Mindful Birthing and Parenting
“Becoming a parent is perhaps the most profound transformation in the adult life cycle. The Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting Program (MBCP) has been created to serve those going through this transformation and who continue to work at one of the most important, joyous and stressful jobs on the planet, that of nurturing and caring for the next generation” – Nancy Bardacke, founder of MBCP.
The mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting program (MBCP) is an 8-week childbirth education class designed to help you go through all of these changes, prepare for birth and the life beyond: parenting. The course offers you and your partner life-long mindfulness skills that help you cope with the daily challenges parenting will surely provide. You can start the course as early as 16 weeks pregnancy, the earlier you start the more you benefit during pregnancy from what you learn.
What are the benefits?
Pregnancy is a very special time to start a mindfulness practice when self-care takes on a whole other dimension. Mindfulness supports health, well-being, relaxation and balance and can significantly help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
Pregnant women and their partners who have attended an MBCP program report an increase in confidence and a decrease in fear of childbirth. They also feel an overall sense of well-being and an increased ability to manage stress in daily life. Though still in its infancy, research is growing to support these clinical observations.
Our desk-based, demanding and technological lifestyles have created a highly charged mindset that is neither beneficial to the mind or the body – and certainly not to pregnancy.
Prolonged periods of stress during pregnancy increase the risk of having a preterm birth, of baby having a low birth weight, sleep and behavioural disorders in young children and chances of post-partum depression in mothers. In addition to learning pain coping skills for childbirth, expectant parents learn self-care tools to decrease stress in daily life. While some degree of stress is unavoidable, learning tools to reduce and cope with the stress in pregnancy is more than just a good idea. This process will benefit you, your partner and the life of your yet to be born child.
How Can mindfulness transform your pregnancy and birth experience?
- Become more aware of and in tune with your body and to being pregnant.
- Letting go of unhelpful and fearful beliefs or expectations around the birth experience. Replacing these with trust, confidence and more helpful beliefs.
- Being fully present and letting the birth process unfold moment by moment. Embracing and surrendering to the sensations of labour rather than resisting these. Allowing for a quicker, more effective labour and overall more positive birth experience.
- Partners can use their mindfulness skills to support the birthing mother to remain centred and present throughout.
- A smoother birth experience for you and your baby. If your mind is calm and your body relaxed, the hormonal environment for you and your baby will also be one of calm and ease, which will support the birth process and decrease the likelihood of foetal distress.
- Be flexible when things don’t go according to plan. Ultimately, we can prepare the best we can for the birth, but it remains a leap in the unknown. Mindfulness supports us to be more comfortable with the unknown, and being more open and accepting with the outcome of the birth.
- Being a more Mindful New parent: Postnatal life is intense. The endless feeds, the sleepless nights, the constant responsibility can all be very overwhelming. But with a more mindful approach to parenting you will be able to step into your new role with a little more confidence and much less stress. Whenever a challenge arises you can use your new skills and understanding to remain present, loving and calm – the best gift you can give to your child.
Course structure and what you will learn
The MBCP course includes 8 weekly classes of 2h45 hours, an additional all-day and a post-birth reunion.
- The physiology of childbirth
- Mind-body awareness practices
- Hand-on practices to work with pain during labor
- Positions for birthing
- Increased awareness of breath
- Breastfeeding and parenting a newborn
- Participants learn mindfulness meditation as a self-regulation approach to the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy, birth and parenting. You will have the most benefit from this course if you start early in your pregnancy (as early as 16 weeks is possible!) to benefit from the course during your pregnancy.
- Access deep physical and mental relaxation
- Learn to engage the mind to work with pain during labor
- Increase confidence and courage for the experience of labor and delivery
- Practice prenatal yoga for strength and flexibility
- Develop skills for managing stress in pregnancy, parenting and daily life
- Enhance partner communication skills
- Become more aware of our own approach to parenting
Home practice is a very important aspect of the course and success of this approach. Is it key that participants make space and time for daily practice during the 8-weeks of the course. A minimum of 30 minutes practice a day is recommended. This requires a lot of personal commitment, discipline, and an open mind.
Before the course begins, we have an intake meeting or call. This is an opportunity for us to get to know each other. Expectant parents share some background information as well as their needs and expectations around the course and can ask any questions.
Course materials include a workbook and guided audio practices.
Note that MBCP is a course that caters to the expectant couple and supports the pregnant woman as well as her partner. People from all backgrounds and sexual orientation are welcome. Single parents are welcome to the course – for optimal support it is strongly recommended to choose a birthing partner to attend the course with you, be it a doula, midwife, mother or friend.