GentleBirth - the leading positive birth preparation program.
Learn more about the GentleBirth advantage
Over 2000 couples have attended GentleBirth workshops around Ireland and Australia and hundreds more in Ireland and around the world are using the homestudy program
Trained by the HypnoBirthing® Institute (by Mickey Mongan the founder of HypnoBirthing in 2005).
Author of The Better Birth Book, (Taking the Mystery and Fear out of Childbirth) Liffey Press 2006 and The Irish Caesarean and VBAC Guide (2010)
Founder of the GentleBirth Homestudy birth hypnosis program - the first complete antenatal homestudy hypnosis program available in Europe.
Dublin workshops are facilitated by an experienced birth assistant and student Midwife working in Irish hospitals and at homebirths. Our first hand experience of attending GentleBirths in Irish hospitals is one of the main reasons mums choose the GentleBirth program. Our expertise and experience helping thousands of couples navigate their options confidently during pregnancy and birth is found in no other antenatal class in Ireland.
Certified Doula Trainer (DONA International) We provide the only training in Ireland for doulas to learn coping skills and strategies for labour and birth...strategies that are taught on day 2 of the workshop to build your birth partners confidence in facilitating the best birth possible.
Certified Hypnotherapist specialising in hypnosis for women's wellness (including fertility, pregnancy and areas unique to women).
Elected volunteer Chair of Our Lady of Lourdes Maternity Consumer Group for 2 years.
Regularly invited to speak to student medical professionals about GentleBirth.
Regular contributor to Modern Mum pregnancy magazine and Infant & Child Magazine.
Breastfeeding Educator and breastfeeding Mother.
GentleBirth has been featured on 21st Century Child, Baby on Board, The Irish Independent, Irish Times and Ireland AM.
All GentleBirth teachers are experienced mothers who have used the program for the birth of their own babies.
When Should I Start?
17 days after conception your baby's organs begin to form so it makes sense that the sooner you reduce your stress levels the better - for you and your baby. The sooner you start the sooner you can relax into your pregnancy and enjoy this special time without any anxiety or any dread of labour. The earlier in your pregnancy you start the program the more time you have to practice the techniques and the longer you can experience the benefits of a more relaxed enjoyable pregnancy. Unlike traditional birth preparation classes the more time you have to practice the techniques the better.
If you have experienced a miscarriage in the past we recommend getting started with the CDs as soon as possible or if you are experiencing high anxiety levels in early pregnancy.
Is GentleBirth Easy to Learn?
Yes! But it does take a commiment to doing the daily practice. All you have to do is get comfortable, press play and relax. For the biggest day of your life - it couldn't be easier ! Most GentleBirth mums feel that they sleep through their 'practice' sessions but it's all going in.
Will I be able to use it in hospital or only if I have a homebirth?
Most of my couples give birth in hospitals although these skills can be applied to any birth setting. Noises and smells in the hospital will deepen your relaxation instead of distracting you (a huge benefit of learning these techniques).
Will I still be in control?
Yes! Lots of people worry that hypnosis for birth will be similar to stage hypnosis or that you'll go home barking like a dog everytime the phone rings. The fact of the matter is with GentleBirth you are in complete control, all hypnosis is self hypnosis, it is not something that is done to you. You can accept or reject the suggestions given to you for a calm gentle birth. Nobody can make you do anything you do not want to do whilst in hypnosis and you will remain totally awake throughout the whole of your birth experience, just much calmer, more in control and more relaxed.
I’m having a Caesarean Section – Will GentleBirth still benefit me?
Yes! Gentlebirth isn’t just about natural, drug-free, vaginal births; it can be used for any type of birth experience. It is a wonderful way to help prepare you for the arrival of your baby. Gentlebirth helps you experience a happier, more relaxed pregnancy, it helps with bonding with your baby, increases your confidence in breastfeeding (should you chose to breastfeed) and adjusting to life with your new baby as stress free as possible. (Your recovery is likely to be quicker too !) Contact us about our Cesarean Preparation CDs and Breech turn CD if your baby is breech.
I Already Have a Relaxation CD - is that enough?
A relaxation CD can definitley help you to relax and will be of some benefit, but Gentlebirth is a complete antenatal education program in itself and helps you plan for a calm relaxed birth experience. Not only do you learn about hypnosis you learn how to make informed decisions about your care. The CDs include specific imagery and suggestions to build your confidence for labour and keep you relaxed during the birth of your baby. Marie Mongan's HypnoBirthing book is a wonderful tool but was not designed to be a homestudy course. Understanding your birth choices goes a long way to feeling more in control on the day. Research shows that a perceived sense of control is the biggest factor in having a positive birth experience.
Self hypnosis is only one part of the GentleBirth program. Not only do you learn self hypnosis you learn how to make informed decisions about your care. The CDs include specific imagery and suggestions to build your confidence for labour and keep you relaxed during the birth of your baby. If a 5 week program isn't for you our Hospital Birth Preparation CD is a great tool for use during your pregnancy.
Does My Partner Have to Come Too?
Some birth hypnosis programs focus solely on the mothers experience and we understand that not every birth partner is willing to participate. GentleBirth can be used alone or with a partner. Having taught over 2000 couples in Ireland it has become evident that involvement of the birth partners enhances the couples experience of the pregnancy and birth.
Dads become very involved as they begin to understand their role in facilitating a gentle birth. Dads are very much encouraged to attend our workshops as their role is very important in facilitating a gentle birth experience. You can reassure your partner that the workshop is very practical and there is no chanting or group hugs.
I'm Planning on Having an Epidural Will GentleBirth Be a Benefit to Me?
Epidurals are a fantastic tool and one of many that are available to you during the birth process. You'll still experience the benefits of GentleBirth during your pregnancy as your confidence increases and you enjoy longer periods of uninterrupted sleep at night. GentleBirth will also help you stay calm and connected while you're at home in the early stages of labour, keeping adrenaline levels low. Also in today's busy hospitals it may take some time to get your epidural and there is a small percentage of women for whom the epidural may not work completely. If you are coming to a workshop you and your partner will learn a wide range of support techniques taught to doulas and student midwives so you have a labour 'toolkit' of support strategies available to you on the day. There may also be a rare occasion during a GentleBirth when having an epidural makes sense after using your repetoire of labour skills. Having a range of tools available to you as well as the epidural means the experience remains a positive one with no guilt as you and your partner were able to make an informed decision based on your individual circumstances.
Am I Guaranteed a Pain Free Labour?
Not even an anaesthetist can guarentee a completely pain free birth. 70% of our Mums gave birth with no pain relief at all or just gas and air right at the end. We don't guarantee pain free birth and that is not the focus of the class....but we do guarantee that you will feel much more in control and calmer on the day and able to handle anything that comes your way on the day.
Does it Really Work?
If your goal is a fear free confident birth then the answer is absolutely! We can't guarantee a pain free birth as there are too many variables ......but calm, managable, gentle births are more than possible and happen to Irish women every day. You'll feel the program 'working' right from the first time you listen to your CDs. You notice you are sleeping better than ever before, you're feeling more confident and more excited about your baby's birth. Don't be surprised if friends and family notice the changes too ! Read some of our inspirational birth stories from Irish women here. Take some time to determine what you consider to be a 'successful' birth.
If your goal is to feel calm, confident and in control every step of the way then you've come to the right place.
Do you have Any Other Statistics?
Doula Ireland’s clients (of those taught from 2005 and given birth by August 2010) experienced:
7% emergency cesarean rate (Irish national average is approx 24%)
15% perineal injury (Irish average is 60%)
7.5hr average length of labour (Irish average is 12-16hrs for a first time mum)
Do I Still Need to Take Hospital Antenatal Classes if I'm doing Gentlebirth?
The GentleBirth workshop is a complete antenatal class and includes comprehensive information on your options and strategies for effective decision making. If you are planning on breastfeeding we recommend you attend a breastfeeding class and join a breastfeeding support group. Most Homestudy Mums also attend hospital classes to find out more about the hospitals policies and to visit the labour ward. You will also receive continuous support which is just a phone call away. The GentleBirth homestudy course compliments your hospital antenatal classes and prepares you for a positive birth experience in collaboration with your caregivers plus the benefits of a more relaxed pregnancy and confident weeks as a new Mum.
How does GentleBirth differ from other hypnotic childbirth courses?
Some programs are focused completely on hypnosis for pain management as their only tool. We recognise that self hypnosis is a skill you learn and some will find it easier than others. We welcome and encourage partner participation. At our workshops you don't just learn about hypnotic tools but a full range of hands on practical tips and techniques for you and your partner to explore and help you have the best birth possible - including labouring in water, acupressure techniques, use of essential oils and specific positions and techniques to avoid perineal injury. Group workshops run at least 12 hours to cover all of this additional information. As a breastfeeding educator, breastfeeding information is also part of the ongoing support provided as part of your GentleBirth program.
Other hypnotic childbirth programs provide one practice CD - GentleBirth Mums receive 13 Hypnosis sessions including tracks specifically for Dads.
Our classes are based on the best available current research. Our training and experience is not limited to hypnotherapy but also includes training with the most renowned experts in childbirth education including Dr. Michel Odent, Penny Simkin, Marie Mongan, Debra Betts, Sheila Kitzinger and Ethel Byrnes.
Have I Left it Too Late?
It's only too late after your baby has arrived. I've worked with mums at 40+ weeks who have gone on to have very positive birth experiences. As hypnosis is only one element of our classes even one session right before your baby's birth has benefits. After 38 weeks I recommed using our Hospital Birth Preparation CD rather than the 5 week program so you can still enjoy the benefits of a calmer birth and it doesn't cost the earth!
Where are the Classes Held?
Classes are held at the new City North Hotel – right on the M1 for easy accessibility from the M50. http://www.citynorthhotel.com.
Classes are also held in Galway, Cork and Dublin.
I Can't Get to a Workshop - can I learn the techniques at home?
Yes! If you're not sure about coming to a workshop get started with the Home Study program and see how you feel in a few weeks. If you decide to attend a workshop the cost of the program is deduced so your workshop is €300.
Payment plans are always available for Mums experiencing financial difficulties.
For group workshops lasting 12 hours - €375 (including materials and ongoing 1:1 support) Either way you will also be invited to join the online GentleBirth group where you can connect with other Irish mums using the Gentlebirth program around Ireland (there are currently over 600 members)
A €100 non-refundable deposit is payable upon booking with the remainder payable either in full before your class or on the first day.
Contact Tracy for class schedule and more details - TracyDonegan@DoulaIreland.com