When is the best time to start a hypnobirthing course?
The ideal time to begin the course is between 20 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. This is because it's a good idea to give yourself time to practice the breathing techniques, self-hypnosis and relaxation in addition to classes. However, many women attend later on - the latest a client has attended my course was two days before birth! While it isn't ideal to leave it this late, you can still really benefit.
Is it only for drug-free, intervention-free or straightforward birth?
You can use hypnotherapy no matter what type of birth you have. Whether you are wanting a home birth with no drugs, or a planned c section in hospital, an epidural, no matter what - hypnobirthing techniques can help you. It is about helping you gain a sense of control where possible, & adapt better to any deviation in birth plan. You are equipped with skills to calm, relax & empower, no matter what path your birth takes.
Can it promise a pain-free birth?
No, this is not the aim of hypnosis for birth. Women can have much less pain in labour when they use hypnosis. However, we are not aiming for a pain-free birth, we are aiming to use techniques which will enable you to remain calm, in control, more comfortable and help your body flow through labour. These techniques enable you to deal better with however your labour may go. Some women, myself included, will still say it was painful, though they cope far better with the pain when they have good techniques to manage it.
My partner does not want to attend, or is unable to attend, can I still do a course?
You can attend without a birth partner. Some women do not have a birth partner, or their partner is unable to attend - this is fine. All of the course can be adapted for you to use on your own. However, if your birth partner can attend, they have much to gain from this. They almost always end up loving the course. As Jo ( client from a recent course ) told me:
"My partner came along to one of the sessions and was sceptical and thought it was a load of rubbish! His opinion has completely changed, he has seen me give birth so peacefully and thinks hypnobirthing is fantastic! Xx "
Partners leave the course with a virtual toolbox of easy to use techniques enabling them to help make your birth better for the both of you. As one Dad recently said - "I can't imagine going into labour with my wife now and not knowing this stuff - this will make my role so much easier."
Will I be aware of what is going on during birth if I use hypnosis - will I be in a trance?
Do I need to be in hypnosis the entire labour?
When listening to an MP3 at home, or during a hypnosis session with a therapist, some people drift off into deep relaxation and just feel as though they are in a daydream-like state - similar to when just about to fall asleep. Some people feel as though they have been asleep, but you will always be aware. You may not feel like interacting with the sounds and other things going on in your environment, it's more pleasant to just drift - but if you needed to come back to normal awareness for any reason - you would! During labour, you can either listen to MP3 downloads to help relax you, or you can use the self-hypnosis techniques. You don't need to be in a state of hypnosis throughout labour - rather this is a technique you can dip in and out of as you wish, similar to relaxation techniques. During the birth, you will be fully aware and able to communicate normally.
How do I know your class is for me?
I have been teaching Hypnobirthing since 2013, and in that time have helped many women & birth partners have a better birth experience. I have used these techniques for one of my own labours and understand how much of a difference this can make. I have had four babies of my own and know how overwhelming pregnancy, labour & birth can be. I teach my classes in a very realistic, honest and down to earth style. I always try to make sure everyone attending gets what they need from it. I have no set ideas of how your birth should be, or what your choices should be, I simply work with you to your own needs - providing you with the tools and support you need to make your own birth choices. If you like the sound of my approach - then this is for you!
What if it doesn't work?
This depends on what you expect to happen for it to have "worked".
It is a myth that if you experience pain or need intervention in labour, that hypnosis hasn't worked. What happens is we work together to equip you with skills that you take away and build upon, to take into labour. You have effective pain management, calming, adrenaline reduction, and communication skills and much more - the list goes on. You learn self-hypnosis to be able to take yourself into a deeply relaxed state in any situation - not just birth. You really gain so much from this, that no matter how your birth goes - it has helped you in some way!
What if I need a c section?
If you have a c section, hypnobirthing can help so much in these circumstances, allowing you to feel calm in a situation that could be quite scary. If you are having a planned c section, we can do a specific workshop/class focusing on c section so you are fully prepared. If you are having an emergency or unplanned c section, the techniques you have practised before birth can easily be used in this situation. Knowing what questions to ask, having valuable easy to use mind calm and relaxation techniques can help you make c section a positive experience. See here to read about how this can help.
What is Hypnobirthing & how does it work?
Hypnosis helps deal with fear, overcome any anxiety associated with pregnancy and labour, increase self-confidence and trust in your body’s natural ability to give birth. Using and applying hypnosis techniques can therefore greatly reduce, if not eliminate the fear and tension which can lead to worsened pain during the birthing process.
Through hypnosis (similar to guided visualisation) you have the opportunity to "experience" a calm natural birth over and over again in your mind. In this way, once the actual birth begins, your body is familiar and comfortable with the rehearsed responses and so reacts accordingly. You will be aware of your body's contractions and will flow through the sensations using deep relaxation, breathing and your body's natural painkillers (endorphins). By reducing the fear and anxiety, tension is reduced in the body, and so pain is lessened. Without all the adrenalin and fear, the body is more able to get on with the job of labour. Hypnotherapy can give you the ability to achieve deep levels of relaxation, understand the stages of labour, how to work with your body in all the stages, allowing you to overcome any anxieties and change your perception of birth.
Is this recognised by medical staff, will the midwives be on board with this?
Many midwives have now trained to teach hypnosis for birth themselves, as they recognise the many benefits women, partners, and babies gain. Many hypnobirthing teacher training courses are also accredited by Royal College of Midwives (including the course I originally trained in). In addition, maternity staff often see women using hypnobirthing and can appreciate the benefits, the feedback I get is that staff usually support my clients.
Can I just youtube it and read a book?
This will give you an education on the techniques. Lots of women have used just a book and MP3/Youtube with good effect. However, attending a class will give you many more practical techniques to use on the day and beyond. I also teach lots of techniques on the course that are best taught face to face, and can provide you with ways to make this work for you, adapting it to your unique personality style and situation. It will also give your birth partner the skills to use for you & them. Attending a face to face course will also give you chance to work on any particular fear or anxieties with an experienced therapist specialising in anxiety. I am trained in lots of up to date techniques as well as hypnobirthing and can adapt this to your needs and therefore you gain lots more by working with me. I am also there at the end of the phone anytime you need further help.
Do I need to attend the full course?
We can discuss what you want/need and tailor a package to suit you, your budget and your time. Whether this is a full day, half-day or hourly sessions - I can find something to suit you. I don't believe in the standard one size fits all approach!