Every woman is entitled to have the birth that is right for her. However, this often is NOT the case. After 8.5 months of caring and nurturing their baby on their own, suddenly the team of caregivers around her — usually midwives or obstetricians — is suggesting ‘plans of action’ should this baby not arrive ‘on time’. When really, in most cases, there is no medical reason or need to rush baby out. And there certainly isn’t any need for human meddling, which invariably leads to a medicated and uncomfortable birth.
The fallacy around the ‘due date’
There are many mums who will carry their baby past their ‘due date’. This is not a reason for concern. It is simply part of nature. If you and your baby are fine, you need to ask yourself why anyone should feel justified to interfere.
Many babies are born later than their estimated due date. This could simply be a matter of the due date being slightly out. Scans are not 100 per cent accurate. AND remember, there is no ‘due date’ as such. All women are different, all babies are different and all pregnancies are different. The World Health Organization states that a baby is usually born anytime between 37 and 42 weeks.
Did you know…
…that only 4% of babies are born on their ‘due date’?
… due dates even vary from country to country (40 weeks in the UK, 41 weeks in France for example)!
Conclusion? Due dates are estimates!!!
To accept an induction or not, that is the question
Currently in the UK, caregivers are booking in thousands of low-risk mothers for an induction before they have even reached the 42-week mark. Why have they not been given the chance to get to the 42-week mark first and then weigh up the options? Is an induction really the right type of labour for them?
If you are a healthy mum who has experienced a straightforward, uncomplicated pregnancy, then reaching the 42-week mark is totally fine.
When a woman is beyond 40 weeks gestation, couples should consider evidence-based research to get a clearer picture of what the risks are of going beyond 40 weeks and how likely something is to happen or not. If they have a condition that is a cause for concern, they need to choose the path that protects the well-being of both the mother and the baby.
Hypnobirthing supports all options for birth, so being induced, choosing intervention or opting for an elective Caesarean section are all possible options, even with hypnobirthing.
Demystifying the word ‘hypnobirthing’
Before we get into what hypnobirthing is about and what it involves, let’s demystify this word that often conjures up false images. In essence it simply tells it as it is: ‘hypno’ comes from the word ‘hypnosis’, so ‘hypnobirthing’ just means ‘hypnosis for birth’.
Forget the hypnotists and hypnosis shows you see on TV — these programmes are created and edited for entertainment. Hypnobirthing is equivalent to clinical hypnotherapy for other matters, where individuals are able to make life-enhancing changes, such as stopping smoking or overcoming a phobia.
Hypnobirthing is not done to you. Only you can put yourself into hypnosis, only you can decide whether to relax into a ‘hypnotic trance’ or not. So hypnobirthing, like meditation and mindfulness, is about learning to take control of your mind and your body; through breathing, visualisation and relaxation techniques, and being guided to think differently and to be open to change.
The mind is extremely powerful and it is divided into the conscious and the subconscious (or unconscious). Every single moment of the day, these two components are in constant dialogue, but the subconscious is the master of all that you think and do: it constitutes around 88 per cent of your mind. In hypnobirthing we use scripts that relax the conscious part and tap into your subconscious. When you go into your labour ‘bubble’, hypnobirthing helps you to remain calm, confident and focused throughout. It will enable you to trust your instincts and connect at a deeper level with what your body and baby are experiencing.
However, hypnobirthing is not just about the ‘hypno’ bit. It is also about having a deeper understanding of what your body is doing during labour, of the natural and physiological reactions and changes that occur. There are recommended techniques and positions that can help optimise your labour, to make it more comfortable and, in many cases, faster than labours that don’t use these simple and effective tools.
So if you’ve been put off by media, friends and family because they showed or told you that labour is some horrific, screaming, swearing, painful ritual that you have to pass through in order to hold your baby, know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Birthing has the potential to be a calm and positive experience… if you want it to be and if you learn how to make it so.
If you want to find out more about hypnobirthing and why you should do it, in the book The Power of Hypnobirthing you will discover 10 great reasons why hypnobirthing is a skillset for every expectant mum, for each and every pregnancy. It is also for their birth partner, because it will bring them front and centre to the whole pregnancy, labour and birth experience, enabling them to offer the mother essential support throughout.
Who is a hypnobirthing course for?
Despite there being a shift in perceptions, many people still think that hypnobirthing is only for a select group, such as hippy-types, yummy-mummies and lentil-lovers. Trust me when I say that every expectant mum can benefit from a hypnobirthing course, regardless of whether:
A hypnobirthing course is a full antenatal course, where all options and choices are explored.
Let’s pause for a second and consider the following. How are you expected to make choices if you don’t have a clear understanding of all the options available to you? How can you decide what’s right for you if you don’t know the pros and cons for each of those choices? Giving birth should be about informed decision. That means fully understanding your options and being told the full picture so that you can decide what feels right for you and your baby.
So a hypnobirthing course is not only about relaxation and breathing techniques, visualisations and positive birth affirmations; it is an all-round programme that teaches everything that an expectant mother and her birth partner need to know about late pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond. From the physical changes that occur in a mother’s body towards the end of pregnancy, as it prepares for labour, through to what a woman can expect to happen during labour and birth. Magical Baby Moments also has a section on how to care for a newborn, as I feel it is important to help new parents as much as possible beyond birth too.
Hypnobirthing courses are not just for people who expect labour to follow a certain path. No two births are the same and labour does not always follow the exact path that you would like it to take either. So you have to be open-minded and be ready to embrace the other scenarios, should they arise.
Hypnobirthing classes teach couples how to be fully informed of all the circumstances that can occur. These topics are discussed in detail so that the participants are confident with the terminology and all the benefits, risks and alternatives that each choice presents. Therefore, if any of these matters arise during their pregnancy or labour, they already know how they feel about certain interventions and whether instinctively these feel like the right decisions for them and their baby or not. Couples are also often reminded throughout the classes that there is always the option to question procedures and to say ‘no’ or to ask for extra time if possible.
A hypnobirthing course is about information, empowerment and choice. It is about having knowledge in order to have power and control over your situation. It should allay any fears or preconceptions that you or your birth partner may have. When you complete a course, you should walk away feeling more knowledgeable, confident and excited at the anticipation of the arrival of your precious baby. Being pregnant is a miracle. How the body, mind and spirit are intertwined in pregnancy and labour is mysterious, and giving birth will be magical, in whichever way is right for your situation.
Hypnobirthing is not a craze or a fad. It has been around for centuries. It has been done instinctively and intuitively, when communities were tighter, when people took the time to listen and care and when it didn’t have a label attached to it. In this modern, frantic world, it has become a necessity for expectant parents who want to be fully prepared for a positive and confident birth experience.
What parents-to-be have thought about attending a hypnobirthing course
‘I feel much more confident, informed and empowered. I am aware of my choices and also much more aware of my ability to birth our first baby. Prior to attending, I was not focused and felt that I had lots of bits of information, but I didn’t know how to make it meaningful for me. I highly recommend the course to all mums. It will ensure that birthing will be a more pleasant experience, avoiding unnecessary stress. Knowledge is power and the course has certainly empowered me.’
Read more testimonials
Face-to-face hypnobirthing course
The Magical Baby Moments group course consists of four weekday evenings or two weekend days, on selected dates. Ideally this is taught to you anywhere from 20 weeks onwards. If you are late into your pregnancy and think you’ve missed the opportunity, don’t worry, you haven’t. Hypnobirthing principles for a relaxed and calm birth are easy to learn, so doing the course in the final weeks of pregnancy can be as effective as doing it mid-way through your pregnancy. Magical Baby Moments also offers private courses.
Find out course dates
Buy the book
Want to know more about a hypnobirthing course? Buy The Power of Hypnobirthing: 10 reasons why its for you. Only £5.99 plus P&P. Also available on Amazon Kindle.