A gentle approach to your birth

in Features/Health

Knowledge is power and the key to a positive experience. By Aoife Lydon

14_aoife-lydonAs a mum to be, whether this is your first or fifth baby, you want to welcome your baby into the world in the safest, most gentle way possible. Our society loves to share the scary birth stories. I believe that we should share the good stories and enable more couples to have a positive birthing experience, by being educated about what to expect during pregnancy and birth, and how they can guide that experience to fit with their preferences.

GentleBirth provides couples with the tools to help the expectant mum to have a fulfilling and empowered birth in whatever direction her body and baby takes her, whether in hospital or at home, with or without an epidural.

I believe that birth can be a truly empowering experience and, rather than being fearful of that, we should embrace it! It’s such a wonderful time for women to take the opportunity of change to learn about themselves and what they are really capable of.

I am very excited to bring this fantastic education to expecting couples – feedback from parents and birth professionals has been really positive.

A natural progression 

Following two very different birthing experiences with my two children, and having used the GentleBirth programme during both pregnancies, I decided to complete the GentleBirth instructor training.

I have been teaching yoga for over 10 years now – and practicing for almost 20 – and have also trained yoga teachers to teach pregnancy yoga.

I’ve enjoyed working with expecting mums for almost 10 years now through my pregnancy yoga classes and this seemed like a natural progression.

I found GentleBirth during my first pregnancy and the techniques, combined with my yoga practice, were so helpful throughout pregnancy and during the labour and births. These are techniques that have continued with me long after birth – they are tools for all stages of life.

How it works

GentleBirth workshops are not like other antenatal classes. Unlike hospital antenatal classes, my weekend workshops focus solely on birth preparation, not just for the mother but for her birth partner also. After watching countless birthing reality TV shows, it’s understandable that a lot of mums can feel nervous.

This is where the workshops are such a solid investment for the mum, her birth partner and her baby. My focus is on helping couples to achieve a positive mind-set when it comes to childbirth, so that they feel calm and confident when the big day arrives.

The programme utilises brain science, birth science, mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and sports psychology techniques to assist in ‘rewiring’ the brain to a position of positivity and confidence. GentleBirth provides evidence-based tools and research along with invaluable information to support the couple in navigating hospital policy during pregnancy and birth. On completion of the programme, the couples feel empowered and informed in their ability to be a team in the birthing experience.

The programme includes the GentleBirth App which contains a guidebook, mp3s of affirmations, mindfulness and hypnobirthing tracks. The app customises your experiences based on where you are in your pregnancy, varying your tracks daily.

There are tracks for gentle induction and caesarean, enabling couples to have a positive experience regardless of what journey the birth takes.

12_aoife2What you’ll gain 

My goal as a GentleBirth instructor is to prepare you for a fear-free, positive birth experience, no matter what path your birthing takes. Mum to be and her partner will leave the workshop with a clear understanding of what choices are available for labour and birth in Irish maternity hospitals, and will be given the tools to be actively involved in decision making.

I believe that a positive pregnancy and birthing experience is just as important as a positive birth for all involved. Stack the odds in your favour of having an empowered, fear free, confident birth experience and come along to one of the workshops – you will leave feeling excited about labour, with no fear and ready for the great adventure of parenting – immune to the scary stories everyone is dying to share with you!

A chance to connect

I regularly host Positive Pregnancy & Parenting meetups in Connemara, which are open to everyone interested whether pregnant or not. Details of the next meetup can be found on on my Facebook page at GentleBirthAoifeLydon.

  • Upcoming GentleBirth workshops in Clifden are on September 24 and 25, October 15 and 16, and November 5 and 6. Aoife also holds workshops in Westport.
  • For details of workshops and pregnancy yoga, see www.aoifelydon.com, or call Aoife on 086 8421400.