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Would you like to learn new touch based skills as well as breathing, visualisations and positions so you can better support women and their partners at the end of pregnancy in preparing for birth? Perhaps even support them during birth?

You get life time access for the course and a certificate of completion for 13 hours which you can use for your CPD.

This supporting birth with shiatsu, massage and more 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.

Our supporting birth course 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.

Even if you don't work directly with clients during this period, understanding more about birth will help you with your work with all clients. We have all experienced birth and its effects deeply imprint upon us.

Working with birth is such a specific time to work, that this supporting birth course is open to all bodywork therapists as all techniques presented, whether they are more massage or more shiatsu based, are readily accessible.

This course covers western theories of birth, with some eastern theory. It is presented in such a way that it is relevant to everyone. However if you are less familiar with the eastern approach then you might also want to do the on line shiatsu foundation skills for midwives.

This supporting birth course can also be a good way to prepare or to review material from any of the in person courses.

You get feedback on your assignments from Suzanne and can ask her questions at any time. There are also occasional live sessions with Suzanne.


What is in this supporting birth on line course?

Overview of course

About 10 hours of course materials and activities: then there is the time you want to take to practice the exercises and techniques. This includes 2 hours of videos of Suzanne teaching birth preparation exercises, practical shiatsu and massage techniques and relevant theory.

Suzanne supports you during this course and you get feedback on your assignments from her. You can ask her questions at any time. There are also occasional live sessions with Suzanne.

Supporting birth course materials include nearly two hours of videos of Suzanne Yates teaching birth preparation exercises, practical shiatsu and massage techniques and relevant theory. There is also over an hour of audios of exercises, meditations and visualisations.

The supporting birth course is set up with 7 lessons. In in each lesson, there is a mix of videos, audios and text documents. At the end of each lesson is a quiz to check your learning and an assignment, which is either some practical work, or reflective piece. You can work through these topics and the assignments at your own pace and review any material as often as you want.

  • 1: Physiological birth: western and eastern perspectives

In this lesson, we look at why women need to prepare for birth. We learn what happens during the different stages of labour, including what starts labour. We will look first at the western view, but also consider the eastern view. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with the eastern view: I explain it in a way that will make sense even if you have no background in traditional Chinese medicine.

  • 2: Maternal and fetal positions and how they support, or hinder, birth

In this lesson you will learn about the different positions that the baby can assume during the end of pregnancy and how these may affect labour. You will also learn how the position of the mother influences the position of the baby both before and during birth. The aim of this is to begin to have some ideas for helping the baby to assume the “optimal” position for birth.

  • 3: Shiatsu and massage techniques: points and holds

In this lesson you will be introduced to some of the main practical hands on ways you can support late pregnancy and birth. Depending on your background, you may be more or less familiar with some of these ideas. Since working with late pregnancy and birth is quite a different way than we normally work, it is helpful to be open to new ways of working. For massage therapists this can include using more shiatsu based techniques and for shiatsu therapists to include some more massage based techniques.

  • 4: Breathing and visualisations

In this lesson, you will learn the importance of breath and visualisation and some ideas of how to include this in your work. Your assignment is to create your own visualisations.

  • 5: Medical interventions in labour

In this lesson, you will learn the effects of the different medical interventions on both the mother and baby, both during labour itself and how this affects the support that you or the partner can give, as well as the effects postnatally

  • 6: How to prepare birth preparation sessions: either with couples or with groups

In this lesson, you will learn how to create birth preparation sessions. You will be given some ideas of how to structure this as well as some sample resources including a lesson plan, handout and evaluation form

  • 7: Integrating your knowledge into your practice

In this lesson you will draw everything together by reflecting on which aspects of what you have learnt during the course you are able to start applying to your work.


More detail on the supporting birth course

Suzanne has been attending births and running birth preparation classes since 1990 when she set up Wellmother in Bristol. She has been teaching this course for professionals in person since 1999. This on line course covers the highlights of the in person course. It gives you key skills to be able to safely and effectively work with women in the third trimester preparing for birth, attend births or create birth preparation sessions or classes for women and their birth partners.  You will reflect on how you want to work during this time and create materials to support you to do this.


Videos, audios, forums, documents, quizzes, reflective assignments: on line is a wonderful way, in some ways better than in person, to learn why and in what situations you can use your practical skills. You can work through the theory at your own pace and explore exercises and meditations to prepare you for hands on work. You can discuss with Suzanne and other students on the course forum. For hands on skills and techniques, on line videos and support give you useful tools to start integrating new work into your practice and get feedback about relevant issues. However, do remember, to fine tune your skills the best way is to have some face to face supervision to gain specific feedback of how YOU are connecting and using your body. If you like the practical work presented in the on line courses, I strongly recommend that you attend an in person course or arrange a personal supervision with me or a Wellmother teacher to take your work to the next level!

I completed my shiatsu training a couple of months before my girlfriend became pregnant. I had some basic required knowledge of the use (and things not to do) of shiatsu during pregnancies but I wanted to further my knowledge to truly be able to support my girlfriend and baby during the process. I stumbled upon Suzanne's book and then registered for two online courses. It would take me pages to truly tell everything her knowledge has brought us, but let's just say I was able to help with much of my girlfriend's pregnancy discomforts through bodywork. Moreover, I was able to accompany her and our baby during all of her labor in a way that would have been unthinkable otherwise. This is a great gift from Suzanne and I can swear from my experience that it could change in a profound way the experience of many men and women who go through the quite unique experience of a child coming to birth. I truly am grateful.

Marc Ouimet

Shiatsu Practitioner

Suzanne has an incredible wealth of knowledge on the perinatal period, using both eastern and western approaches and presenting a balanced view.  Considering the needs of a pregnant client was one of my main inspirations to go on and train as a midwife. I've now been a registered midwife for four years, and use massage techniques on women in labour on almost every shift I work on my busy labour ward, as well as working as a specialist pregnancy massage therapist privately. I am incredibly grateful I took the step to do Suzanne's course.

Joanna Penaranda

Massage therapist and midwife

Entrance Requirements

  • You are a shiatsu practitioner, massage therapist or bodyworker who is already working with pregnant women and would like to learn more specific skills for birth preparation/attendance work.

    You may be a midwife, pregnancy yoga teacher or other professional working with birth preparation and want to learn some additional skills.

  • Depending on your profession and your employment status, you need appropriate insurance if you want to put the skills into practice. Wellmother can support you in supplying relevant certificates of attendance and course syllabus.

Supporting material

Pregnancy and childbirth

Suzanne Yates

Order book


£110 - lifetime access

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learn touch based skills to support women and their partners at the end of pregnancy, preparing for birth and perhaps even offering support during birth

understand the implications of birth on the rest of our life

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