So you are expecting a baby, CONGRATULATIONS, now it is time to prepare! But what exactly are you preparing for – the pregnancy, the birth, the baby – which can feel like a lot, and it is totally normal if you feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of advice coming at you. In this article I outline some different antenatal preparation avenues and how Relaxed Birthing fits.

Growing a whole new life is miraculous. A new person you are wholly responsible for, and it is only natural to feel deeply invested in every aspect from conception to caring. Moving forward you will invest your time in doctors’ visits, creating a relationship with a midwife or obstetrician, preparing your home, finding a replacement at work, and/or finding care for other children. Then as you brace your-pregnant-self for bodily changes you may want to invest in exercise – think gentle exercises like yoga, swimming or walking. You may want, or need, to change your diet, or at the very least invest in avoiding certain foods that can be detrimental in pregnancy.

Through this time it is normal to want to inhale knowledge so that you are poised to make the best decisions as a parent. But what knowledge is helpful and what is potentially harmful? And how should you go about acquiring the ‘right kind of knowledge’?

There are so many options for effectively preparing for a baby these days… books; social media posts; blogs; guides; apps; stories & antidotes; antenatal or birthing classes (in-person or online)… and that’s certainly not the exhaustive list of options. Believe me though when I say there’s no ‘right’ way to go about it, only the way that feels right for you and your partner. Remaining open to advice can be helpful, especially if it is coming from a trusted source. But if your intuition is telling you something doesn’t sit right, then feel free to side-line any suggestions or even the people dishing it out. Which may sound harsh but staying positive and true to yourself at this juncture is so very important, and is actually a sound attitude to take forward into your parenting toolkit.

So if you are reading this then you’ve found Relaxed Birthing – an online antenatal course – which is solely focused on preparing you for a relaxed birth experience. Presented in a time considerate format it is refreshingly straight to the point and simple to understand. At your leisure read the bulk of knowledge in an hour(ish) which covers the most important aspects of birth; how your body works; how labour sensations may feel; labour insights (painstaking detail aside because your birth experience can differ drastically from someone else’s); plus why and how to discuss becoming a parent with your partner. When you are ready you can revise the key points by watching a 30 minute video – perfect for helping birth companions get up to speed. Then reinforce the information by listening to relaxing audio recordings, which as a bonus fight pregnancy insomnia. Costing a super affordable NZD$49 (or two payments of NZD$24.50) it’s priced so every pregnant couple has the means to positively prepare for labour. Click here to purchase access to Relaxed Birthing.

Here at Relaxed Birthing we believe the ‘ideal’ level of antenatal preparation really boils down to personal preference plus access to resources (bearing in mind every couple has different time, monetary and locality considerations). For example when preparing for my first birth (circa 2016) my husband and I were privileged enough to be able to afford to do a Hypnobirthing course, which really opened my eyes to the impeccable design of a woman’s body when creating life, although there were a few areas that didn’t correlate with my actual experience of labour – which you can read more about in my article ‘Hypnobirthing Inspired Relaxed Birthing but here’s how they differ’.

We also paid for a Parents Centre antenatal class, which included a host of information about birth and also key tips on caring for your baby after birth. The course was spread over six weeks and covered childbirth options, labour, breastfeeding and parenting. At times during the course I felt birth was medicalised, which I now know may create a fear/tension response that negatively affects the natural progression of labour, but regular relaxation practice during pregnancy easily counterbalanced this.

Traditional antenatal courses also endorse plenty of advanced decision making, which differs from Relaxed Birthing’s philosophy. As we believe that when couples remain relaxed they can communicate openly in the moment, manage their expectations more effectively, and place trust in their Maternity Caregivers to be the medical professionals. Which means you don’t need to invest your valuable time in preparing for every possible labour outcome, although I do know a lot of people who want to have all the information at hand. So if that is you and you are in New Zealand you can locate a traditional antenatal class to supplement Relaxed Birthing’s information via the Smart Start website.

To this day I believe the greatest benefit of our in-person antenatal course was meeting an incredible ‘coffee group’ of families, who were invaluable support as we all navigated the transition to parenthood, and continue to be amazing friends. Connecting to other families going through similar stages can provide a powerful postnatal space for feeling heard and understood. Here at Relaxed Birthing we endorse investing time in relationships within a solid support network, so you can openly and honestly communicate with people who care when life with your new baby feels overwhelming or hard.

After my overwhelmingly positive hospital birth of Capri I trained as a Hypnotherapist because, basically, I got hooked on relaxation and wanted to learn more. Before the hospital birth of my second child Astro (late 2018) I started pulling together my own Relaxed Birthing course and sharing it with people I knew, because I had heard too many traumatic birth stories and wanted to help those around me have positive experiences. Then before the home-birth of my third child Cleo (early 2021) I felt driven to share the information I had amassed about harnessing the power of relaxation for birth as far and wide as I could. Cue the delivery of Relaxed Birthing – an affordable online antenatal course – because birth preparation classes should be REALISTIC, ACCESSIBLE and AFFORDABLE. So that all couples can positively prepare for all birth outcomes, without over-preparing to the point of fear. You can read my three birth stories via the Soteria Interview for Home Birth Awareness Week and read first-hand how relaxation preparation served me so well.

However just like there is space for different personalities in this world, or parenting philosophies in your toolkit, I believe there is definitely a place for both traditional antenatal classes and Relaxed Birthing when preparing for birth. Covering different material they really complement each other nicely. However if you are restrained financially or in regards to time, then you can trust Relaxed Birthing will concisely cover just the most important aspects of labour to perfectly and positively prepare you birth.

Learn more about Relaxed Birthing here.