Preparation for Labour and Birth Workshop | Cornwall

“The goal of the workshop is to remove the fear of the unknown and to prepare both the woman and her partner in a realistic and practical manner for the birth of their baby.”

Preparation workshop for Labour and Birth in Cornwall 


This popular monthly class for women and their birth partners has as it’s basis the empowering and practical workshop first evolved by Janet Balaskas, founder of the Active Birth  Centre in London.  Over the years I have added the knowledge I have gleaned from my other wonderfully inspiring teachers namely, Michel Odent, Pam England, Jean Sutton, Ina May Gaskin to name but a few. To this I must add the crucial hands-on experience that I have been fortunate to have

gained from the mothers, fathers, babies and birth professionals that I have worked with over the years. This  workshop is a complete Birth Preparation for couples in itself, and is for example an alternative to  NCT courses. The weekend may also be an ideal complement to Pregnancy yoga classes, NCT antenatal classes, Hypnobirthing or Hospital NHS classes.

The workshop looks in detail at the birth process from around 6 weeks prior to the onset of labour up until the end of the first week of your baby’s life after birth.

The workshop is an ideal preparation for your chosen birth partner as it will prepare him/her for almost everything that may or may not happen. Practical and useful suggestions as to what may help to make labour easier and more manageable are discussed and explained.
Birth partners often approach me after a weekend saying that they feel so much more involved and informed and also remark at how they did not realise the extent to which they are able to actively assist in the birth process.
The course considers the role of both mother and birth partner and stresses the importance of each. As well as covering the science and physiology of birth in a full and accurate manner, I teach from the point of view of a doula and mother, making clear observations of what takes place at the different stages of labour and under various different circumstances. 

The aim is to ensure that the birth partner remains calm and in a position to think ahead at all times. When this happens, the labouring woman does not experience unnecessary fear and she will find that she is able to cope with even the most challenging moments.
Following the birth of her baby she is then able to remember the birth of her child as a positive challenge and a moment that she recalls with a joyful sense of achievement. No single way of birth is put forward as an ideal. A birth that is safe at all times resulting in a happy mother and a healthy baby is what we are working towards.

All participants will receive a comprehensive booklet covering relevant course details as well as a Birth Checklist suggesting what is needed in your hospital bag or at home if planning a home birth and also, a detailed guide to writing your Birth Plan.

This is a two part antenatal course held at my garden studio at Idless Mill, Idless, Truro, Cornwall.
The course is held approximately once a month on the weekend with a small number of couples often from Truro, Falmouth, Newquay and other areas of Cornwall.

Tea, coffee, home made cakes and biscuits, sandwiches and scones are provided. This is a great way of getting to know other couples and share your experience of this life changing time.


Day 1: Afternoon  2.00pm – 5.30pm
On the first day we cover all the stages of labour and early days thereafter:

• Physiological changes in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy
• How the uterus begins to anticipate the onset of labour
• What to do to optimise the conditions for labour
• Positions the baby may adopt and how to encourage optimal foetal positioning
• The female pelvis and the openings to the pelvis
• The sacrum and it’s movement in labour

 First Stage of labour
• The definition of the first stage of labour
• The role of hormones in the onset and establishment of labour
• The optimal environment for hormone secretion and practical advice on how to achieve this space both at home and in the hospital environment
• when to alert the midwife/birth unit
• how to tell the difference between pre-labour and first stage
• the waters breaking/leaking
• how labour may start-the practical signs
• how the baby enters the pelvis and the path the baby will take through the pelvic canal
• what will hinder labour
• good practice on entering the hospital
• complementary remedies that are safe and useful for this stage

 Second Stage
• Definition of second stage
• Yoga positions to help the baby’s descent
• Birthing positions with the help of your partner
• How to cope with the contractions
• Pain relief mechanisms
• How to shorten labour
•Advice for partners on what to expect
• Eating and drinking in labour
*the role of the pelvic floor in the prevention of tearing
*the role of the breath
*transition as a crucial stage of labour
*massage and other complementary methods of pain relief
*the birth of your baby

Third Stage
*decisions regards medical assistance
*the role of hormones immediately after birth
*the optimal environment in which to welcome your baby

First week after birth
• A brief guide as to what to expect
• How best to support the new mother
• How best to care for baby
• What to avoid
• Practical advice


Day 2:  Morning 10.30am – 1.00pm

• Definition
• Methods of induction
• Valid reasons for induction

Medical methods of pain relief
• When it is best to accept medical assistance
• What medication is best used at the different stages of labour

Caesarian Section
• Different types of C-Section
• Epidural pain relief

Other methods of Rescue
• Ventouse
• Forceps

A suggested reading list will be provided as well as a booklet containing all the important points considered over the course of the day.

Please see the calendar for dates.

Total Cost: £190 per couple for the whole course (Day 1 & 2).


Birth preparation course testimonials: 

The quality of education offered by the workshop was amazing. The location was beautiful and the food delicious. The whole experience has made me feel a lot more confident about labour and birth. (Birthgiver,November 2019)

The venue and catering were perfect. The tips about what to do when my wife is in labour were particularly good. The booklet is also really useful to have as a reminder. (Birth partner, November 2019)

The workshop covered a lot of things that I was unaware of and explained things that I had heard about but not fully understood. I found the practical aspects concerning local facilities, when to act and how to act brilliant. Everything was discussed with no bias. The venue was very relaxed and full of oxytocin! Although relaxed, it was still a serious and educating experience. My role as an active participant was made clear. (Birth partner, November 2019)

The workshop explained every situation that could possibly happen. The role of the birth partner was addressed very well. I now feel he will know what is going on at each stage and most importantly, what I will need. The venue and catering were lovely and homely and I gained a wider understanding of what my body will go through. I would definitely recommend this workshop.
(Birthgiver, November 2019)

The workshop exceeded my expectations. I feel as if it covered everything about hospital and home birth. I know that my husband now has a greater understanding of his role. The information will definitely help me to stay calm throughout the process. The venue was beautiful, cakes delicious and I will most certainly recommend the weekend to all my pregnant friends. Gilly’s knowledge was outstanding. The whole thing was thoroughly enjoyable and very informative. ( Birthgiver, November 2019)

The workshop met my expectation to learn about how to support/care for my wife during labour – Thank you for this. I think the understanding of medical aspects was spot on with a good level of detail. Birth partners were empowered. The house and garden were beautiful and the scones were delightful. I really enjoyed learning about the physiology and all the practical advice. (Birth partner, October 2019)

The venue and catering were wonderful! The workshop clarified the labour process and the details for each stage as well as intervention/pain relief available. I found all the information about the differences between the delivery ward and the birth centre very comprehensive. The workshop has made me feel more open minded about any direction the birth may take. The education was delivered in a knowledgeable, positive and enthusiastic manner. The importance placed on mental wellbeing and positive mindset in all labour situations was exceptionally good. I feel much better equipped for labour now, I feel calmer from the start. (Birthgiver, October 2019)

The education was exceptional. The scones and coffee were great. I found the information about understanding latent and active labour, knowing what drugs to use and when and knowing that the main thing is that my wife stays calm and feels safe. I would recommend this workshop to others. (Birth Partner, October 2019)

The workshop exceeded my expectations and filled me with confidence. The workshop gave birth partners their own roles, teaching them how to be involved during labour and giving information on how to support mother and baby both during labour and afterwards. I feel I have a better understanding of how to make informed choices. The venue was amazing, welcoming and an easy environment to learn in. The amazing food was an absolute bonus to the weekend. We have already recommended the workshop to others and we are ready to have our baby. ( Birthgiver, October 2019)

It was more than we had hoped for. We feel ready to have our little boy. The booklet is very useful due to the amount of information. The honest and common-sense approach will help us to have a safe and comfortable birth. Thank you. (Birth partner, October 2019)

The standard of education was very high. The booklet is excellent. I liked how knowledgeable Gilly was and how that confidence came across to us as parents. A very calm and relaxing workshop. I loved the tea and cakes and would come back just for the cake. (Birth partner, July 2019)

I felt all my expectations were met as I am now leaving the course feeling confident and with an abundance of new knowledge. The practical aspects of birth were covered using diagrams, visual aids and demonstration. I have an understanding of how a safe homebirth can be achieved and also the knowledge to comprehend and achieve a calm atmosphere in a clinical environment. I love that my partner feels empowered within his role at the birth of our baby and the workshop has made us feel very united about the process of baby’s arrival. The information has led me to feel more able to trust my body bust also to remember not to feel any guilt should I need interventions. The way Gilly addresses people and supplies a LOT of information in a very understandable way is amazing. Thank you.
(Birthgiver, July 2019)

The workshop explained everything in a very relaxed and informed manner. It gave me a good insight into how a woman’s body works during labour and birth. I feel I will be able to help during this labour. The venue and catering were brilliant, great cake and coffee. The explanations were good without telling us what to do, no pressure, just information, which is great. ( Birth partner July 2019)

The workshop surpassed my expectations. I loved the balance of talking, photos, diagrams. Your explanations were clear, unbiased, practical and delivered with a clam reassuring approach. The homebirth list was great and so were all the aspects of birth at hospital from parking to ward layout and who does what. We are both doctors and I was very impressed with the accuracy and quality of information. I though Gilly was especially inclusive of partners and her perspective as a doula was clearly useful for this. The venue and catering were lovely and lovely on both counts. I would definitely recommend the workshop particularly to medical colleagues. We hoped to gain a broader perspective and have certainly done that. Gilly’s approachable and reassuring manner combined with a very pragmatic approach is a very good aspect of the weekend. ( March 2019)

The workshop exceeded expectations . It was open minded with no specific agenda. The use of photos was particularly helpful. The tea and cakes were wonderful. The explanations were clear especially concerning physiology. Good practical advice. Encouraging and reassuring. Empowering both of us. Really good advice about timing of pain relief and decision making. Thank you very much. ( Birth partner, March 2019)

The weekend had high expectations from many recommendations and it was absolutely brilliant. It made clear that although the role of birth partner is IMPORTANT it is also SIMPLE. The booklet and birthplan guide are excellent. The venue and catering were beautiful, comfortable and delicious. I was very impressed at how practised and confident it was. It made a huge difference to me that the space was comfortable and light, seating arrangements with partners were really well thought out and felt intimate and special and best of all nothing digital- all talk and chalk and photos and dolls. ( Birthgiver, March 2019)

Thanks for the birthplan guide and for the whole weekend. I can honestly say I enjoyed every second of it and it was in my opinion, the best training/workshop I have ever been to. It was concise without being too lengthy or leaving anything out, to the point, whilst funny and informative. You have a beautiful way of teaching and relaying information in a friendly, relaxed space. Honestly want to say just how useful this weekend was to us and how much better prepared/informed we feel. We will wholeheartedly recommend your course to others. (Birthgiver, October 2018)

If you have any questions, please get in touch any time.