Bridging Wisdom: The Lao Birthwork Project and the Gift of Knowledge

by | Nov 30, 2023 | News

Bridging Wisdom: The Lao Birthwork Project and the Gift of Knowledge


In the heart of Southeast Asia, where lush landscapes and ancient traditions converge, the Lao Birthwork Project is sowing the seeds of transformation.

Aiming to improve birth outcomes in the remote district hospitals and health centres of Luang Prabang province, the project is headed by the visionary Jenny Blyth and a team of volunteer birthworkers.

As an experienced birthworker and bodyworker, I am honoured to have been invited by Jenny to join her this year in sharing natural birth wisdom and physiological birth skills with traditional birth attendants and women of rural and remote Laos.

This article shares insights into the impact of the Lao Birthwork Project and is an invitation to join hands in supporting this vital initiative

Empowering communities through physiological birth wisdom

The Lao Birthwork Project, founded by Jenny Blyth,  is an inspiring endeavour aiming to improve maternal and infant health outcomes in Laos through education, advocacy, and community support. This project, rooted in the ethos of natural birth wisdom, seeks to empower traditional birth attendants and women themselves with new knowledge to create a positive impact on the childbirth experience.

Jenny Blyth, a pioneer in the field of natural birth, brings a wealth of experience and wisdom to the project. Her vision extends beyond the clinical aspects of childbirth, recognising the deep cultural significance embedded in traditional birthing practices. By sharing her wealth of knowledge with local birth attendants, Jenny aims to create a ripple effect of empowerment, ensuring that mothers in Laos have access to a continuum of care that aligns with their cultural values.

Reviving traditional birth practices

Central to the Lao Birthwork Project is the revival of traditional birthing practices that have been passed down through generations. In a world that often leans towards medicalisation, the project emphasises the importance of preserving and respecting the cultural wisdom that surrounds childbirth.

As a birthworker and bodyworker, my role involves sharing not only the technical aspects of supporting physiological childbirth but also the sacred and holistic elements that have been integral to traditional birthing practices. By bridging modern insights with time-honoured wisdom, the Lao Birthwork Project seeks to create a harmonious approach to childbirth that honours both the physiological and cultural aspects of the birthing journey.

Education as empowerment

One of the pillars of the Lao Birthwork Project is education. The initiative recognises the profound impact that knowledge can have on maternal health. By providing comprehensive and culturally-tailored childbirth education, the project empowers mothers with the information they need to make informed choices during their pregnancy, labour, and postpartum journey.

The curriculum encompasses a range of topics, from prenatal nutrition and the importance of regular check-ups to pain management techniques and breastfeeding support. These educational sessions not only empower mothers but also engage their families, fostering a supportive network that understands and values the significance of a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

Community-led initiatives

At the heart of the Lao Birthwork Project is the emphasis on community-led initiatives. Recognising the strength and resilience of Lao communities, the project collaborates with local leaders, midwives, and healthcare providers to create a network of support. This grassroots approach ensures that the project is deeply rooted in the cultural context of Laos. By fostering collaboration and mutual respect, the project ensures that the wisdom shared is culturally relevant and sustainable.

How you can help support the Lao Birthwork Project

As volunteers of the Project, we have to self-fund aspects of the venture, including travel, food, supplies, teaching materials and any props and donations that we bring with us. A public fundraiser has been initiated to help me cover these expenses in order to travel to Laos and support the project’s expansion, allowing us to reach more communities, train more birth attendants, and create a lasting impact on maternal and infant health in the region.

Your support can also help fund educational materials, workshops, and outreach programs that are vital for the success of the Lao Birthwork Project. By contributing to this fundraiser, you become a vital part of a movement that honors the beauty of natural birth, preserves cultural traditions, and empowers women to embrace their birthing journey with confidence.

The Lao Birthwork Project is not just a project; it is a celebration of life, culture, and the timeless wisdom embedded in the act of childbirth. As a birthworker and bodyworker, I am deeply inspired by the transformative potential of this initiative.

Join us in supporting the Lao Birthwork Project and become a part of a movement that transcends borders, bringing the gift of natural birth wisdom to the beautiful women of Laos. Together, we can make a difference and empower generations to come.

Donations can be made to:

Shelly Langford

BSB: 313140

Account: 12250123

Please leave the reference: Laos and your name

Please contact me via email if you require a receipt for tax purposes.






As a doula, prenatal bodyworker and birth educator, my role is to support birthing families in making informed and empowered decisions about their birth and beyond. If you’d like support with pregnancy and postpartum bodywork and wellbeing in Cairns and Far North Queensland, you can book a massage, pelvic release work or birth education class with me here

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