A More Positive Pregnancy with GentleBirth
Pregnancy is a wonderful and exciting time, but it can also be nerve-racking, especially for first-time mums. “As a midwife”, says Tracy Donegan of GentleBirth, “you’re always meeting parents who are nervous about the ‘uncontrollability’ of labour.” This led her to create an app that uses proven techniques and training to help alleviate fear, and prepare women for a positive birth experience. Irish Life Health customers now get a one-year subscription to GentleBirth, at no extra charge, so we spoke to Tracy to find out more.
What is the GentleBirth app?
Packed full of interesting content, GentleBirth is a great asset for parents-to-be. “There’s no other app like it,” says Tracy. “It gives women the tools to support them mentally through their pregnancy, so they’re not feeling stressed about the birth. It helps them cope with whatever comes their way on the day.” It’s easy to use too. When a mum-to-be signs up, she inputs her due date, unlocking a whole host of training, stories and helpful links tailored to what stage she’s at. She’ll also receive short daily brain training which Tracy explains “is a combination of mindfulness, breathing techniques, hypnobirthing and affirmations.”
The app’s techniques are incredibly simple to incorporate into your day, no matter how busy your schedule is. “The training is very light in the beginning”, Tracy explains, “because we don’t want to overload parents.” As you get closer to your delivery date though, sessions increase to about three per day. “There’s a short ten-minute meditation, and five minutes of affirmations. Then you have a hypnobirthing track that we suggest you put on while you go to sleep - you don’t have to be consciously listening for it to have an effect.”
Positive Birth Stories
The app also includes a series of positive birth stories, and users can access a closed a Facebook group where other parents share their personal journeys. “Unfortunately”, says Tracy, “there’s no shortage of traumatic birth stories out there! I think women tend not to share positive experiences because they don’t want to feel like they’re gloating and make other women feel bad. The app is a safe place for them to do share positive stories.”
Finding Your Strength
GentleBirth is incredibly useful for women frightened of the stress and pain around giving birth. “So many women go into labour downplaying their own strengths”, says Tracy. “The tools provided in the app help them to challenge those thoughts and remember that there have been tough circumstances in your life that they’ve come through.” Being mentally prepared will hugely help alleviate this apprehension. As Tracy notes, “managing your mind is such a big part of the process.”