Chances are, you’ve heard about hypnobirthing, but if you’re honest, you don’t really know what it’s all about…. Am I right? Whenever I mention what I do, people’s brows tend to furrow, their eyes squint and their heads move towards me in a questioning glance…
“Did it really work for you?”
“Oh, that’s not for me – give me the epidural any day!”
“No, I can’t do that, I’ve already had a C-Section.”
“Nope – get me to the hospital and give me all the drugs!”
It’s comments like these which make me even more determined to get the message out there that hypnobirthing can work for EVERYONE, whatever your circumstances. Whether you give birth to your baby in the comfort of your own home, perhaps in a pool, surrounded by your family; or in a midwife-led Birth Centre; or in your local hospital following induction; or indeed if you give birth to your baby with the support of an Obstetrician via Caesarean Section – hypnobirthing can and will work for you. After all, there is no right or wrong way to birth your baby.
There is a great deal of stigma attached to the idea of hypnosis. For many, it conjures up images of a stage hypnotist mysteriously making some unsuspecting audience member cluck like a chicken or eat an onion believing it to be a delicious apple. In other words: being made to do something out of their control.
However, hypnotherapy and indeed hypnobirthing, couldn’t be more different. Hypnotherapy is merely the use of words: words used in a more focused and positive way, to help people let go of some of the negative ideas they have acquired in life. It works by ridding a fear or negative thought(s) from the subconscious mind. In hypnobirthing, this is often the fear that birth is traumatic or painful. Often these thoughts, fears and anxieties have come from the myriad of negative representations of birth in the media; One Born Every Minute being one such example! Seriously, would you watch a plane crash before you took off on your first flight?!
A hypnobirthing course is likely to be very different to what you expected. Like meeting someone for the very first time, after having built up a picture of them in your mind! You won’t be sent into a strange, spaced out state where you hope something will happen and you don’t notice the pain. Nothing could be further from the truth! hypnobirthing will not take away control from you, in fact, hypnobirthing puts you in the driving seat to take control of your birth. It is based on sound and irrefutable logic.
Hypnobirthing is not a magic wand that is waved to grant you the perfect, pain free birth. Sorry to break it to you guys, but ‘perfect’ doesn’t exist! Your labour will be your labour: completely unique to you and your baby. And hypnobirthing is not a form of pain relief: in order to have pain relief, you need to be in pain. Now, if your mind and body are working together, pain is much less likely – hypnobirthing will teach you how to make this happen! Yes, you can practice hypnobirthing and have an epidural, but you may not need it.
If you’re afraid of what giving birth will be like, then hypnobirthing will teach you how to release this fear and learn to trust your body, your instincts and your baby.
If you are scared about the thought of giving birth again because of a traumatic first-time experience, then hypnobirthing can help to alleviate this fear.
If you want to achieve a vaginal birth after a Caesarean Section (VBAC), then hypnobirthing can help you towards achieving this aim.
If you’ve heard or seen one too many birthing horror stories (please, don’t watch OBEM, and you’d like to know how to make pregnancy, labour and birth a positive experience, then hypnobirthing is the answer.
If you want to be in this together: with your birth partner by your side and on your side, helping your baby to have the most relaxed and positive start to life, then hypnobirthing can help you achieve this.
Hypnobirthing is like a jigsaw made up of many pieces, which, when practised regularly and pieced all together, will make a massive difference to your experience of pregnancy, labour and birth. The key really is to put in the practice and foster the right mindset, so that by the time you reach labour, everything will come naturally to you as the hard work has already been done. It’s like learning to play an instrument: I could tell you how to play the piano in 5 minutes, but in order to be any good at it, you would need to practise. Practise! Practise! Practise!
You can learn about hypnobirthing from a number of sources to suit your learning style: by reading a book, listening to a CDs/Mp3, watching online videos, or by taking a course, either as part of a group or privately. The course I teach is based on the teachings of Katharine Graves, KGHypnobirthing, which is made up of a series of incredibly effective techniques that will have a profound effect on you, your partner and you baby. It is so much more than just a few techniques to use during labour – although I’ll teach you those too!
Hypnobirthing can reduce the need for pain relief, shorten the length of labour and you are more likely to experience a natural, calm and comfortable birth – if you put in the work! Hypnobirthing also actively involves the birth partner; you will both learn skills to instill confidence not only about the birth of your baby, but also your role as parents. Indeed, hypnobirthing is a complete antenatal training programme, based on science, which will give you both the knowledge and the tools to achieve the right birth for you and your baby.
This blog is part of #knowvember. A whole month of sharing knowledge, advice and friendship. Read more about it here: https://www.mummysginfund.co.uk/knowvember/
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