WHAT IS HYPNOBIRTHING?
Hypnobirthing is a way of understanding and preparing for birth that means women and birth partners feel calm, confident and relaxed about giving birth.
We grow up being told that giving birth is the most painful experience of our lives. We watch films that show emergencies and women who are scared. We assume the only place to give birth is in a hospital, on our backs with no choice in the matter. This isn’t the story of most actual births (unfortunately, we are not as good at sharing the positive stories and images of birth) and it has a profound impact on us.
These negative images, words and sounds stay with us, consciously and unconsciously, and make us scared, anxious and stressed about birth. And being scared of birth makes it hard for your body to give birth as it is in fight, flight or freeze mode. Being scared and feeling out of control also makes it difficult to make decisions about what support you want and need.
Hypnobirthing challenges this negative image of birth and works to dispel myths and fear so you can feel psychologically and physically ready. You will feel in control; not of the birth itself, nobody can control birth, but in control of your breath, your mind and your decisions.
The tools of Hypnobirthing are simple; knowledge and techniques which together, give you confidence.
You will learn how incredibly your body and baby work together during pregnancy and birth and how being relaxed is so important to the process.
You will understand how being scared and holding tension can make your body freeze during birth, causing delay and pain.
You will be encouraged to think about your options and what is important to you. Hypnobirthing gives you balanced information and tools to weigh up the benefits and risks of different scenarios and encourages you to work with your midwives and doctors to make the right decision for you and your baby.
You will also learn about how the NHS works to support you, what you can do if you don’t feel supported, what choices you have and how to be confident and assertive when making decisions.
You will learn how to use two simple and powerful breathing techniques during the three stages of birth. These techniques will make you feel relaxed and calm whilst also helping your body get the oxygen it needs.
You will use guided meditations and relaxations during pregnancy and birth to release any fear you have and help you feel totally calm and relaxed.
Hypnobithing also has techniques for less common situations you might be facing such as a baby presenting breech or if you are wanting a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section).
Every body is different. Every birth is different. Hypnobirthing gives you confidence to trust your body, your breath and your instinct. Confidence to ask questions and make decisions that are right for you.
WHO IS IT FOR?
All pregnant women
Whether this is your first pregnancy or fifth. Whether you are thinking about a home, midwife led unit or hospital birth, with no interventions or a planned intervention such as a cesarean section, hypnobirthing can be used to stay calm, feel comfortable and make the right decisions for you. Hypnobirthing also helps you to make decisions and stay calm if you need an intervention you weren’t planning for.
It’s good to have time to practice the tools and techniques so they become second nature. Any time in your second or third trimester is great; if you start early you could be more relaxed with your practice, if you start later, you could commit to practising everyday to get the most you can from Hypnobirthing.
Birth partners, whoever they are
If a birth partner (mother, father, friend, doula, granny…) will be at the birth, we encourage them to also attend the Hypnobirth course. The knowledge, tools and techniques are for them too. There is a specific session in the course to talk about how they feel about their role and to encourage pairs to talk about how the mother would like to be supported during birth.
WHY USE HYPNOBIRTHING?
Research is in the early stages but studies are starting to show that using self hypnosis (the relaxation, visualisation and breathing elements of Hypnobirthing) during birth is changing how women are giving birth.
A Cochrane review of five randomised controlled trials, involving 749 women, found evidence to suggest that hypnosis:
Decreases the need for pharmacological pain relief in labour including use of epidural;
Reduces length of labour
Increases the number of spontaneous vaginal birth.
Is associated with improved wellbeing of the mother and baby
Anecdotally, talking to Midwives in the UK, they are reporting a significant positive change in how women give birth when they use hypnobirthing and many midwives are now training to be Hypnobirthing teachers themselves to use the techniques in their work.
A HYPNOBIRTH MAMA’S STORY
“I did the hypnobirthing course a few months ago with Emma. I had my little girl, Isabella three weeks ago and I just wanted to say how much the hypnobirthing course helped me. I was originally going to go to a midwife led unit but after the course I felt confident to plan a home birth. Isabella was 16 days overdue and so I had a lot of pressure from doctors to be induced and give birth in the central delivery suite. The hypnobirthing really helped me to calmly think through my options and not be pushed into a decision.
My waters broke and contractions started while I was in the hospital being monitored (daily monitoring as I was over 42 weeks). I asked to be discharged and went home. The midwives arrived shortly after I did. My active labour lasted around 8 hours and Isabella was born at 9lbs 13. Although it was hard work and I wasn’t quite like the quiet women in the hypnobirthing videos I still felt totally in control throughout the whole labour.”
Hypnobirth Mama, 2018