Frequently Asked Questions 

What is covered in the Calmbirth class and the Transition into Parenthood class?

The two classes are quite different in approach, yet they complement each other perfectly. Calmbirth focuses on the psychological and emotional preparation to birth and how that affects the physiology. Calmbirth is a wonderful class that empowers the couple to know how to respond to their labour to use the breathing and relaxations techniques taught.  
Your partner’s involvement and support is valued and encouraged.
Calmbirth is an experiential class: it will put you through an experience which, when practiced, will enable you to respond automatically and in harmony with the physiological birthing process.

For full details of the Calmbirth class

The Transition into Parenthood class offers a very practical style of approach, with guidance on the use of facilities at home and in the birth centre or the delivery suite in hospital. Transition into Parenthood also covers the remainder of the information that there isn’t time to cover in the Calmbirth class – crucial information such as Newborn baby care practicalities such as breastfeeding, reading the baby’s individual signals, understanding and interpreting your baby’s different cries, how to calm your baby, comforting, swaddling etc. 
For the full TiP Transition into Parenthood details

Click here for a comparison table of what’s covered in Calmbirth and Transition into Parenthood to conveniently see the components of each class at a glance.

How do Julie Clarke’s courses differ from hospital and other antenatal classes in Sydney?

There are several ways in which Julie Clarke’s classes offer a superior investment in time and money compared to mainstream classes.
View one mother’s insightful comments here.

Click here for the list… a comparison table to see the differences highlighted.

Put simply, many of the differences lay in the fact that it’s her positive attitude, warm friendly gentle manner, genuine open honest style and pragmatic approach that actually makes all the difference.

Julie is a very experienced facilitator, and is very familiar with what couples worry about, what they really want to know and what they really DO need to know about.  Julie is a very kind, gentle, empathetic, compassionate and sensitive, educator with a strong practical, sensible side  and a terrific sense of humour.

Many of her students have said this makes her ideal for the role of childbirth and parenting educator. In short she cares very much about the couples in her courses and does her best to answer their questions, allay their fears and provide good solid information they can use as they experience birth and early parenthood.

As well as this, Julie is continually updating her knowledge and course materials as new information becomes available.  Julie maintains firm connections to maternity services and maternity care providers and she can be relied upon as an up-to-date and accurate source of information.
 Julie has been pregnant twice, birthed her two babies naturally and overcome all the usual difficulties with early breastfeeding and has raised her two sons through infancy, the primary years, the high school /teenage years into young adulthood.

Here is Julie’s blog birth story of her second baby.

Who attends these courses at Sylvania?

Pregnant couples who are keen to learn more to assist themselves attain the best outcomes possible in both their birth and parenting effectiveness. They need a range of options for choice of courses and plenty of dates to select from as well.    They are often quite interested and motivated to find out as much as they can to feel empowered to make their own decisions. They wish to avoid superficial mainstream classes such as those offered in  hospitals, based on some of the stories they may have heard from their friends. They prefer to come to a comfortable, organised, professional, well-structured course with an experienced skilled facilitator.

Are partner’s included in the Transition into Parenthood and Calmbirth programmes?’

Yes definitely, Julie always welcomes and respects the inclusion of all partners into the programmes here in Sylvania.  Even the most reluctant partners are usually surprised at how much they enjoy the classes, and often comment that they find this a very balanced, reasonable and comfortable course to attend.  Julie’s broad minded manner certainly helps make participants feel at ease.   Partners are never pressured instead they are inspired, motivated, informed and uplifted in a generous atmosphere of support and gentle guidance. The group process here makes it very easy for them to relate to the information, become more engaged with the pregnancy, birth and baby care aspects of fatherhood.  Here are some comments by fathers who have attend the courses already.

If my partner is away or unable to attend can I bring my mum or sister instead

Yes, they are most welcome and will be warmly included into the programme.

Which course is the most suitable for overseas visitors (pregnant) who are on a short trip to Sydney?

The Super Condensed one day workshop held on a Sunday is the class most overseas pregnant visitors choose… especially if they are tourists or on a working visa.

Conveniently the one day workshop is both thorough and yet also very time efficient.

If you need transport to get here the best option is to book a hire car through Towncars. They will ensure you will be delivered here on time and they can collect you from their airport or your hotel. It will be safe, comfortable, reasonably priced travel.

Can I attend on my own if my partner can‘t or won’t attend?

Yes, you certainly can. Perhaps get him to have a read of some of the information on this website first before he makes up his mind about whether to attend.

  • Direct him to here for a more inspired attitude.
  • Direct him to here for some comments by men who have already attended the courses.

It is far more important that you receive the information, the answers to your questions and the guidance rather than miss out altogether.
Be very careful not to miss out on attending courses to help you prepare for birth and new motherhood… you really don’t want to leave it too late…
It is unusual though for a pregnant woman to come along alone these days.

I did have 2 women on their own in class recently they were able to sit together and be lovely company for each other during lunchtime as well…

What if I don’t know which course to do?

Are you having your first baby? For the most thorough preparation, it is highly recommended that you do both courses. This will help to reduce your fears and stress and minimise risk of post natal depression. When you do book both courses you will enjoy a $100 discount as an incentive. Gain more insight from reading this.

What if I can’t attend the dates exactly as they are on the website?

Simply ring Julie on (02) 95446441 and she will warmly welcome your call, help you in whatever way she can and offer plenty of options and solutions for you.

Are you able to offer help and support outside of the session times?

I certainly do… many couples are surprised and delighted at just how accessible I am for them by landline, mobile, texting and email… both before during and after the courses.

I have some couples who have stayed in contact with me for years, either as friends, neighbours, or simply as previous attendees who like to contact me from time to time to ask my thoughts on an issue or two… it may be just a casual occasional phone call or email… but I let everyone know they are most welcome to stay in touch and if I can be of help or service to them I certainly will.

What information can you provide me with before I attend the courses?

Julie is able to answer many questions over the phone, and here she provides a lot of information in her free resources for pregnant couples.
For a free antenatal course online click here.

What if we need extra help with our baby after he/she is born – will you continue to help us then?

Yes. For some new families during their first 12 months, they feel the need for respectful, professional, supportive guidance provided in their own home and I am very glad to be able to offer that in the form of the “Baby Care Support Service”. For full information on this unique service which is available especially for the couples who attend my courses. Julie also conducts a fun pram walking group (no charge) weekly for the mums who have done both of her courses and also accessed the Baby Care Support Service – we enjoy a delicious breakfast at the beach, babies socialising, park play, pram walk,  informative conversation… it’s an amazing service… provided attended by Julie

What’s involved in the Calmbirth Course?

You hear evidenced based information around how to achieve a normal birth using breathing and relaxation techniques.  The program allows the woman and her partner to learn and practice relaxation techniques using both  breathing and visualisation.

Is Calmbirth aimed at confident pregnant women or those suffering anxiety during their pregnancy?

The courses offered are perfect for both.  The information and experiences within the course will very much inform and inspire the anxious woman, whilst the confident pregnant woman will feel endorsed and supported in her efforts towards keeping birth as normal as possible.

Is Calmbirth influenced or based on any religion?

No, not at all. It has a scientific base using evidenced based research information as its core.

Why does Julie prefer teaching 2 full days and a whole week apart – for example 2xSaturdays or 2xSundays?

Julie has found it’s the most effective form of learning, especially with the Calmbirth course. Although she does occasionally offer a weekend course in Calmbirth; that is all day Saturday and all day Sunday in the one weekend… she has actually have found that teaching with a week’s gap between each session allows the couple to go home and chat about all the concepts, and to think it over during the week and come back with plenty of questions.
Julie also encourages them to commence their relaxation breathing practice during that week and inevitably there will be questions she can respond to the following session.

Personally Julie thinks couples get more out of it when they have a week’s break between session  of Calmbirth.

Here is Julie being interviewed about Calmbirth.

We have already done the course previously with our first baby – what is recommended 2nd or 3rd time around?

Some couples feel so well prepared after their first baby that they want to come back and update but don’t necessarily need to re-do the entire course – they are referred to as “refreshers”.

Click here for the all the right information and suggested course combinations for refreshers.

This is a quick story from a mum “Rebecca” who describes her first birth compared to her second birth – a calmbirth

What pregnancy, birth and baby related products do you have available for pregnant couples to purchase during course time?
  • Relaxation CD’s with Julie Clarke’s very calm smooth gentle voice and music. Very popular.
  • Relaxation music CD’s – same as the ones played in the course.  Quite lovely and effective.
  • Books on Pregnancy, Birth, Relaxation, Breastfeeding  Baby care. Up-to-date and good quality.
  • Health Dept (NSW) approved Hot / Cold Packs for use during labour. (only $15) Included is a washable soft cotton cover for use with the pack. They are very good, durable hot packs.
  • The Epi-no Childbirth Trainer and pelvic floor muscle exerciser (only $188)

These products are available exclusively for the couples attending the courses.

Is Julie a pushy salesperson?

No, if anything, she has been criticised for not mentioning the products very much – you may possibly have to ask her about them to give her a nudge to fully explain them to the whole group or just have a chat to her about them during break times or after the session is done.

What is meant by Active Birth?

Active Birth is an attitude of mind and body – the woman wants to be free to move around to use comfortable positions and make her own decisions about what she wants to do during labour and birth instead of laying on her back with her legs in stirrups which was what previous generations endured.  Active Birth as a concept has been used since the 1980’s and was introduced to the world by author Janet Balaskas (Yoga teacher and mum of 4) An extraordinary woman who wrote an incredibly helpful book The New Active Birth available from the the UK Book Depository or Amazon.

Transition into Parenthood covers all the active birth techniques.

What is a Doula? Is Julie a Doula? How many births has she attended?

Yes Julie is a Doula; that is a professional birth support person.

Julie has attended about 150 births over 25 years – as well as my own 2 amazing birth experiences. Visit Julie’s blog for her birth stories.

I have supported birthing couples in ALL settings: operating theatre, delivery suite/labour ward, birth centres, waterbirth and homebirths…
They have all taught me a massive amount which I am able to thread through my courses – the knowledge gained has been invaluable.

Years ago, when I was a trainee childbirth educator and during my first couple of dozen births I was incredibly fortunate to gain from the wisdom of very senior experienced midwives which has also assisted me in creating a unique course.

The information about my birth support service is provided routinely to all the couples who attend my Transition into Parenthood course.
My birth support service is available to those couples who attend the courses as they have had the chance to get to know me and vice versa.

What can be done for pregnancy discomforts? What safe natural remedies are useful for pregnancy discomforts?

A large number of first aid measures and simple natural techniques can be employed to assist pregnant women to become far more comfortable during their pregnancy.

I think it helps pregnant women to become more  insightful and caring mothers when they gain insights into using some simple comfort measure to overcome basic discomforts.

Click here for some great tips.

Are these courses suitable for couples adopting a baby or receiving a surrogate baby?’

Yes, definitely. Julie has already assisted many families-to-be with a variety of circumstances which might not be common or mainstream. She certainly can guide and assist you along the lines of your own unique Transition into Parenthood. Ring her on 95446441 for the best recommendation on which course to select. Julie also conducts a fun pram walking group (no charge) weekly for the mums who have done both of her courses and also accessed the Baby Care Support Service – includes delicious breakfast at the beach, babies socialising, park play, pram walk,  informative conversation… it’s an amazing service… provided personally by Julie