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Would you like to add to your skills to support women at the end of pregnancy in preparing for birth? Do you find that many of your clients present with issues relating back to their experience of birth, even 60 or more years later?

This course is relevant for you if you are working or would like to work with women during the third trimester and will enable you to create birth preparation sessions or even classes for birth partners. It will also help you explore whether you want to support clients during their birth, or add to your skills if you already support clients during birth. You will understand how birth impacts on your work in the postnatal period, both with mothers and with babies. Indeed, since birth impacts on the mother and baby for the rest of their lives, understanding more about birth will benefit your understanding of work with all clients. It may also help you understand more about your own birth process and its implications.

Note for shiatsu practitioners that you must have completed a foundation course with Suzanne in Bristol or London or elsewhere or with Nicola near London to enroll onto this course. Massage therapists need to have attended Pregnancy Massage Diploma. Please contact us for more information.

preparing for birth with shiatsu

Aims of the course

What you will learn

  •  Detailed Eastern theory of birth which will help you deepen your understanding of the Extraordinary Vessels and an introduction to the Qiao and Wei (Heel and Linking: the outer group of Extraordinary Vessels) as well as how to integrate the 12 channels into your work
  • Relevant Anatomy and Physiology of birth in an engaging and practical way
  • How to work in the third trimester preparing for birth, including shiatsu for birth initiation
  • Shiatsu and relevant massage techniques for different stages of labour
  • A range of birth positions, how to integrate them into your work with clients in the third trimester and during birth as well as their relevance after birth
  • How to support the pregnant woman’s connection with her baby and partner before and during labour and being aware of the emotional changes as well as the physical, helping prepare her and her baby for birth and beyond
  • How to support the baby to prepare for birth, including working with positioning issues such as breech and posterior
  • How to create a birth preparation individual session with a partner or class
  • Breathing and visualisations to support your clients which will also be useful for you and help you understand your relationship to birth more deeply, whether or not you have had children.
  • To understand birth from both a mother’s and baby’s perspective through experiencing some birthing simulation exercises. These will help you support your clients better as well as understanding your own relationship to birth
  • To understand the effects of birth on the postnatal period and the importance of our birth for rest of our lives
  • To understand the effects and potential implications of the different obstetrical birth interventions, from both an eastern and western perspective for both mother and baby and how to support during labour as well as after birth
  • What is your role as a maternity therapist and your relationship with midwives and obstetricians
  • How to create a relevant birth consultation form


After the second course which was focusing on birth, I experienced a huge difference in my body. We did a lot of spirals and movements in the hips and already during and after the course I felt my woman-power so much, it was amazing. I am pretty sure that this course also had an effect on my menstruation, which used to be painful for several years, and changed completely now! I even didn´t recognize that it started and also the blood consistency changed!

Sabine Kovats

Shiatsu Practitioner

This course and the diploma

Running since 1999, this course covers all you need to know to be able to safely and effectively work with women in the third trimester, low and higher risk, attend births or create birth preparation sessions or classes for women and their birth partners.   During the course you will teach a birth preparation session to a woman in the third trimester with her partner and after the course you have an opportunity if you wish to work with supervised case studies. This will enable you to integrate the new techniques with your current way of working.

For Massage therapists, you need to have attended Massage in Pregnancy to attend this course.

For Shiatsu Practitioners, this module is self contained, but you can choose to attend also the Pregnancy November 2020 and Postnatal November 2022 modules.

Running since 1999, the full maternity course for Shiatsu practitioners consists of a foundation module or day, followed by 3 modules, Pregnancy, Birth and Postnatal. You can choose to attend the individual modules in any order and each is a self-contained course. You can choose to complete case studies for each module and have a certificate for that module or, if you complete case studies for all three modules and a reflective piece, then you will receive the Maternity Diploma. This  means you can go on the Wellmother register and be part of our global network.


The course runs from 9.30 to 5.30 Thursday to Saturday and till 5 on the Sunday. We have a clinic on the last day. An accommodation list is available on demand (or download link)

Suzanne teaches with great passion and clarity, a wealth of knowledge taught with a profound background information.

The course is well structured supporting a deeper understanding for the many changes that occur pre- and post natally as well as in pregnancy and during birth.

The specific techniques and exercises taught, I find very beneficial and effective.

Using the information from Suzanne’s course for my own births, I can honestly say, I had two beautiful births.

I can thoroughly recommend the course. Thank you, Suzanne!

Gesine Dieck

Shiatsu Practitioner

Available languages

  • English

Dates and location

  • ESI Vienna : 4 days
    20/10/2022 - 23/10/2022
  • Bristol, Centre for Whole Health BS3 3BP: 4 days - date to be confirmed
    23/01/2025 - 26/01/2025


Suzanne Yates

Suzanne is the founder and principal teacher at Wellmother, established 1990

Entrance Requirements

  • Shiatsu practitioners: who have completed a foundation module. This can include in person or the on line course Transforming your work with the Extraordinary Vessels

  • Massage therapists: who have done the Pregnancy Massage Diploma (in person) or Shiatsu foundation (in person or on line) or Supporting Birth (on line)

Supporting material

Pregnancy and Childbirth: a holistic approach to massage and bodywork

Suzanne Yates

Order the book

More information


£295 early booking (8 weeks before) , £325 full price
This course will next be run in the UK in 2025: meanwhile you might be interested in the on line course Supporting Birth. Exact dates are not yet confirmed, although I have put January as a guideline
You could also attend this course taught in English with German translation in Vienna, Berlin or Zurich: please see German pages for booking and dates. You can use Google translate to help you!

Register your interest in this course for 2022 Register your interest for Bristol January 2025

understanding birth is important for your work with all clients, whether they are currently pregnant: we have all experienced birth and its imprint is always with us

Register your interest in this course for 2022 Register your interest for Bristol January 2025