So I’m a massive Gentlebirth fan! I’m also madly passionate about positive births! I had a very traumatic first birth 13 years ago and something inside me believed it just shouldn’t be this way. When I was introduced to the Gentlebirth program, I ate it up and I reaped the benefits by having two very healing subsequent births. Anyone who will listen has heard me bang on about the benefits of using this program in preparing for my births and I only wish every woman has access to it. Not only did it help me heal that trauma I carried from my first birth, it gave me the tools to believe in myself and my ability to birth. So when Tracy asked me to write a review about my experience of using the Gentlebirth program, I jumped at it! This is a collaboration with Gentlebirth but as always, all my thoughts are my own.
In a world where we as women are finally taking back more control over how we birth. We are researching our birth providers, thinking more about our birth preferences and no longer leaving it all up to chance as I did 13 years ago. We are realising we have a choice in how we birth, we are slowly remembering our bodies are made to birth and regaining control over our bodily autonomy. But how do we prepare ourselves for such a momentous life event? Where can we go to find good evidence based research on best practice? How can we stay calm, regardless of the path our birth takes on the day?
It’s a game changer.
Created by an Irish midwife and author of the ‘Irish Better Birth Book’, Tracy Donegan has thankfully opened up the conversation on all things positive birth related. In Tracy’s words, ‘your positive birth starts here’. Her program Gentlebirth changed my life. That might sound a bit dramatic, but anyone who has experienced a traumatic birth, and far too many have, will appreciate the gift of a positive healing birth. You can read more about my birth story here.
So what is Gentlebirth?
..to empower you to have the best birth possible - as defined by you!
This app is not for ‘hippy’ mamas. It’s for ALL mamas. It’s fully inclusive of ALL births. The program understands that birthing can take many different paths and as women we may have very different ideas of what kind of birth we actually want to achieve. There is no shaming on the Gentlebirth Facebook support page, but you will find options, you will find a variety of positive birth stories and you will find sound advice if and when you need it.
Gentlebirth helped me prepare for my birth, remove fear and go deep into relaxation, allowing labor to flow, instead of tensing up and fighting it. It kept me mindful of my physical and emotional self at the most critical moments.
The app itself is available on iOS and Android. It has a fully comprehensive selection of brain training/hypnobirthing and mindfulness tracks designed to support you through infertility, trying to conceive, early pregnancy, vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean), birth rehearsal, effortless epidural, positive cesarean and breathing techniques to name but a few. There are also tracks focused on healing after pregnancy loss, healing after birth trauma, body positive tracks and a whole section for parenting. Basically Tracy has thought of everything we women might need on this crazy road of motherhood, whatever stage you’re at! And she is always thinking of ways to go even further with it. This really is a woman on a mission to bring about a positive birth movement, and it’s a movement you want to get involved in!
You’ll also find a guidebook on the app and I personally loved Tracy’s book which you can buy here. As well as all this awesomeness, there are Gentlebirth instructors around the globe ready to take you and your partner through a workshop that will help you further prepare for your positive birth. The workshop focuses on preparing mentally and navigating your options within the hospital system which can be overwhelming! As well as physical comfort measures that are going to empower you and your partner when the big day comes.
Other programs on the market
I have spent some time looking into other hypnobirthing apps and for me Gentlebirth is way ahead of the game. I downloaded ‘Expectful’, ‘Freya’ and ‘Hypnobirthing’. Unfortunately the Hypnobirthing app would not function for me so I gave up on it after a few days of trying to get started.
Freya is a surge timing app, with a hypnobirthing track built in. It was quite relaxing to listen to, but as it’s just one track and I couldn’t see myself using it on the day as it just doesn’t go into the kind of support I want and need.
Expectful was a nice little app. It has plenty of choice from gratitude, to weekly meditations based on your stage of pregnancy, to healing and two tracks for labor. There are numerous different voices on different tracks which some people may find difficult to adapt to. The labor tracks weren’t as supportive as the Gentlebirth options which I practiced for months prior to the onset of labor and so for me it just doesn’t offer the same support as Gentlebirth does.
Finally, there’s a tool we women can use to empower and inform us on our journey to achieving our own positive birth. Our bodies are designed to grow, nurture and birth our babies. I think sometimes our minds just need a reminder on how damn AMAZING we women actually are! By removing the fear around childbirth, we may actually fully remember and embody our power. Because birth can be the most beautiful, transformative experience and one that actually makes you excited to do it again!
My wish is for ALL women is to feel fully supported through their pregnancy and birth journey and Gentlebirth goes a long way to helping you achieve that. I really hope that you might achieve your own positive birth experience so you too can share the Gentlebirth love. Because, it’s not just enough to have a healthy baby, we women deserve a positive birth experience! Whatever that means for you!
Follow along my pregnancy journey on Instagram, where I hope to share lots more tips, that might help you have your best birth! The birth you deserve.