The important job of creating a feeling of safety

Creating a sense of safety before and during childbirth is vital. It not only strengthens a woman’s capacity for coping with labour but also maximises her chance of achieving a positive birth experience, prevents trauma and a secondary fear of childbirth. Midwives have for a long time known that stress and fear can negatively affect labour, yet at the same time maternity care staff lack access to a practical care model with clear tools and action plans for handling and managing the emotions of stress and fear, both in the delivery room, antenatally and as part of the care provided within tokophobia clinics.

Our aim

We offer effective tools to achieve an emotionally safe birth and a deepened understanding of the intrinsic link between the emotions and the physiology of childbirth. 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. Together we aim to strengthen women’s confidence in their own bodies and in their transition to parenthood, as well as being able to cope with life’s various challenges. Our courses and training programmes provide theory and practical knowledge around how to effectively increase the emotional safety of the birthing woman and how to prevent against fear of childbirth. This achieves the desired outcomes of both improving quality of care and reducing costs, as well as improving psycho-social health for all child-bearing women.

Hands-on support for a positive birth experience

Our healthcare-specific model ‘SAFE’ (Stress And Fear Evaluation model) offers concrete strategies to identify and reduce stress and fear by applying hands-on techniques and action plans for use specifically within antenatal and intrapartum care, as well as for clinics working specifically with fear of childbirth. The ‘SAFE’ model provides a structured approach to identifying stress and fear and how to maximise the effect of giving support by developing a teamwork around both the pregnant and labouring woman. We also offer bespoke instructor training programmes tailored to healthcare professionals based on identified goals and objectives.

We have the training and the tools

Our continued professional development training courses and implementation

Give 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 (2nd Edition, Clink Street, 2021) and the book Trygg förlossning (“Safe Birth”, Gothia, 2017) written by Susanna with midwife Liisa Svensson, senior lecturer at Karolinska Institutet. The method is also represented in the course literature for midwifery in the book ‘Att stödja och stärka’ (“To support and empower”, Studentlitteratur, 2010).

The Give 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 maximising and encouraging her birthing physiology to be allowed to function.

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

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Give Birth Without Fear’s Care model – ‘SAFE’
Our healthcare-specific model ‘SAFE’ (Stress and Fear Evaluation) provides a structured framework that is unique of its kind for how support can be implemented by the caregiver, with a clear focus on the emotional aspects involved in providing care.

Our workshops, training courses and implementation:

To learn more about and use our method, register for an inspirational workshop or choose our Continued Professional Development training to start using our method within your setting. We have trained several clinics and maternity units across Sweden and internationally. Workshops and Continued Professional Development courses are facilitated by Susanna Heli or by one of the certified midwives from the Birth Without Fear team.

1. Inspirational workshop
Eligible for: Antenatal and intrapartum maternity care staff/Other staff
We cover the theory  of the Give Birth Without Fear method, our ground principles of support and how the tools can be implemented during labour. The workshop is delivered using a combination of theory and practice.
Cost: Pound Sterling TBC (travel, accommodation and training location to be provided by the organiser).
Duration: 3-4 hours

2. Continued Professional Development training
Eligible for: Antenatal and intrapartum maternity care staff/Other staff
We cover the Give 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 identify stress and fear, how to give effective support and how to develop a robust team-work around both the pregnant and labouring woman.

Our Continued Professional Development training course focuses on normalising and understanding fear and its function while simultaneously equalising the importance of safeguarding the emotional aspect of childbirth with the medical safety. The model includes how to implement antenatal preparation for childbirth, treat tokophobia and how to offer practical and emotional support whether as a midwife, obstetrician, maternity support worker or other maternity staff.

Cost: Pound Sterling TBC (travel, accommodation and training location to be provided by the organiser)
Duration: 6-8 hours

3. Certification in ‘SAFE’ – Stress and Fear Evaluation model
You can choose to certify a particular setting, ward or clinic in the Give Birth Without Fear method and implement its healthcare model ‘SAFE’.

‘SAFE’ Certified Instructor Training for healthcare professionals:

This can be undertaken once all relevant staff have either attended the inspirational workshop or completed the Continued Professional Development training.  This group of instructors will be in charge of implementation and development within the geographical area, ideally from different professional backgrounds within maternity, as has been done across different counties in Sweden, including Karlstad, Visby, Falun, Gothenburg, amongst others. This group completes our in-depth instructor training. On completion of the course, this select group of instructors can then practice and train colleagues and new employees, maintain their skills by attending yearly updates and refresher courses and continue to implement the ‘SAFE’ care model within the setting/geographical area. Certification also gives participants practical knowledge of how to deliver our antenatal childbirth class as per the Birth Without Fear method to expectant parents as an offer within the antenatal clinic and/or tokophobia clinics.

This specially designed training course provides in-depth knowledge of Birth Without Fear, the cornerstones of the method and the structure of its concept, as well as knowledge of how to teach the method to others. Certification also provides a practical knowledgebase of how to deliver the ‘prophylactic’ antenatal childbirth class to expectant clients as well as implement ‘SAFE’ across the specifically targeted maternity wards.

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. In order to quality assure the method as this is a licensed programme, it will not be possible to teach the delivery of the childbirth class or train other instructors or staff in the ‘SAFE’ model outside the catchment area covered by the contract, following the course. It is therefore not possible to provide training at other hospitals or maternity units that fall outside the geographical catchment area as stated in the contract. All new training should be provided by the Give Birth Without Fear team.

Cost: Pound Sterling TBC (travel, accommodation and training location to be provided by the organiser)

The training programme includes three mandatory elements:

· Module 1: Reading the instructor manual and books. We recommend that participants spend 8 hours on this pre-study element, however this can be decided locally.
· Module 2: Attend the practical training over three days. We go through every aspect of the theoretical course concept and the practical exercises.
· Module 3: Continued practice and repetition of the content after completion of the course.


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