Let me start by saying that I was unsure about hypnobirthing. I wasn’t sure if it was for me or if I it would be of any help. But I was wrong! I now love hypnobirthing and am so pleased and proud that I decided to give it a chance. I still cannot believe how much it helped me and if I was to have another baby I would definitely use it again.
What is hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing is a way for you to naturally manage the pain of childbirth. It puts you in control and teaches you techniques such as visualisation, mindfulness, breathing and relaxation. It also enables you to feel confident in your body’s ability to birth a baby and to feel positive about childbirth.
Hypnobirthing can be used as your main source of pain management or alongside other types of pain relief and medical intervention.
Why should I use hypnobirthing?
I decided to give hypnobirthing a chance because my first birthing experience had been so traumatic. It was a very long and painful labour. I had gas and air, pethidine and eventually a spinal block, so they could use ventouse to turn and deliver the baby. Then I had a postpartum haemorrhage and couldn’t do immediate skin to skin contact with my baby. I was so happy to have a healthy baby and mummy, but felt really disappointed that he was born in such a stressful way. I was also in shock that it hadn’t followed my carefully planned birth plan.
During my second pregnancy I tried not to focus on giving birth and to just enjoy being pregnant. But as it got closer to my due date I started to think about labour and I was determined to have a positive birthing experience. I started to read stories online about other women who had experienced a traumatic birth and what they had done to overcome it. This is when I first became aware of hypnobirthing and started to look at the benefits of it.
What are the main benefits of Hypnobirthing?
- It can help you to manage stress hormones which can affect the production of oxytocin. Oxytocin is the chemical which helps labour to progress. When you feel stressed it can slow down labour and make it longer
- Reduce your levels of anxiety and fear, which in turn helps you to manage your stress levels
- It can make labour shorter
- Gives you something positive to focus on during pregnancy
- Practising hypnobirthing can allow you to feel in control when you go into labour
- It can help you to get over a previous birth experience that has made you anxious or fearful
- It is a technique that can be used in whichever birthing situation you are in –natural or assisted
Where do I learn hypnobirthing?
I was sold on the benefits, but now had to find out where I could learn how to do hypnobirthing. There are a few different ways to learn the techniques depending on how you prefer to learn. There are hypnobirthing classes that you can attend with your birth partner. These are quite expensive, but come with expert teaching and resources for you to use. A cheaper option is to purchase a book or CD on hypnobirthing. By reading the reviews you get a good idea of which ones are better suited to you. If I became pregnant again I would prepare myself for childbirth earlier on in the pregnancy and purchase a book.
How do I teach myself hypnobirthing?
As I put off thinking about childbirth until really late in my pregnancy I didn’t feel it was worth buying books or CDs because I still wasn’t convinced I would use them. Instead I spent some time searching for free resources that I could trial to see if hypnobirthing really was for me. I found the Mindful Mamma website where I read about hypnobirthing and found some free mp3s that led me through relaxation and visualisation. I started listening to these mp3s at night when I couldn’t sleep.
Does hypnobirthing really work?
For me it did. Listening to the mp3s regularly in the last few weeks of my pregnancy really helped me to feel more in control. When my labour started I was checked at the hospital and then sent home until my labour progressed. At home I sat on my birthing ball and every time I had a contraction I repeated one of the affirmations until it had passed. This helped to focus my attention and to feel in control of what was happening to my body. My labour was only four hours long and I didn’t need any pain relief or assistance, even though my baby decided to turn around and be born breech.
So will it work for you? It works differently for everyone, but what have you got to lose?
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