Anyone can set up a Positive Birth Group – here’s how:
The Positive Birth Movement has over 400 groups around the world. Being part of our network means you join a huge online family of like-minded people, all working with one shared goal: to make the birth experience positive for as many women as possible!
What is a Positive Birth Group?
- A Positive Birth Group is any birth discussion group that holds a woman’s right to a positive birth experience to be of fundamental importance.
- Anyone can set up a Positive Birth Group, anywhere in the world.
- A Positive Birth Group has only two strict criteria, it must be 1) free and 2) positive about birth.
Who can Facilitate?
Anyone can create a Positive Birth group. Most of our groups are run by doulas, midwives or birth workers, but we also consider applications from people who ‘just’ have a passion for positive birth. You are not required to be an ‘expert’, and you don’t need any specialised knowledge or qualifications. The idea is simply to ‘facilitate’ (the definition of which is ‘to make easy’). You can ‘make it easy’ for women to gather, communicate, support each other and share information quite easily. You are not expected to ‘teach’, give out advice, or in any way substitute or replace relevant professionals.
What if there is already another group in my area?
Please check our listings to see if there is a PBM group already set up in your area. If so, please get in touch with that group, find out when and how often they run, and if they are over or under-subscribed. Liaise with them, using your own common sense, to work out if another group is needed in your area. It might be that it’s better for you to volunteer to help the existing group, or you may feel that there is room for another group at a different day or time. Whatever you decide, we encourage you to support groups in your region as we are all working towards the same goal of positive birth.
How do I set up a group?
Setting up a group is simple. First of all create an account on this website by clicking the register link at the top of the page. Then go to the groups section where you can apply to be a Facilitator.
Once we have received your application form, we will get back to you if we have any questions.
Please note that we receive a high volume of enquiries but aim to get back to you within 14 days (usually much quicker).
You will then be asked to pay a one off set-up fee of £40, and an annual admin fee of £20 per group. This bring the total cost of setting up a group to £60, and just £20 per year after this, should you continue to run your group. We have tried to keep this cost as low as possible.
Please note that the admin fee of £20 is per group, therefore if you decide to set up further PBM groups eg in different locations, you will be eligible to pay another £20 per annum admin fee, but not another set-up fee of £40.
Once we have received your admin fee:
- You will be sent a ‘PBM Facilitators Pack’, filled with information about setting up and running your group.
- You will be asked to read and agree to our guidelines.
- You will be invited to join our Facilitators-only discussion group on Facebook.
- You will be sent a monthly Facilitators newsletter.
- You will be sent a monthly PBM Newsletter.
- Your PBM group will be listed on our website and promoted on social media.
- You will be sent promotional materials such as flyers free of charge (currently UK only).
- You will be given as much support as you need to set up and run your group.
Being a PBM Facilitator brings many benefits. As well as becoming part of our global birth community, you will also be at the forefront of the current movement to improve birth. You may be asked to represent the PBM in your local area or be invited to speak at events or conferences. We also offer events at discounted costs and in the future low cost training for PBM Facilitators only.
Once I’ve been approved as a Facilitator, how do I start?
All you need to do is set a date for a meeting, either in your house, or a local cafe, hall or other venue, as you prefer. Let The Positive Birth Movement know the details and we will add you to the network. A PBM Group can also be an existing group that is already up and running – as long as it is 1) free and 2) positive about birth, we will welcome you to our network.
Who should I invite?
The aim of the Positive Birth Movement is to reach pregnant women, but you can also invite birth workers eg doulas or midwives, and anyone interested in positive birth. Please bear in mind though, that we don’t allow promotion of businesses or products via our network, and that anyone who attends needs to do so in a personal rather than a professional capacity.
How often should we meet?
Most of our groups meet monthly, but you can meet more often if you like!
How should we structure our meetings?
As part of your Facilitators Pack you will receive a Welcome Statement that we recommend you read out at the start of your meetings. There is also a set monthly theme: we will inform you of the themes and make suggested starting points for discussion via our Facebook group and mailing list. PBM Groups are different to other antenatal ‘classes’ in that our Facilitators are not expected to ‘teach’. The aim of our groups is to get women talking and sharing information and experiences with each other. So many groups choose to start with the Welcome Statement, some introductions, then introduce the theme…and let people get talking! Listening – and doing so without judgement – is the most vital skill of our Facilitators! It’s always helpful to remember you are part of a bigger network and that there is a wealth of support available for both you and the women who come to your group, if anyone has unanswered questions.
The Positive Birth Movement sets a monthly discussion theme which you may wish to follow. These themes are deliberately ‘wide’ to allow women to generate their own discussion. Past themes have included:
- Planning a Positive Birth
- What is a Positive Birth?
- Choices in Birth (the many and various choices pregnant women face>
- The Language of Birth (the language we use about birth and why this matters)
- Images of Birth (what images we have seen of birth in our lives and how these have affected our expectations and experiences)
- Place of Birth (how can we have a positive birth in the various locations, what our options are etc)
- The Hour after Birth…and Beyond (what we can choose to do to make this important time positive, too)
Essentially, how you run your group will depend on you and the needs of the people who attend on the day. Positive Birth groups will not all be the same – and this is ok. No matter who you are, we hope that you will find ways of ensuring that everyone who attends your group is given an equal voice, that you create an atmosphere of non-judgement and respect, and that attendees leave feeling positive.
We are a network!
Once you’re up and running we ask that you keep in touch via email, Facebook and twitter to let us know the news from your group, and share questions that have been raised, discussion points, or any problems – please make sure your group members know that you are part of the Positive Birth Movement and consent if you are sharing any personal information. Our huge online community is an invaluable place to share specialist knowledge and experience, or get support with everything from difficult choices to human rights issues.
Can I add an existing group to the PBM network?
If you are already running a regular birth discussion group, we would be very pleased to add you to our network. All we ask is that your group meets our very simple criteria, it must be 1) free, and 2) positive about childbirth. You don’t have to change the name of your group, but you are welcome to use our logo and tell your members that you are part of our movement, once you have been accepted. If you would like us to add your group, please begin by filling in the Facilitators application form.
Can I charge for a group?
No. All Positive Birth groups must be free and not for profit. However, if you are hiring a hall for your meeting you may like to share the cost between you. You may also ask your group for donations towards costs (such as your group fees, hall hire, tea etc), but donations must be voluntary as we are passionate that our groups must remain accessible to all.
Can I promote or advertise my birth business via my PBM group?
No. We don’t allow any direct advertising or promotion of businesses or products via our groups. We don’t want women to turn up to hear positive birth stories and talk about their choices and find they are being ‘sold’ a hypnobirthing course or a selection of massage oils! So we have a strict policy of no business or product promotion, either in our face to face groups or online. However, we don’t mind at all if you tell your group what you do, eg, that you are a doula, and it would therefore be naive to say that running a PBM group does not raise the profile of your business in your local community of pregnant women and other birth workers.
Remember that the main aim is positivity and that this should mean respect for women and their choices. Know your strengths and your limits, and listen and facilitate, rather than teach or preach. This is not about evangelising your own views on home birth or drug free birth. It’s about providing a space for open discussion, a place where women can empower each other to approach birth differently and to expect and enjoy a positive birth – whatever that means to them.