There are different types of antenatal preparation to get ready for the birth of your baby. One of them is hypnobirthing. I am a KG Hypnobirthing instructor based in Romford, Essex. In 2017, I wrote The Power of Hypnobirthing: 10 reasons why it’s for you. I am a firm advocate that hypnobirthing can benefit every mother, in every pregnancy. Let me tell you why...
Hypnobirthing may conjure up certain images in your head. But don't be put off by the word. Hypnosis doesn't put you in some altered state of reality. It doesn't make you do things you wouldn't normally do — it only puts you in an altered state of consciousness. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis — only you can put yourself into a ‘hypnotic state’.
Hypnobirthing is about learning to take control of your mind and your body for labour and birth. You can achieve this through breathing, visualisation and relaxation techniques. Women who use hypnobirthing, trust in their body and baby to guide them through this wonderful journey. They relax into labour and allow their body to do its thing. But hypnobirthing isn’t just about these relaxation techniques for birth. It is a comprehensive antenatal course that provides you with a toolkit and wealth of information. It will empower you to make the right choices for you and your baby. Hypnobirthing courses are usually done after 20 weeks gestation. Here is how it enhances labour and increases the chances of a positive birth experience.
All women (and their birth partners) need to be informed of the choices that are available. They need to know the risks and benefits associated with those choices. Are there alternatives? What are the risks and benefits of those. Only when they have a comprehensive picture can they make an informed choice.
Connect the mind and body
The links between the mind and the body are strong, and you can influence them one way or another. Hypnobirthing scripts, visualisations and positive birth affirmations are all techniques used by mothers. They enable them to remain calm, reassured and focused during pregnancy and labour.
Trust in nature
All animals instinctively know how to birth their babies. In the modern and frantic world that we live in, us humans often look for medical assistance when we give birth. In some cases this is not even necessary. Many think this will be an 'easier' path, but it is often not the case. Induced labours can be long, hard and, at times, difficult. Birth is not usually a medical emergency, we should stop treating them as such.
Bond with your baby in pregnancy
Hypnobirthing courses teach mums and birth partners connect and bond with their baby during pregnancy. These little beings are already unique tiny people. They are ready to connect with you before they are born.
Involve your birth partner during pregnancy
Quite often birth partners are observers during the pregnancy stage. Attending hypnobirthing course will teach them the tools and techniques for a calm and gentle birth. They will be an invaluable support during labour.
Let your birth partner support you during labour and birth
Birth partners who get involved in pregnancy, make fantastic supportive birth partners. Why? Because together you plan for the birth and discuss the path that you would like to experience. If questions arise during labour, they are able to support your wishes and be an advocate for you.
Release any underlying fears you may have
People often tell expectant mothers the ‘negative aspects’ about the experiences they have had. For first-time mums this can be detrimental, as these can play on a mothers mind. Hypnobirthing allows couples to talk through their worries and fears. The course will help them prepare for birth with a positive outlook.
Learn natural ways to keep your body relaxed and comfortable in labour
Being relaxed calm and comfortable during labour allows the body to work more efficiently. Couples will explore many ways to achieve this; whether they are in hospital, a midwife-led unit or at home.
Discover the best positions for labour and birth
TV and films would have us believe that being on our backs whist one a bed is how to give birth. This is the WORST position to allow your baby to descend with ease. Learn what to do instead in a hypnobirthing course.
Learn how to use hypnobirthing for a Caesarean Section and/or a Vaginal Birth after a Caesarean Section (VBAC)
Hypnobirthing applies to all women, regardless of how their birth experience plays out. If the birth journey takes an unexpected turn and needs to include medical intervention, everything that she has learned will still be extremely useful.
It is every expectant woman’s right to have a positive experience. In our current world, birth can often be seen as a medical emergency. Medical professionals get involved and individualised care isn’t carried out.
Give yourself the tools and the power to take control of your birth experience. Arm yourself with the right information to aide you in making the right decisions for you and your baby. Give hypnobirthing a try.
My personal experience with hypnobirthing
I discovered hypnobirthing in a parenting magazine. I was in the third trimester of my second pregnancy. (I had a missed-miscarriage with my first pregnancy). The way the article described hypnobirthing resonated with what I wanted to experience. It described a calm and confident birth, trusting in nature to do its thing. The article directed me to a book, which I read and re-read in the final weeks of pregnancy.
After doing our research we opted for a homebirth. The labouring stage with my son was tranquil and serene. Being at home was a comfortable setting. The hypnobirthing techniques that I had taught myself were keeping me in a peaceful zone. Tragically, our son was born sleeping. Our world came tumbling down in and instant. The happiness of that homebirth experience was soon obliterated.
With my third pregnancy, we were all anxious as to whether this pregnancy was going to have a happy ending. As the weeks passed and the pregnancy progressed well, I pulled out that book again. It was then that I realised just how powerful hypnobirthing had been during that labour with my son. I was eager to research other methods and use it to help me achieve the right birth for my daughter.
As a precaution, my caregivers were recommending to me to have her via a Caesarean Section. In my heart I wanted to experience another vaginal birth. Hypnobirthing had taught me about mindfulness and the power of positive thought. I bought myself more material to empower me and I had a great midwife who believed in me too. It worked. I went into labour spontaneously two days before the Caesarean Section date. It was an active and relaxed birth in a hospital setting. It was everything I wanted, and more. This isn’t to say that there weren’t emotional wobbles during the labour. I remember at one point wondering why I hadn't just opted for the C-section. Hypnobirthing, and being mindful of wanting another natural birth, gave me a swift kick up the bum. Just flipping well get on with it!! You can do it. And I did!
It wasn't until 2015 that I became a hypnobirthing teacher. I chose to follow the Katharine Graves, KGHypnobirthing method. The teacher training course is accredited by the Royal College of Midwives. Since then I have gone on to teach many couples about the power of hypnobirthing. I know it can help all expectant mums, regardless of their situation and potential past experiences.
I am grateful to my son for taking me on this path of helping inform others. I am not sure without his experience that I would have...
If you are pregnant, it would be my pleasure to support you through your pregnancy. Give me a call and let's have a chat.
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The crux of hypnobirthing is about becoming more mindful about your body and your baby. Look at the journey you have been on so far in your pregnancy. How many amazing things – miracles really – have happened up until this point? It’s mind blowing!
Your body intuitively knows how to grow that little person within you. A tiny human being is developing and growing each day. Whilst you go about your day, nature knows the exact order and process in which to allow your baby to develop. For women who go into labour spontaneously, this happens at the right time – when your body and baby are ready for the next chapter. Your cervix will ripen, soften and open. For nine months, these muscles have remained tightly closed - to keep your baby protected in the uterus. In early labour, they will dilate to make way for your baby to gently make his way down into your pelvis and birth canal.
The muscles around the top of the uterus, which have gently expanded as your baby has grown, will contract and tighten to help your baby nudge his way down. This will happen gently to start with but may grow in intensity as the body works to move your baby down into the birth canal. These are commonly known as ‘contractions’ - what hypnobirthing teachers may also call ‘surges’ or ‘waves’.
A hypnobirthing course teaches you the skills and techniques to trust in the ability of your body. Relax, nature already knows what to do. You simply need to embrace that journey with calm confidence and let your body do the rest.
Hypnobirthing techniques will help the mum feel calm and focused. She understands that any tension in her body may make the feelings during a contraction more intense. Tense muscles can’t work as efficiently. When a uterus is contracting, any tension in the body could mean:
Invariably labour could last longer, as the tension and tightness slow down or delay the baby’s descent.
How do the hormones oxytocin and adrenalin affect labour?
A mother naturally produces oxytocin to help labour start and to maintain regular contractions. It is sometimes known as the ‘happy hormone’. Our body also produces oxytocin on other occasions, such as: when we laugh, when we are happy and when we make love.
The opposing hormone to oxytocin is adrenalin. It is also known as the fight-or-flight hormone (or, in the case of labour, the fight-flight-or-freeze hormone). You don’t want adrenalin and its associated hormones to be present during labour and birth. This is not a good place to be mentally or physically when you are about to birth your baby. It is not good for your baby either. They can pick up on your emotions, which could potentially make labour more difficult for them as well. If the midwife detects a baby in distress, they will be concerned. If this persists, alternative care may need to be considered, maybe even a C-section.
As you can see, the links between the mind and the body are strong. You can influence how you feel one way or another. Hypnobirthing scripts, visualisations and positive birth affirmations are all techniques used by mothers to help them remain calm, reassured and focused. All these techniques can make the labour more comfortable (often with reduced, or sometimes no, pain-relief and fewer medical interventions), which tends to result in a shorter labour. How appealing does that sound?
A hypnobirthing course will teach you and your birth partner a variety of techniques that will enable you to connect your body, your mind and your spirit with your baby, in a positive way. so that you can have a calm pregnancy and a positive birth experience.
Prepare yourself and your birth partner for a birth experience that feels right for you. Use hypnobirthing techniques to calmly connect with your body, your mind and your baby. It can help you achieve the birth you want.
If you want to know more about what a hypnobirthing course can offer you, buy The Power of Hypnobirthing: 10 reasons why its for you. It's available on Amazon and Kindle.
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SAVE THE DATE – 22nd September 2018
Are you trying to conceive or already pregnant? Then this is an expectant-parent event with a difference that you cannot afford to miss.
The Upminster Sanctuary is opening up their doors for, one day only, to explain all the natural and holistic support that you may be looking for (or that you never knew existed) to help you in your journey to parenthood.
For some couples, falling pregnant or going to full term in pregnancy can be a bumpy and emotional road. Quite often, this is due to an imbalance in the body of either mum or dad. Learn from our practitioners how their complementary therapies can help rebalance the body and prepare your body for conception and pregnancy.
If you are already pregnant, how can you make the most of your pregnancy? Perhaps you want to take time out with a pregnancy massage, or you would like to learn how to prepare for labour. Both pregnancy yoga and hypnobirthing can help you with this.
The Upminster Sanctuary offers the following therapies suitable for pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and the post-natal period:
On 22 September, this unmissable (Pre)Bump, Baby & Beyond Event will be take place. Join Magical Baby Moments, who will be there to explain how hypnobirthing is the must-attend antenatal class that prepares you for a calm and confident birth. You can read more about What is hypnobirthing? in this blog post.
Come along for a day of learning, sharing and celebrating the miracle of life.
Entry: £10 per couple/family.
(Each ticket will be exchanged for a goodie bag; which includes a passport to (Pre)Bump, Baby and Beyond activities, vouchers towards therapies and classes, The Power of Hypnobirthing book and lots more information on your natural and holistic journey to parenthood)
Our practitioners will guide you through a journey of discovery: what to expect when you’re expecting, or planning to, and how the complementary therapies at The Sanctuary can support you in your unique journey to parenthood.
Call the Upminster Sanctuary on 01708 251124 if you would like further information.