You may have heard of the technique of hypnobirthing but don’t really know much about how it works OR how it enables you to manage the sensations of labour and perhaps even enjoy giving birth….google orgasmic birth, I double dare you.
This essential guide to hypnobirthing aims to help expectant Mamas just like you with common questions and explain how it can help you birth your baby more easily.
Whether you ’re pregnant now or it’s on the cards for a later date. The likelihood is you have spent some time wondering about birth and how the hell you will deal with it. But do you want an epidural or do the more natural methods such as birthing pools appeal? There is no right or wrong way to birth your baby, only what’s right for you. Part of the power of hypnobirthing is making you aware of the options available to you, empowering you to make the right choice for you.
If you would like to learn how you can prepare for a positive birth whatever the outcome, Then it is a good time to look at the many benefits of hypnobirthing!
What is hypnobirthing?
Experts in the technique of hypnobirthing will explain that a lot of the pain is labour is created by fear and tension in the body when we give birth, and that if you relax by using specific techniques then it can help you feel more comfortable with the sensations.
There is a simple explanation for this. When we FEAR something even at a subconscious level it creates TENSION and when we are more TENSE this means more PAIN in the body.
FEAR + TENSION = MORE PAIN.
The more tense our muscles are, the harder it is for them to work effectively. If you want proof of this then tense your hands as hard as you can and then try to close and open them..…much harder than when they are in their normal relaxed state. And the same applies to your uterus in labour.
If you have ever tried using breathing relaxation methods before, you will know that this is a great way of getting your body to unwind and let go, releasing tension and feelings of anxiety. Hypnobirthing focuses on this practice with self-hypnosis, using positive and calming language. Contractions are referred to as ‘waves’ or ‘surges and instead of pushing out your baby, you are ‘breathing them down’.
These confidence-building exercises are coupled with a full antenatal education. Understanding exactly what is happening in your body from the hormone changes to the logistics of how your uterus works inspire confidence in the natural birthing process. It’s fascinating what we are capable of!
The Benefits of Hypnobirthing
Hypnobirthing has AMAZING benefits for the birthing Mum, birth partner AND your baby. Which I could go on about for ages so check out this page for the full lowdown.
Hypnobirthing can transform you from a nervous wreck, changing the channel every time an advert for one born every minute comes on and googling how much private C sections cost to a being super chilled out Mama who looks forward to the big day and excited to give birth to their baby.
You might have heard that hypnobirthing gives you a pain-free birth. There’s no such promise from me.
Some women do shout about Hypnobirthing helping them with a totally pain-free birth whilst others say that it was still bloody painful, BUT they knew what was happening in their body. This new found confidence combined with the techniques they had learned helped to soothe and relax them through the sensations. You could be either of these women or somewhere in between. There is no right or wrong way to hypnobirth your baby!
The Calm Birth Method
Not all Hypnobirthing is equal. Be wary of any hypnobirthing method or teacher that tells you there is a right or wrong way to do something. A good teacher has no agenda and wants what’s right for the couple, helping them realise their power to make informed choices about their birth. It’s a common misconception that hypnobirthing is all about natural birth. YES we talk about how we are designed to give birth, YES we work to release fear build confidence in the natural process of birth but there are sometimes when mother nature needs a helping hand and that’s ok too.
Hypnobirthing CAN help you work towards a natural birth IF that’s what you prefer – or even if you didn’t know you wanted it in the first place!
With the calm birth method, you may find yourself birthing without medical intervention or the use of drugs to ease the pain. Simply by keeping relaxed throughout the whole process, the stress levels in your body will not rise, your muscles will not tense up and instead of fighting against the waves, you will work steadily with them.
BUT you can also hypnobirth on an epidural or while having a cesarean – Even if it wasn’t planned. You can hypnobirth any birth.
Tips for a Positive Birth
Like all natural methods, the benefits of hypnobirthing can be great, but a lot does depend on what you put in. A big part of the work is done by repeating the breathing and the relaxations again and again. Practice makes positive!
Ideally work with a qualified hypnobirthing practitioner who can support you and your partner on your journey and help to keep you calm and chilled out, even if things don’t go to plan. Attending hypnobirthing classes during your pregnancy enables you to get to grips with all the techniques easily and meet other expectant mothers in your area. Don’t underestimate the power of your support network. It’s a good idea to mention the use of hypnobirthing in your Birth Plan so that your care providers know why you might be looking like a blissed-out Buddhist monk on the big day. As it grows more in popularity, more and more midwives are aware of the practice and are possibly even trained in it so will be fully prepared to help you.
Hypnobirthing is not just for Mums. there are some SUPER benefits for birth partners too including them staying calm and playing an active role in the birth.
Your partner can help by attending classes with you or, if this is not possible, being alongside you at home when you practice what you have learnt, using breathing and visualisation exercises, is a great support and helps you to strengthen your bond before baby is born (that’s when the really hard bit starts!)
As well as taking part in the classes, you can also give some headspace to where you will have your baby as this can impact greatly upon how you feel during the birth which is probably one of the reasons why home births have become very popular again.
Most practitioners suggest starting hypnobirthing classes anytime from 20 weeks in your pregnancy, giving yourself plenty of time to master the techniques so that it all comes naturally to you once labour kicks in. Hypnobirthing is usually carried out in a small group, you will need approximately 8-10 hrs of tuition split a few sessions.
The cost of courses varies according to where you live and the skill of your teacher, as well as how many courses you need and how large the groups are.
There is also the option to take a private 121 course.
Whilst it isn’t yet part of the standard NHS care, some hospitals may offer it so check with your local unit.
If you live in the Walthamstow, East London area, then you can find out more about my local hypnobirthing courses which operate nearby. Hypnobirthing Courses are held at Locus of Walthamstow, 1 Chingford Road, E17 4PW.
Check out my website https://peaceloveandbirth.com/ for more info on the course packages available as well as the pricing.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading our essential guide to hypnobirthing.
If you pregnant have any questions or want to share your experience, feel free to drop them in the comments below and share this with your Mama friends!
Katie – Peace, Love & Birth