What is the difference between HypnoBirthing and other antenatal classes?
I am a huge supporter of antenatal education and believe that every woman (and man) should try to prepare themselves for the whirlwind that is birth and early parenthood. Some pregnancy books can be well informed and supportive but it’s important not to take the information as Gospel as everyone’s experience is so unique. Antenatal classes are a good way of getting a lot of information at once and also the chance to ask questions but can feel a little overwhelming and impersonal. In HypnoBirthing classes, we focus more on coping with normal birth and less on potential complications. Studies tell us that it is important to hold on to an image of our ideal outcome rather than to dwell on a negative possibility. We briefly discuss all the information and because it’s a small group there is plenty of scope for exploring any particular worries or concerns. Because I work in the hospital I can also go through the practicalities of the days surrounding the birth. So you get the best of both worlds!
Medical professionals are the experts in birth. Shouldn’t I just let them decide what’s best for me and my baby?
I totally agree. Midwives and obstetricians are highly trained and experienced in managing any complications that may arise in pregnancy and birth. It is their job to worry about what might happen. It’s your job, though, to prepare and do all that you can to make sure you have as straight forward a pregnancy and birth as possible. Nutrition, exercise and rest go a long way to preparing your body to grow and birth your baby safely. Your mindset will also affect your ability to have a positive birth experience. In HypnoBirthing classes, we discuss scripts and strategies that can be used if you encounter any blips in your birth journey, such as overdue babies that are too cosy or breech babies that want to chill the wrong way round! Medical professionals aren't the experts in your baby-you are. If you do decide that a little medical management is right for you, then HypnoBirthing will continue to help you to relax and cope with any twists and turns your birth might take (There’s an affirmation for that!). Importantly, you and your birth partner will feel informed and confident in making the right decisions for your family.
What about my birth partner?
It’s really important that women feel supported in labour and birth. I recommend choosing a birth companion who makes you feel comfortable, supported and confident. This is often your partner. Dads are often keen to be at the birth of their baby but usually feel unprepared and unequipped for the hugely important role they must play. HypnoBirthing™ gives birth companions’ tools, scripts and specific techniques so that they know what to do and say (or not do and say!). Guys are generally sceptical about HypnoBirthing but are usually won over by the benefits that they themselves start to feel after the first few classes. If your partner is just not down with being in the birth room or you’re a single mum-choose someone else with these qualities that will help you to rock your birth. Whoever it is, coming to each class and practising with you will make sure you’re on the same page and in sync for the big event. (Also, Dave says, it’s a great opportunity to meet and get to know other expecting parents and feel included in the whole pregnancy thing!) If you really can’t think of anyone who would be up to scratch here let me know and I can put you in touch with some beautiful, awesome doulas.
When should I start the classes?
As soon as possible. The whole point of HypnoBirthing is to practise, practise, practise so that when you do go into labour, your body will be so conditioned by your own cues, relaxations and visualisations that you will feel instantly relaxed and confident. The more time you have to practise the better. It’s also important that you get on board with the whole philosophy of normal birth so the sooner you start hearing (and seeking out) positive birth stories you will start to believe that this is how your birth will go. I recommend starting the course towards the end of your second trimester, around 28 weeks. I run pregnancy workshops and Positive Birth Circles that you can start to attend as soon as you find out you’re expecting!!