BirthWorks; $30 BabyCalm.

Being only 15mins drive from Belfast, Christchurch, The Birthing Room's North Canterbury antenatal classes are also perfect for anyone living on the north side of Christchurch. For more information Contact Us

Special thanks to Bloom Birth Photography for the photograph, and the beautiful families who have shared these precious moments with us.

The accuracy of estimated due dates

Rosemary (8 of 22)

Loving the new blog from midwife Keishana Coursey. Have been given a "due date" for your pregnancy? Check out her latest blog post!

The Waiting Place... for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go, or the mail to come, or the rain to go, or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow, or the waiting around for a Yes or No, or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting - Dr Seuss. If you're curious about the apparently arbitrary estimated due date of birth (EDB or EDD as it's often cited) and want to know the truth to potentially avoid unnecessary birth interventions, enjoy reading my latest post.

Thank you to Bloom Birth Photography and the special family who have given permission to use their photo.


skin to skin benefits breastfeeding

So excited to say that after another spree of babies being born in the last month, The Birthing Room is STILL holding a 0% caesarean rate for ALL of our antenatal class participants (both online and group classes) AND for all of our kiwi companion clients. That's 7 months now!

This means that not only are Mums truly awesome instinctual beings, and are doing a fantastic job of choosing their birth team and birth place, but when someone does eventually end up having a caesarean they will be able to be SO proud of the decisions they made, as NOBODY is having unnecessary intervention, and I'm sure it will be a good call.

My heart flutters when I think of all those little babies with great gut flora for life, and all of the families able to have a positive start to their parenting.

How many sides does a breastfeeding baby need?


Mammal mothers don't worry about minutes, milk transfer, or changing sides. They nurse as long as they feel comfortable in that position, and they change position when they want to, or when the baby stops being happy with what's happening.

Think of a breast as a 'serving'. Some babies want two servings right in a row; some fall asleep after the first one and save the second breast for later. Some, who are trying to build up your milk supply, take three or four or more breasts (yes, all of them yours) before dozing off. Since you'll be nursing your baby again whenever he tells you he needs it, it doesn't really matter how many breasts or servings he takes in a row, as long as he's satisfied when he's finished.

(Wiessinger, D., West, D. & Pitman, T (2010) The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th ed.)

To Push or Not To Push… That is the question!

Rosemary (9 of 22)

What do you think of this article? No more pelvic floor muscles exercises during pregnancy
I love love love Pregnancy Exercise, think Lorriane does an AWESOME job of facilitating great fitness in both pregnancy and postnatally. And totally agree with the idea of relaxing the pelvic floor. But here's the key point of my story... Do you think women need strong Abs for birthing their babies? "The exercises I prescribe and teach during personal training, pregnancy group exercise sessions and on-line pregnancy programs include the exercises that strengthen the abdominal and PFM, strong abdominal muscles are vital for pushing your baby out." "We all want strong PFM but as exercising females we need to be educated in how to push our babies out by relaxing our PFM and using our Upper Abdominal muscles. Think you are a tube of toothpaste pushing and squeezing down from your upper abdominals relaxing at your pelvic floor muscles."

If you were giving birth in the situation and posture that Lorriane was in her story, then yes, I agree that you would need strong Abs. But I believe birth is actually an autonomic function, not unlike breathing! When women are able to give birth in an environment where they feel safe and secure, are upright/forward leaning, and have babies who are in an anterior position, most women will be able to breath their babies out and not need to engage their abdominal muscles in "pushing". This also protects the pelvic floor musculature by lifting it out of the way. That is why our precious great grandmothers and grandmothers were still able to give birth during the horrid 'twilight sleep' era, despite being completely out of their minds.

Jean Sutton (creator of Optimal Foetal Positioning) describes it perfectly with this picture:

If a mother is in a reclining position giving birth, such as semi reclining in bed with her legs up, then when baby is being birthed he/she not only as to go uphill against gravity, and navigate his/her way past a curled up coccyx, he/she meets a half closed door -the pelvic floor! If a women is upright and forward leaning, her coccyx is lifted back by her sacrum, baby is able to utilise gravity to be born, and hello -the door called the pelvic floor is wide open, as it has been lifted out of the way. Welcome baby!

Beautiful picture thanks to Bloom Birth Photography


Rosemary (5 of 22)

Are you passionate about seeing New Zealand families have positive birth experiences? Does talking about empowered birth make your heart beat faster and light a fire within you? Now is your opportunity to be part of a powerful movement, that is seeing more amazing births and decreased caesareans and birth interventions around the country, whilst bringing like minded people together. IT'S BIRTHWORKS!

BirthWorks International is having their first Accelerated Childbirth Educator and Doula (ACED) Workshop in Christchurch very soon, followed by a Childbirth Educator Workshop in Auckland. You have the option of attending the workshop to begin your career as a BirthWorks Childbirth Educator or BirthWorks Doula, or can simply attend the workshop for continuing education purposes. The workshop is open to:

  • Those interested in a career
  • CBEs or Doulas
  • Midwives
  • Midwifery students
  • Breastfeeding supporters and peer counsellors interested in birth support and education
  • Chiropractors working with pregnant women
  • Registered and enrolled nurses
  • Well Child nurses

Registrations need to be in asap, so don't delay! To find out more information, CONTACT US

(Photo thanks to Bloom Birth Photography)