Updated: Aug 26, 2021
Living an alternate lifestyle on the Mid North Coast for the past 25 years, Lea grows her own vegetables, raises animals and loves riding her horse through the mountain trails surrounding her hinterland paradise.
Preferring to do all things as natural as possible in her home life, she is less medicalised in her work ethic. She brings her holistic approach to her Calmbirth® practices, educating women and their partners to be more appreciative of the natural birthing and parenting process.
In her role as a midwife for the past 23 years she has worked in all areas of the maternity unit at Port Base Hospital, specialising in neonatal intensive care.
Lea is highly qualified to look after pregnant women and their family throughout the entire process, from prenatal to postnatal and everything in between, the birthing process, breastfeeding and lactation bonding.
Specialising privately with Calmbirth®, she is passionate about teaching women to understand their bodies, how to work with the birthing process through labour as opposed to against it, and to be healthier and more active when pregnant. Being active during pregnancy helps the new mum-to-be mentally, emotionally and physically.
Believing that the postnatal period tends to be forgotten (a little bit nowadays), Lea provides support and understanding around breastfeeding and lactation.
Lea says that one thing she has noticed throughout her career is that the birthing process has become more medicalised. There seems to be more testing and monitoring of pregnant mothers, but having said that, she acknowledged that women in this geographic pocket on the Mid North Coast are now showing more health risks - for example, an increase in weight related problems, and, as they are less active, blood pressure issues and diabetes are starting to be more prominent.
This has changed the midwifery mindset. Tending to lean more to a normal birth and pregnancy in the past, now midwives have had to become a little more medicalised in their thinking.
A country girl at heart, Lea was raised in Sydney near bush land and the northern beaches. Her family is from Moree. Lea later trained in Sydney to be a registered nurse, finding employment in tertiary hospitals for three years before moving on to work full time in various hospitals around the city. Wanting to work closely with women and their families, Lea studied further and became an eligible midwife.
The country life beckoned, however, as she wanted her own piece of our beautiful country and also wanted to provide a service on the Mid North Coast, so she opened a private room in Taree where she practised Calmbirth®.
Many beautiful outcomes have been achieved by having a collaborative approach and continuity of care with her ladies and their partners. Many have returned for their 2nd and 3rd child’s birthing and postnatal care. Lea has become well known in the community for her personable, holistic service.
An increase of around 40% in Caesarean Section births has seen women coming to her trying for a normal birth, this is called a VBAC. This is a short way of saying that you have had a prior Caesar and you’d like to attempt to have a normal birth. Lea provides a healing component around education about giving a normal birth a good shot again with a different frame of mind.
The main reason for Lea to learn the Calmbirth® way and offer it on the Mid North Coast was to provide a choice of service and education. Calmbirth® teaches the mother how to drive up more oxytocin which is secreted from the anterior pituitary gland in the brain - this is done via the proper breathing and relaxing methods which are the crux of the birthing process. The main aim is to create a relaxed, bonded couple that understands the processes of birth and beyond.
Not solely about the Mother, the Father is important too!
Calmbirth® is about bringing the mother and father together and bonding them as a male and female. Education is the key to a Calmbirth®, and, as he or she will remember things differently, they can share the knowledge that they learn when the time comes.
It is an aim that the father feels free to receive the baby where it's possible and cut the cord as well as give suggestions to their partner. Lea acknowledges that she is finding a more lateral style of parenting and varied partnerships now, which may be same sex couples, IVF and surrogacy. She has had to learn and change with the times herself to adjust to the change. More IVF and a growing number of later in life parents has seen a demand for her type of education.
After doing her homework around child birth, researching hypnobirthing, home water birthing, etc, the Calmbirth® practice ticked all of Lea’s boxes and also touched on her personality, as the Calmbirth® philosophy is holistic and nourishing in its approach as is Lea in everyday life.
Calmbirth® is about empowering the parents. Involving them in the entire process including the decision making, making them feel like they are playing a part instead of being dictated to. The birth is a small and very powerful part of the process.
Another aspect of Calmbirth® focuses on conscious parenting and breastfeeding. Skin to skin bonding, allowing nature to do its thing. An example is the baby navigating, using its natural instincts, to the breast and going with the flow.
The 4 Stages of Birthing
Of course being pregnant in the first place is the onset of stage one, leading then into the beginning of labour, which can be quite slow especially if you are a first time parent. Stage two is when the mum-to-be is fully dilated and ready to birth the baby, passing the baby through the body through the pelvis. The end of stage two is when the baby leaves the woman's body.
Stage three is the delivery or birth of the placenta. The Calmbirth® philosophy continues at this stage, with the body left to do this naturally without intervention. Stage four is bonding, paramount in the first two hours. A beautiful stage if the baby can be left to navigate from the lower abdomen of the main tummy area still on the cord to the mothers breast. Everything is instinctive and natural.
Calmbirth® is an education program that differs for the individual
It’s about informing and educating couples, how this is taken on by the individual is different from couple to couple, everyone interprets information differently. Different lifestyle and personality traits take on information and guidance in various ways.
One example would be an intense professional couple, parenting later in their lives, transcending into letting go of their steadfast and regimented ways and looking at natural processes and realising just how amazing the woman’s body is. It can be an amazing time for the partner, they have never seen their lady like this before. An amazing experience for all.
After an initial phone consultation where Lea explains what Calmbirth® is and an acceptance of involvement in the program, a time frame is set and 12 hours of education begins from about 28 to 32 weeks into the pregnancy.
Weekly or fortnightly 4 hour sessions are now conducted via Zoom due to COVID-19. The sessions are paced out, pregnancy information can be monitored and everyone works together towards the birth. People are living increasingly interesting and dynamic lives nowadays, juggling a lot of different things, with both parties often working, running businesses, etc, so Lea uniquely tailors the program to individual needs.
The program is all about choices. It’s about getting to know the couple and then starting to gently offer topics and answer any questions. As it all comes together, the couple will have a whole different perspective, be less stressed and understand the natural processes.
There are many Calmbirth® practitioners Australia wide now. You can even find Calmbirth® practitioners in Hong Kong and New Zealand. In Australia itself, there are practitioners in NSW hospitals such as Mater Hospital, Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, Royal North Shore, Westmead Hospital, Royal Women's Hospital, and John Hunter Hospital. Calmbirth® will also work with Homebirth and Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) when this starts on the Mid North Coast. In Australia, Lea and her associates are spreading the word, passing it onto other midwives, and offering the program wherever possible.
Tips for a healthy pregnancy, a Calmbirth® and post natal care
Firstly look at your overall health. Eat more fresh, natural foods. Eat less take out.
Be more physical, walk more, swimming is wonderful. It takes the weight off the woman’s back, it is restful not only for the woman but for the baby as well.
Basically, live a healthy lifestyle. Move more, eat in moderation.
Breastfeeding is the best for postnatal weight loss. This is why it is paramount if you can get enough education and support around you in those first six weeks to assist and guide you. Having a midwife come out and visit you at home is fantastic and they can help with lots of issues.
The longest part of the journey will be raising the child. So it is fantastic to get the bonding, attachment and promotion of breastfeeding in motion at the start.
Zoom and face-to-face appointments available.
Contact Lea Bailey for a calm birth:
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