Our birth culture has often encouraged anxiety, with horror stories passed down from generations of women, strangers, friends and colleagues. The media shows ‘warts and all’ documentaries following women having difficult, painful and frightening birth experiences, where mum has to be rescued by medical staff. Drama rather than reality.
As a prenatal teacher I have taught women who will be the first in 3 generations to have a vaginal birth because the birth culture in their home countries is ‘caesarean birth is best’. In essence we have lost much of our innate knowledge about how natural birth can be, and this is where hypnobirthing steps in.
“I have to say – I think we have been very lucky with a baby who is calm most of the time, and I believe that part of that comes from the fact that we had a peaceful pregnancy and delivery, which was reinforced by the hypnobirthing course we took.”
In a hypnobirthing course, you will learn how to release fear (which can create pain) and gain a powerful toolkit of techniques including breathing, visualisation and self-hypnosis to help you journey confidently through your labour. By using self-hypnosis techniques, you will be able to put yourself into an altered state of awareness during labour to remain relaxed and calm. What makes it special is the extra insight it offers in how to use hypnobirthing in the medical system in which you find yourself. This is extremely important as the environment you are in as the people around you can make a significant difference to your birth experience.
KGHypnobirthing – support for ALL types of births!
Hypnobirthing sounds hippy dippy, and you may feel hypnobirthing is only for a natural birth, or for a certain type of woman, and that it means no pain relief or that you must have a water birth. None of this is true. Hypnobirthing provides you with the skills to make the decisions that fit in with your idea of how birth can be and, which puts you firmly in charge. A lot of women come to hypnobirthing wanting to be in control, having heard how undignified birth can be. But it honestly doesn’t have to be this way. You can birth however you want, with whoever you want (midwife or gynaecologist), and if you have special circumstances that dictate a medicalised birth, hypnobirthing can still support you every step of the way.
You probably have many questions about how to achieve the best possible birth. However, you will only know the questions you need to ask, to achieve the birth you want, when you learn about the physiology of birth and how the mind and body work together, as well as how the medical system here works. You don’t know what you don’t know but with the help and information you can learn in a hypnobirthing course, you will.
Role of the birth partner
Hypnobirthing acknowledges the importance of the birth partner’s role and gives them a specific part to play. Birth partners report feeling protective, confident and happy that they have a central role in supporting mum and baby as birth progresses. Dads talk about how much more bonded they feel to their baby, and how much closer they become to mum as they are invited into the birthing plans, owning their spot beside her, using the techniques and working the scripts with mum, reassuring her and helping her to remain calm and focussed. Dads are usually the biggest sceptics when they arrive at a hypnobirthing course, and biggest supporters by the end.
“Thanks so much for introducing me into the world of Hypnobirthing and your support these last few weeks. My husband remains in awe of what he witnessed. He was a huge help with his touch and back massages and the midwives remarked how happy they were to see such a supportive partner.”
Every woman, baby and birth is different. Setting realistic expectations for your birth and learning how hypnobirthing can support you gives you the confidence to achieve the positive birth experience you hope for. But you are the one giving birth, so ultimately the power comes from you!
For further details of KG Hypnobirthing courses offered by the BCT please see our BCT Events pages at the beginning of the magazine or our website.
By Katherine Ellwood | DipHB(KGH) | KG Hypnobirthing Teacher
This article was first published in the Summer 2021 edition of Small Talk magazine.