The Sherringtons’ Story: Calm Birth at Overlook’s Frank and Mimi Walsh Maternity Center
New Parents Welcome Baby with Calm Birth Method
Although the word “calm” is seldom associated with childbirth, April and Barry Sherringtons’ experience was that and more — thanks to a special prenatal class at Overlook’s Frank and Mimi Walsh Maternity Center. Prior to the birth of their daughter Virginia Elizabeth, the Central Jersey couple attended a three-hour Calm Birth class, during which they learned breathing exercises associated with meditation and relaxation techniques.
“I had taken some yoga and meditation classes before,” said April, “but this class takes some of those techniques, as well as others, and applies them to the labor and delivery process. Although Dr. [Christine] Masterson ultimately performed a C-section, as the labor pains intensified and my anxiety level increased, the visualization and breathing techniques helped tremendously.”
The Calm Birth Class had benefits for Barry, too – not only enhancing his ability to help April manage her pain and anxiety, but helping to manage his own anxiety, as well.
“These are tools for life,” remarked Barry. “When we are tense from lack of sleep, the breathing exercises help relieve stress.”
Overlook was the first hospital on the East Coast to offer Calm Birth classes to expectant parents. Now, it is among only a handful of hospitals on the East Coast offering the three-day teacher training in the Calm Birth method, which combines centuries-old wisdom with a modern medical understanding of stress reduction and healing. It is designed to complement medications and other methods of labor support and it works well with medicated, Cesarean or natural childbirth.
In addition to releasing tension, Calm Birth gives pregnant women greater oxygenation, increased energy and improved ability to manage pain during labor and delivery. Other benefits of Calm Birth techniques used before, during or after labor include decreased blood pressure and feelings of anxiety or fear, normalized heart rate, increased immune and nervous system function, improved oxytocin and endorphin levels, and a sense of well-being. Moms and dads can use the techniques to feel more relaxed, energized and empowered in their ability to experience the challenges of birth and parenting, as well as the stresses of everyday life.
Today, Barry and April Sherrington still marvel at the miracle of bringing little Virginia Elizabeth into the world.
“I still can’t believe how lucky we are to have her,” commented Barry. “It’s an amazing feeling. Looking ahead, I imagine I’ll be doing a lot of deep breathing the day she goes out on her first date!”