The importance of building confidence.

Building confidence before and during childbirth is vital. It strengthens a woman’s capacity for coping with labour and hence maximizes the chance of  a positive birth experience, by preventing trauma and secondary fear of childbirth. Midwives have long known that stress and fear can have a negative effect on the progress of labour. Yet,, maternity care staff both antenatally and on labour wards lack access to a practical care model with clear tools and action plans for handling and managing the emotions of stress and fear.

Birth Without Fear offers professional development  training and instructor training in our healthcare-specific model, ‘SAFE’ (Stress And Fear Evaluation). It provides simple and clear tools based on the Birth Without Fear method to reduce stress and fear both for the woman giving birth and her birth partner. The model is suitable for use in the antenatal clinic setting, labour wards as well as in specific clinics dedicated to the treatment of ‘tokophobia’ (fear of childbirth).

Our aim

We want to give all birthing women and their families worldwide the opportunity to experience as safe, as loving and as empowering a birth experience as possible. We provide  effective tools to achieve an emotionally safe birth and a deepened understanding of the intrinsic link between emotions and the physiology of childbirth. Together we strengthen women’s confidence in their own bodies, in becoming a parent and in being able to cope with life’s challenges. In turn, this leads to a deeper human connections, greater meaning and better mental health for more people.

We have the training and the tools

Our healthcare-specific model ‘SAFE’ (Stress And Fear Evaluation) offers concrete strategies to identify and reduce fear and stress through hands-on strategies and action plans for use specifically within antenatal and intrapartum care, as well as  for clinics working specifically with fear of childbirth. Maternity units across several counties  in Sweden have already been trained in and implemented ‘SAFE’. We always adapt our training courses to the client. Our professional development training  provides scientific teaching based on physiology in how to increase emotional safety and prevent fear of birth, and hence reduce complications and the need for interventions. This therefore enables  a sustainable and better long-term approach to reducing the cost of maternity care as well as improving maternal psychosocial health.

Hands-on support for a positive birth experience

The ‘SAFE’ model provides a structured approach to identifying stress and fear, maximizing effective  support and developing a teamwork around both the pregnant and the labouring woman.

We also offer instructor training tailored for healthcare professionals based on identified needs.

Several national health hospitals across different counties in Sweden have already been trained in and implemented the ‘SAFE’ model.

Our professional development training courses and implementation

Birth Without Fear is a Swedish antenatal “prophylactic” birthing method created by physiotherapist Susanna Heli. The method is based on the book Give Birth Without Fear and the new book Trygg förlossning (Gothia, 2017) written by Susanna with midwife Liisa Svensson, lecturer at Karolinska Institutet. The method is also represented in the course literature for midwifery in the book “Att stödja och stärka” (Studentlitteratur, 2010).

The Birth Without Fear method focuses on reducing stress and fear so women can give birth more confidently and safely with the use of four tools: Breathing, Relaxation, The Voice and The Mind. The four tools aim to activate the birthing woman’s innate birthing ability by maximizing and encouraging her birthing physiology to be allowed to function. .

The method is based on respiratory and stress physiology, the functioning of the parasympathetic nervous  system and scientific evidence about the fear of birth and the importance of support.

Birth Without Fear’s Care model – ‘SAFE’
Our healthcare-specific model ‘SAFE’ (Stress and Fear Evaluation) provides a structured framework for how support can be provided by the care giver, with a clear focus on emotional and practical support in order to achieve the best outcomes.

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Our training courses and implementation:
Workshops and professional development courses  are facilitated by Susanna Heli or by one of the certified and  midwives from the Birth Without Fear team.

  1. Workshops and professional development training
    To learn more and become inspired by our method register for  an inspirational workshop or choose our professional development training to start using our method. We have trained many clinics and maternity units in Sweden and internationally.
  2. Implementation:
    If you want to start using the method the first step is to create a care focus group, as has been done in Karlstad, Visby, Falun and Gothenburg in Sweden. Once all this staff have been trained by our team, you can order our instructor training course. This group of instructors can then practice and train, maintain their skills and train colleagues and new employees. In addition, they will also be able to offer pregnant women our Birth Without Fear antenatal course. The right to maintain skills, provide professional development training and offer antenatal childbirth classes in the method only applies within the catchment area that commissioned the course. It is not possible to provide training at other hospitals or maternity units that fall outside the area covered by the contract.

Inspirational workshop 3–4 hours
Cost: Email us for an offer in your country.

Midwifery staff/Maternity healthcare staff/Other staff

We cover the  theory  of the Birth Without Fear method, our ground principles of support and how the tools can be implemented during labour. The workshop is 50% theory and 50% practice.

Professional development  training for healthcare professionals six – eight hours
Cost: Email us for an offer in your country.

Midwifery staff/Maternity healthcare staff/Other staff
We cover the Birth Without Fear method, our ground principles of support and how to use the tools during labour based on our healthcare-specific Stress and Fear Evaluation model, ‘SAFE’. The ‘SAFE’ model provides a structured approach to identifying stress and fear and how to practically reverse their detrimental physiological effects on the birthing physiology. ‘SAFE’ instructs care givers how to practically offer both physical and emotional support and how to develop a robust teamwork around both the pregnant woman and the labouring woman.

The professional development training course focuses on normalizing and understanding fear and highlighting the importance of safeguarding the emotional aspect of childbirth. The model explains how to implement preparation for childbirth, tackle any associated fears and how to offer support and care whether as a  midwife, obstetrician, maternity support worker,  or other support staff.

Instructor training for healthcare professionals
A core group is selected to be in charge of implementation  within the geographical area covered. This group completes our in-depth instructor training. Instructor certificates must be updated online each year.

Cost: Email us for an offer in your country.

This specially designed training course provides in-depth knowledge of Birth Without Fear, the theory behind the method and the structure of the concept as well as knowledge of how to teach the method. Certification also gives participants practical knowledge of how to teach our antenatal childbirth class and how to implement our healthcare-specific model ‘SAFE’, within the care settings.
The training gives the client the right to offer antenatal classes to expectant parents using the Birth Without Fear method in the geographical area covered by the agreement. Additionally, on completion of the course, participants will continue to implement the ‘SAFE’ care model, with refresher courses and updates for maternity staff as well as introduce new staff to the model.

To quality assure the method, it will not be possible to train other instructors or staff outside the catchment area covered by the contract following the course. Therefore, you cannot offer training in ‘SAFE’ or Birth Without Fear outside the geographical catchment area as stated in the contract. All new training should be provided by the Birth Without Fear team.

The course includes three mandatory elements:
· Module 1: Reading the instructor manual and books
· Module 2: Attend the practical training over three days. We go through every aspect of the theoretical course concept and the practical exercises. First Susanna goes through the content, then the participants practice on each other and finally we explore  any  questions in detail..
· Module 3: Participants execute the practical aspects within a specific and finite timeframe on willing volunteers (friends/family) in order to gain confidence and experience in facilitating the class. At the end of the time frame participants present their written evidence and feedback to Susanna as part of a discussion and Q&A session, in order to receive their instructor certification.

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