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Holistic birth preparation for the mind, body & soul to bring your baby into the world joyfully and gently!

Did you know that 1 in 3 Australian women describe their birth as traumatic? As a practising midwife I witness the aftermath of birth trauma far too frequently. It breaks my heart because the majority of these distressing scenarios may be avoidable with adequate physical and psychological birth preparation.  

The physiological mechanisms of pregnancy, labour and birth rely upon equilibrium within your autonomic nervous system. Stress, anxiety or a fear of childbirth will impair your natural birthing instincts by causing overactivity of the "fight, flight & freeze" functions. This in turn creates a vicious cycle of fear, tension and pain. Tension within the soft tissues surrounding the pelvis can also result from previous injuries, trauma, poor posture and sedentary lifestyles. Babies are hardwired to move along the path of least resistance in labour and to avoid uncomfortable positions within the womb caused by tight or twisted pelvic structures. 

The Birth Better services are designed to restore harmony to the nervous system utilising the HypnoBirthing® method and resolve tension & torsion within the soft tissues of the pelvis through Pelvic Balancing in order to create adequate space for your baby to navigate the spiralling birth path. I was the first midwife in Melbourne certified as a Spinning Babies® Aware Practitioner (with the exception of the highly skilled trainer conducting the course!). I am passionate about offering Pelvic Balancing consultations to facilitate optimal positioning of babies to reduce the incidence of caesarean or instrumental births for fetal malpositions (such as posterior, breech or transverse) and improve comfort for pregnant mamas! 

I'd love to support you to have an ecstatic birth and avoid a traumatic one...call/text Melissa on 0413 190 756 or email me via melissa@birthbetter.com.au to book yourself a Pelvic Balancing consultation and/or enrol in a HypnoBirthing® course and learn to eliminate your fear of childbirth to have the magical birth your body is designed for!

"When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change."

Marie (Mickey) Mongan 1999

"I cannot recommend Melissa more highly. Late in pregnancy, my baby was identified to be in a breech position. Melissa undertook a detailed assessment and was incredibly understanding of my birthing goals....

My Story
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My story...

Hello I'm Melissa Blackford, the founder of Birth Better! My ambition in life is to assist families to gain the advocacy skills, knowledge and confidence to enjoy an empowering and positive birth experience.  I have been a Registered Midwife for over 12 years and a strong advocate for physiological birth. I also have a Diploma of Prosthetics and Orthotics, so my passion for optimal positioning of babies in the womb stems from this unique perspective of maternal biomechanics.

 

In recent years I’ve become disillusioned by the medicalisation and fragmentation of our maternity care system. I am also saddened by the alarming rise in physical and emotional birth trauma reported by Australian women. On a global scale, there is concern for the prevalence of morbidity and mortality among women and babies associated with the rising caesarean section rate and overuse of obstetric interventions. These disturbing statistics have become the ultimate catalyst to create Birth Better and join the birth revolution to assist families to reclaim birth as a rite of passage. 

I feel incredibly fortunate that my own birth stories remain the most transformative moments of my life, however my labours were far from straightforward! I was stuck at 6cm of cervical dilation for around 20 hours with our son before enduring another 4 hours of intense contractions with syntocinon (a synthetic labour hormone) to force him out. Twenty one months later, our daughter entered the world bottom first...although there is certainly nothing backwards about her now! I was fortunate to have the opportunity for a vaginal breech birth following 4 failed (and excruciating) external cephalic version (ECV) attempts, because of the support of an obstetric colleague.  

 

I now live with my incredible husband, our children and a crazy chocolate labrador on a native bush block in North Warrandyte and train for ultra trail marathons in my spare time!

I wish to share the birthing insights I have attained since attending a workshop with Gail Tully, the founder of Spinning Babies®; completing my HypnoBirthing® Educator course and becoming a Spinning Babies® Aware Practitioner with other families, to support them to have the best birth outcome possible. 

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“Melissa supported us when we found out at 34 weeks our bubba was breech. Her clear understanding and expertise in the Spinning Babies methods and midwifery are a great combination. She was informative, caring and kind....

Services
Services
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Pelvic Balancing Consultations

 

Pain usually indicates an imbalance within the soft tissues of the pelvis. Torsion (twisting) or tension (tightness) within the ligaments, muscles and fascia (connective tissue) surrounding the pelvis causes reduced space and mobility for your baby to be in an ideal position in the womb prior to the onset of labour. If pelvic imbalances are not resolved, your baby will likely have difficulty navigating the spiralling birth path through the pelvis during labour, often leading to a prolonged and painful labour or your baby may become "stuck" requiring a caesarean birth.

A restorative Pelvic Balancing session involves an initial discussion about any pregnancy related discomforts and an assessment of your pelvic alignment. Bodywork in pregnancy is not advisable if you have a previous history of premature birth or placenta praevia (placenta crossing the cervix). As a Spinning Babies® Aware Practitioner I am trained in a bodywork curriculum designed to allow spontaneous change to a more optimal fetal position utilising a physiological approach...embracing gravity, balance and movement. I am committed to techniques within my scope of practice and will never force a baby into a new position. An individualised care program of safe and non-invasive soft tissue therapy will be planned in collaboration with families.

Pelvic Balancing incorporates advanced bodywork techniques based on the principles of Osteopathy and Ortho-bionomy. Families will also be guided on how to correctly perform daily Spinning Babies® balancing activities to maintain pelvic alignment. Most techniques are performed over loose clothing and include myofascial releases to restore balance, alignment and freedom to pelvic soft tissues, thereby creating space within the pelvis to optimise the position of your baby in preparation for an uncomplicated labour and birth. Supportive self care exercises, comfort measures and further birth preparation advice will be recommended at the conclusion of a session.

Pelvic Balancing will be especially beneficial if:

- You have been informed that your baby is in a transverse, posterior or breech position (Pelvic Balancing is recommended from 30-32 weeks pregnant if your baby is in a breech presentation).

- You are scheduled for an External Cephalic Version (ECV); Pelvic Balancing prior to this procedure will improve the chances of success. 

- You are experiencing pelvic girdle discomfort/pelvic instability, sciatica or lower back pain.

- You have an unstable lie in late pregnancy.

- Your baby has not engaged in the pelvis by 39 weeks if this is your first pregnancy.

- You require an induction of labour and your baby's head is high and mobile.

- You have had a previous traumatic birth experience, complicated by a forceps or vacuum birth.

- You wish to have a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean).

Pelvic Balancing consultations will be conducted at my home in North Warrandyte (address provided at time of booking). Your nominated support person is welcome to attend the session in order to learn the self care activities. Home visits can be arranged by negotiation and will incur a travel fee. Consultations are approximately 2 hours duration. 

 

Cost: $150 (your private health care fund may provide a partial or full rebate).

Please call Melissa on 0413 190 756 to book your private Pelvic Balancing session. You will be sent a confidential intake form to complete beforehand. Payment via direct electronic transfer (invoice provided following your appointment).  

"I have been literally telling anyone and everyone that seeing Mel has been life changing! I had severe pelvic girdle pain (PGP) and instability since the middle of second trimester. I was uncomfortable and miserable....

Young Couple Expecting

Group Classes

  • The Birth Better HypnoBirthing® course is structured as a 5 week program to enable families to consolidate their learning before new techniques are introduced.

  • Weekly sessions run for 2 ½-3 hours, allowing time to mingle with other like-minded birthing families.

  • Maximum of 4 couples per class (couples may comprise a birthing person and their chosen birthing companion). 

  • Upon enrolment for a group class you will receive: a HypnoBirthing® - The Mongan Method textbook by Marie Mongan; a parent handbook containing the salient information presented during the course; a birth preferences template; the Rainbow Relaxation MP3 recordings for daily listening to promote relaxation, as well as affirmation and birth rehearsal tracks.

 

$650

Venue: to be advised

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Private Classes

  • Private classes are available upon request, simply contact Melissa on 0413 190 756 to arrange a suitable schedule.

  • Upon enrolment for a private class you will receive: a HypnoBirthing® - The Mongan Method textbook by Marie Mongan; a parent handbook containing the salient information presented during the course; a birth preferences template; the Rainbow Relaxation MP3 recordings for daily listening to promote relaxation, as well as affirmation and birth rehearsal tracks.

 

$850

Venue: conducted in the comfort of your own home.

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Refresher Course

  • A refresher program is available if you have previously completed a HypnoBirthing® International course and would like to refresh or refine your hypnotherapy skills.

  • Individualised support to repack your labour toolkit.

  • Duration: 2 ½ hours

$200

Venue: conducted in the comfort of your own home.

Book now for Group HypnoBirthing® Classes! 

The majority of private health insurance funds will reimburse approximately $300 for childbirth education classes.

Classes commencing in January 2024

Tuesday 16th January │ 6.30pm - 9pm

Tuesday evenings for 5 consecutive weeks, concluding 13th February

Classes commencing in February 2024

Thursday 15th February │ 6.30pm - 9pm

Thursday evenings for 5 consecutive weeks, concluding 14th March

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Call the Midwife

I can be contacted on 0413 190 756 for an obligation free chat about the Birth Better services or simply send me a text message. As a practising midwife and mother of two active young children (plus a demanding fur child!) I may not always be able to answer my phone, so please leave a message and I will endeavour to return your call as soon as possible. 

 

Alternatively, email me:

melissa@birthbetter.com.au 

Spinning Babies® Aware Practitioner profile

HypnoBirthing International Educator profile

In the spirit of reconciliation Birth Better acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people as the Traditional Custodians of the country on which our services are provided and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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