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What is a hypnobirth?

You may have heard the word associated with a natural birth but it might not be what you immediately imagine it is. Some people worry that the name is off putting and they will have to comply to certain ways of doing things. Hypnobirthing teaches women to have the birth they want but in a calm and relaxed manner. It also gives parents the tools and knowledge to be in control of their birth preferences. There is no right or wrong way to have a Hypnobirth.

  • A Hypnobirth can be at home, in a hospital, at a birthing centre or baby's choice!

  • A Hypnobirth can be in the water, in a bed, standing up, used during induction or surgery.

  • A Hypnobirth uses deep relaxation techniques to aid the birthing mother during labour.

  • A Hypnobirth includes the birthing companion in the labour.

  • During a Hypnobirth the mother is always in control and can come out of a relaxed state whenever she feels like it.

  • A Hypnobirth is empowering to both Mother and birthing partner.

  • A Hypnobirth reduces fear in the birthing mother therefore reducing tension in the birthing muscles which can result in a shorter, easier and more comfortable birth.

A description of a Hypnobirth from a new mum in Hove, East Sussex:

"I went into labour at about 5am whilst I was asleep. I instinctively knew that the tightening sensation around my belly was a contraction or as I was taught to call them a surge. I had a birth show the day before and at 40 weeks and four days I was quite expecting this to happen.

I managed to continue to doze on and off for about two hours just waking up when my uterus was in surge. I was too excited to stay asleep much longer so my partner ran me a bath and I got in. Kindly he had set up my Ipod so I could listen to my birth affirmations and Rainbow Relaxation track and lit some candles all around the bathtub.

As soon as I got into the bath I felt my muscles relax and taking notice of the words on my relaxation hypnosis recording I managed to effectively use the surge breathing that I had been taught during my classes. I also used the visualisation of an opening rose at this time.

I must have been in the bath for almost an hour and a half but it did not seem that long at the time. My surges were coming more regularly so my partner called the hospital. The midwife asked if my waters had released yet, as they had not and my surges were still four minutes apart I was advised to stay at home. I then ate a small piece of toast whilst sitting on my yoga ball, I was gyrating on this as it seemed to take some tension away that I was feeling on my lower back. My partner also performed some light touch massage on me during this time and some deepening techniques we learned in class.

Once my surges had been coming every three minutes and were increasing in length and intensity we decided it was time to drive to The Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton. When we arrived at Triage my surges were not coming as quickly but we remembered from the HypnoBirthing course that this could happen so I remained calm and let the midwife examine me. As I was almost four centimetres dilated I was admitted to the delivery suite.

I was hoping for a water birth but because I was not yet 7cm I was given a room with a bed. I set up the room how I wanted it, with dim lighting and my hypnosis tracks playing in the background. It was another couple of hours until the midwife said I was ready to be transferred to the room with the birthing pool in. Whilst she was filling the pool my waters released and I felt the surges intensify even more. This part was a bit of a blur but I remember using the surge breathing at this time, I then moved into the pool. I remember feeling a great relief being back in the water and the pressure from my lower back reduced when I managed to find a comfortable position in the pool.

After about an hour I had an overwhelming urge to bare down. I started to change my breathing from surge to breathing down and at this point the midwife wanted to examine me again to ensure I was fully dilated. I was and after about an hour or so I breathed down my gorgeous little baby boy who swam into the world and into my arms.

In my birth preference sheet I had asked for delayed cord clamping which I presume happened but I was so focused on my newborn I wasn't really aware of anything else. Since I had been practicing perineum massage I did not tear or need stitches which was also a welcome relief. My partner and I both had skin to skin contact with our baby and the staff were amazing at showing me and helping me to breastfeed."

All births are different and can take many turns. This birth story is positive and shows what can happen when there are no special circumstances and both mother and baby are healthy and no medical intervention is required. I would like to stress though that any birth can be beautiful and positive for both parents whatever route that the birthing takes. HypnoBirthing can be used just as effectively for a planned C -Section as it can be when Mother and baby need special assistance.

In Hypnobirthing classes we only focus on the positive stories so that are brains are rewired and reprogrammed to know what is possible during birth. We do not talk about pain relief or use negative imagery so the brain and body can work in harmony to bring about the birth that the birthing parents desire and deserve. We do not claim that every birth will be like this but with positive thinking, deep relaxation, education and knowledge we claim that birth CAN be like this.

To find out when the next classes are starting in Brighton, please look at the Courses page.

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