I asked on the ol’ Instagram whether you wanted to hear about our hypnobirthing classes, and got a resounding yes, so here we are!
I’m not ashamed to say I can be a bit of a hippy at times. I like my yoga with singing bowls and “ommms” galore and my products natural and cruelty free. However, Hypnobirthing isn’t, or at least doesn’t have to be, a hippy thing. I do think the name is a little misleading - you’re not being hypnotised before pushing the baby out, and I think if more people knew what it was about, they would be more inclined to give it a go.
I first heard of hypnobirthing many years ago. I still remember where I was - at my Nanna’s house, and they were discussing Giovanna Fletcher’s birth to Buzz. They mentioned hypnobirthing and straight away I thought - I want to try that when I have a baby. I was so desperate not to forget it and I’m so glad I didn’t! It’s amazing to think that here I am, about to give birth to my first baby, using a technique I heard about years ago, before I had even met Steven.
So what is hypnobirthing?
Well, I’m not an expert. I have done some reading and https://www.facebook.com/EmpoweredBumpsHypnobirthing/, but that doesn’t mean I know everything, so bare with me as I try to be as articulate as possible.
To me, one pretty big idea of hypnobirthing is to equip yourself with enough knowledge about birth that you can make informed decisions about your care. We just assume that we have to go along with what we are told, or the usual order of things, but that’s not always the case. For example, did you know you don’t have to have constant vaginal examinations to see how dilated you are? Our bodies are all so different that one person could go from 4cm - 10cm in an hour, and someone else might take 3 hours to got from 4cm - 6cm. So it’s not always beneficial to know and it might make you feel as though you are not progressing the way you wanted to which can be really disheartening.
When you’re giving birth, your body needs lots of oxytocin, which is your body’s natural pain relief and comes from you being happy and relaxed. This is what makes your birth less painful and generally easier. It’s about getting you in the right mindset for birth, where you’re not scared, you feel empowered. So for example, using the word “surges” rather than “contractions” sounds a lot nicer, and instead of hearing “you’re only 5cm” hearing “you’re already 5cm” can do amazing things to your mind and body. I know it sounds like hippy stuff but it’s science!
So you are taught about setting the space up to feel right for you. You don’t have to home birth to hypnobirth, in fact, everyone in our class was planning on going to hospital. Most hospitals allow you to dim the lights and have fairy lights up, you can diffuse, or use certain oils to help you feel relaxed, and put music on that makes you feel ready.
Knowledge is power
In the class we learned about sweeps, inductions, caesareans and pain relief. By being informed, you can choose what’s best for you. For example, you don’t always have to have a section, the hospital are just trying to stick to guidelines but if there is no risk to you or baby, you can ask to carry on as you are. However, we also talked a lot about the choices you can make with a non-emergency c-section to help you still feel in control. For example you can ask that you as the parents are first to speak when the baby is out so that you’re the first voices he or she hears. You can ask for specific music to be put on, the screen to be put up or down and to have immediate skin-to-skin. By being empowered to make choices, mum’s don't have to feel as though all their control has been taken away.
The role of the birth partner
Another important aspect we learned about was the birth partners’ role. I know Steven will really struggle with labour because he hates seeing me in pain so having techniques where he can actively help me will make us both feel better. We learned about different positions for giving birth in that I can try, and some of which requires Steven to physically support me, which I love as feels as though we are both a part of the birth. There are breathing exercises that he can lead on to keep me calm, and the partners were also taught how to advocate for us while we are concentrating on pushing the baby out - asking the right questions etc.
As a bonus for the course I was on, we did some Rebozo which is a really nice Mexican technique that really helps ease discomfort before and during labour. We have been doing bits of this recently when my back and hips are really sore and it’s a great relief! We also cover aromatherapy for childbirth, which oils are safe, what they do and how to use them and I know that will be a big help for me.
We looked at creating positive affirmation bunting for at home in the lead up to the birth so that we get in the right mindset and also what we need to pack to use at home and in the hospital.
We covered myths and facts, different stages of labour and words that we had heard but didn’t understand. I can’t even tell you how amazing I felt after the two sessions. I am anxious about everything but birth I am excited for! I understand more about how my body works and the process of birth, and Steven now knows how he can best support me.
I would really recommend it to everyone. I don't think I’m going to have a pain-free birth, but I do feel empowered to have the birth I want and bring baby W into the world feeling strong and happy and full of love.
Let’s see how this goes!