Monthly Archives :

July 2018

Lets Prepare for Birth the Way the England Team Prepare for the World Cup Matches

Preparing for Birth

The excitement and mood in the UK at the moment is amazing. Even if you’re not a football fan you can’t get away it. Why would you not want to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy it? We’re all getting behind our country and have belief that they can win. My knowledge of football is close to nothing but I love the excitement at the moment. Oh and the video clip of Beckham doing the rounds sipping his wine saying ‘it’s coming home’! So what has this got to do with birth I hear you ask?

I always liken hypnobirthing to sports. It’s a great way for any women and birth partner to understand it. It’s even more useful for any sceptical birth partners. I know lots of men and women who when they think about birth as sport it makes complete sense. So how can we liken birth to how the England team would  prepare for this World Cup matches?

Self belief that they can win the match

The England team wouldn’t have entered this competition believing they couldn’t win. Surrounded by a Manager, Coach, Captain all supporting one another. Believing they can go all the way through the competition from that first match against Tunisia.

This is the self belief we need when we are pregnant. We can win the race that birth is especially with a supportive team around us. Most importantly we have to believe we can as the mind in a powerful tool. Where the mind leads the body follows so if we tell ourselves we can’t do it we probably won’t be able to. You’re mind has given up before you’ve even started. It’s like the England team attempting to play the semi-final believing they won’t win. Their mindset will be we can win this match.

Everybody who is part of our birth team needs to believe in you and be there to support you.

Visualisation of winning

Visualisation is such a powerful tool. Many sports men & women use visualisation to prepare themselves for a match, race, game. Visualising winning, scoring a goal. The England team will visualise the euphoric feeling of winning each match getting them closer to the final. Believing they can win the semi-final to get them to the final against France.

Visualisation in pregnancy works in the same way. Its scientifically proven how using this mindfulness technique can prepare the body and mind for a healthy labour. Using the power of imagination helps you reach a deep state of relaxation and calmness.

Again where the mind leads the body follows so visualisation alongside breathing techniques can work very effectively. When using the up breathing, the relaxing breath in the first stage of labour visualising a sunrise for example can encourage the uterus muscles to pull up more effectively. Where the mind leads the body follows. Visualising something rising upwards is what we’re encouraging the uterus muscles to do.

Preparing the body physically

To run around on a pitch for 90 minutes at pace is intense physical exertion. Players have to prepare themselves for this through training. To ensure they are physically fit enough to be picked to be in the team.

In pregnancy we need to prepare our body to be physically strong as giving birth is a very intense workout.

  • Having strong leg muscles to hold our weight. Our quads are really important to enable us to be as active as possible in birth. We don’t want to be laying on a bed during labour as laying down reduces the pelvic opening by 30% compared to being upright, forward and open. If we can practice squatting during pregnancy a squatting birthing position opens the pelvic outlet and extra quarter to half an inch.
  • Strong pelvic floor muscles to help labour, reducing the chance of tearing and aid our post birth recovery. Keeping pelvic joints flexible as this improves blood flow to the lower body helping to ease delivery.
  • Strengthening our abdominal and back muscles to help carry the weight of the baby and aid delivery. Stronger back muscles helps ease back ache during pregnancy and labour.

We can work these muscle groups through being active during pregnancy. Walking, prenatal yoga & pilates, swimming, recommended pregnancy swiss ball exercises, pelvic tilts, supported wall squats to name a few.

Having a healthy diet

Having a healthy diet is a fundamental part of being a sports player, an athlete. A well balanced nutritional diet is important to fuel the body especially before a match. Fuelling the body with low GI foods so you have a slow energy release. If a runner for example prepares well by eating complex carbs before a race it will give the body the energy it needs for that race to avoid hitting a wall and feeling you can’t complete it.

A healthy diet is extremely important for every day life and vital during pregnancy. Eating a variety of foods to get the right balance of minerals, vitamins and nutrients for both Mum and her unborn baby/babies. Don’t be lead to believe that you need to eat for two either!

Avoid snacking on foods that are high in fat or sugar opt for healthier options. Of course we’re all allowed treats and a balanced diet is the best approach but we don’t want our diet to be dominated by fat and sugar.

  • Around five portions of fruit and vegetables will help aid digestion and prevent constipation.
  • A third of the food you eat should be starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta. Opting for the wholemeal or high fibre variety avoiding the refined starchy foods (white).
  • We need protein in our diet which is found in nuts, poultry, fish, eggs, meat, beans and pulses. Eating lean meat and avoiding adding extra fat when cooking.
  • Dairy in pregnancy is important for the calcium content and other vital nutrients. Milk, cheese, yogurt, soya milk and yogurts.

Educate yourself on what pregnant women are recommended to avoid during pregnancy and how eating sensibly can aid pregnancy.

During labour we need to fuel our bodies. If you can face a meal snacking to keep your energy levels up is recommended. We want to be fuelled to help us win the birth race! Birth partners needs to encourage us to do this as there is so much to remember during labour we can easily forget the obvious things.

Keeping the body hydrated

Is vital for everybody to hydrate their body. Especially for a football player about to take to the pitch for potentially 45 minutes before half time. At half time players will be encouraged to rehydrate especially if the conditions have been very warm. Keeping a players energy levels up through them being hydrated.

Hydration is extremely important for any pregnant women especially during the summer they need to be even more mindful or keeping themselves hydrated. Being hydrated dilutes our urine which reduces the risk of bladder infections. Lessens constipation and can help swelling.

When labour commences naturally you can feel warmer similar to having a workout! If it’s during the summer months wherever your birthing could be warmer than normal. So its important for the team around us to keep us hydrated. Sipping on water, non fizzy drinks, coconut water is great as it has good levels of sodium and potassium to not only aid hydration but give the body energy. So even if a birthing woman doesn’t have an appetite being hydrated via a drink like coconut water can help give her the energy she needs.

Entering labour hydrated means your body is in a good place enabling it to work more efficiently and keeping baby hydrated. Like many muscles the uterus functions at its best when we’re hydrated. If we are dehydrated this could mean we are put on a drip which then can mean being less mobile which we don’t want in labour.

Of course keeping the body hydrated means we need to wee a lot too. This is so important as we don’t want a full bladder during birth as the baby needs as much room to come down the birth canal past our organs. So please ladies keep going for a wee. Our birth partners need to be mindful of this too reminding us frequently. A full bladder can otherwise lead to women needing a catheter to drain the bladder. We don’t want this do we!

Regular training

A lot of training goes into a team preparing themselves for a competition like the World Cup. Training together as a team as well as working out alone. Preparing themselves mentally and physically. It’s great they know the date their aiming for they can set out a training plan to work to.

With birth we don’t know when that birth date will be. Full term is between 37 – 42 weeks so as pregnant women that’s what we have as our match date. This doesn’t mean we can’t do regular hypnobirthing training we very much can. For example:

  • Practising the breath work
  • Incorporating visualisations
  • Listening to relaxations
  • Practising breath work, visualisations and relaxations with our birth partners
  • Being active
  • Daily pelvic floor exercises
  • Eating healthy and drinking lots of fluids
  • Being mindful of our seated position to encourage the baby into the best position. Yes birth partners might need to nag you to do this especially towards the end of pregnancy when we just want to slump on the sofa at the end of the day.

This is part of the training towards that labour day or your very own World Cup match day!

So go on ladies go into pregnancy and labour believing you can win as you can! Don’t underestimate how amazing women are. Surround yourself with positive vibes and a positive team around you.

Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course? What to know more?

I offer weekend group courses at The Heart, Twickenham as well as evening weekday courses at Gymboree, St Margaret’s.

I teach private hypnobirthing courses in Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Pregnant at the same time as a good friend? I offer the regular group course price of £295 for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

So to find out more about hypnobirthing  or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

p.s. It’s coming home!

Lets Prepare for Birth the Way the England Team Prepare for the World Cup Matches

Can Hypnobirthing be used for a Caesarean?

Wondering if your hypnobirthing course will only work for a natural birth?

Its a misconception that hypnobirthing can only be used for a natural pain relief free birth. This really isn’t the case. Hypnobirthing is about creating a positive birth experience. Asking questions, understanding what you’re consenting to. Owning your birth is a fundemental part of the process. Trusting your body and being heard during pregnancy and birth. Having a caesarean or an induction doesn’t mean that you can’t use hypnobirthing.

I’ve often heard women say ‘lucky we didn’t do that hypnobirthing course. It would have been a waste of money as I had a caesarean’. This really isn’t the case as hypnobirthing teaches you to be in control. So if your birth did mean a caesarean was recommended you and your partner would feel calm and in control. Not stressed out by the being told that a caesarean was needed. Which again I’ve heard a lot of women and birth partners say that’s how they felt.

Positive caesarean births

I recently had the pleasure of working with two ladies who’s births took them down a caesarean birth route. The outcome for both was positive births. Both expressing how much they felt hypnobirthing had supported that outcome. Coincidentally these women both gave birth on the same day.

As part of my teaching I will always encourage expectant parents to think about the unexpected within their birth proposals. So in the eventuality of a caesarean they have their wishes respected from their birth proposal. This way should their birth go down that route they feel they still had a positive birth outcome. Having what was important to them. For example – skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, the drip not in their dominant hand. Its often that clients say to me they wouldn’t have even considered what they would want if they had a caesarean.

Client testimonial – low risk to high risk

One of my clients, who I started working with in February of this year opted to do a hypnobirthing course due to her fear of birth. She’d been recommended to me by friends that I’d also taught. It’s always lovely to receive recommendations.

After our first session together Ali sent me a lovely message expressing how she felt so much more relaxed even after just one session. This was music to my ears. We had four successful sessions together ending in April. Our last session together felt very emotional for me as the change i’d seen in Ali was amazing. Gone from being fearful to excited about birth.

I had a call from Ali and her husband as she’d gone from a low risk women hoping to use the birth centre to developing a rare form of pre-eclampsia. A rare form develops in around 1-2% of women. It had been decided the next day she would be induced. We spoke about how the hypnobirthing would help keep her relaxed, trust her body. Reminding them both of the techniques to use that we had practised during the sessions.

I waited the next day in anticipation of hearing any news of babies arrival and it came that afternoon. Due to my Ali’s platelet levels continuing to drop after our call the evening before it had been decided a caesarean was required. She’d given birth to a beautiful baby girl. With permission to share these are her words about her birth.

‘Hi Ali, I am still in hospital as I developed a rare form of pre eclampsia last Tuesday resulting in the c section. Our baby is perfect and just lovely so I hope I can get well enough to get us both home soon! 

Although the c-section was stressful we actually found it all so calm – I’m sure due to hypno. Since then I’ve had a lot of hospital stuff happen which I would’ve usually been scared about but have taken in my stride. Again I’m sure due to feeling relaxed and in control. It’s a shame I can’t use it to treat my condition!

Thank you for your time and the course and, although a hypno water birth was furthest from what actually happened, I think having spent months visualling meeting my baby – it made the whole experience really positive.

Interestingly several midwives came to see me regarding the birth. They had all read my hypnobirthing birth plan and thought I may be very disappointed/get the baby blues as it wasn’t what I wanted. I actually feel really happy about Lexie’s birth and so proud of myself- regardless of the way she arrived. I think hypnobirthing has just made me believe that I grew a healthy baby, my body did the best it could and in the end there was no alternative.

Ali’s words in her final paragraph are so poignant as she feels proud of herself and happy with the birth outcome. This is what hypnobirthing teaching is all about positive birth experiences.

Client testimonial – breech position

I started working with Louise at 36 weeks. Louise was considered high risk throughout her pregnancy having gestational diabetes being one of the reasons. As she was high risk she was unable to use the natural birth centre at her local maternity unit West Middlesex Hospital.

Louise still wanted to have the most natural approach to her birth regardless of the interventions she knew she was highly likely to come up against due to medical reasons. She knew about hypnobirthing from her sister and wanted to incorporate it into her birth. We spoke at length about how hypnobirthing can be successfully used for induction and caesarean. I wanted Louise & Edd to feel as prepared as possible for either of these birth outcomes therefore tailoring the course for their needs.

Due to the baby being in breech presentation and Louise knowing due to her circumstances that it wasn’t advisable for her to go beyond 40 weeks in her pregnancy Louise had elected to have an ECV (external cephalic version) at 37 weeks. This is to try and turn the baby into a head down position. We spoke how the breath work, visualisations and relaxations could help Louise during this procedure.

Louise had also been trying all the recommended natural approaches too. Moxibustion, accupuncture, yoga, exercises, inversions and now her hypnobirthing techniques. Babies will choose the best position for them. So for some being in a breech position is the right position.

Thankfully West Middlesex were able to support Louise with their caseloading Daisy team midwifes. Caseloading means they aim to provide care with the same midwife throughout a woman’s pregnancy – pre and post natally. Evidence shows that women who have consistency of care during pregnancy have more positive birth experiences. Therefore this team were able to support Louise through her choices and reassure her.

After the ECV at 37 weeks didn’t work, Louise was booked in at 38.5 weeks to repeat the procedure. This time if the procedure worked she would then be induced or taken in for a caesarean. I had spoken to Louise before her ECV so i awaited her news. I was delighted when I received news of her beautiful baby boy arriving. With permission to share her words and wonderful photograph.

‘Introducing our baby boy, who arrived yesterday morning. Determined to enter the world bottom-first, he was born via elective c-section which was a very relaxed affair. He was born at 38.5 weeks and weighs in at 8lb 7oz so I think he is fully cooked. We’re all pretty tired but he seems quite chilled about life so far. He is amazing! Xx

This photo pretty much sums up the c-section vibe. Your support and advice was central to making it this way, thank you so much! Xx’

The imagine Louise sent me and is featured on this blog spoke a thousand words. This family looked completely relaxed having skin to skin. Not stressed, anxious or upset by the birth outcome. Such a positive birth experience even though it wasn’t they way Louise had originally imagined it to be. Given Louise and I met at 36 weeks she then had her baby at 38.5 weeks. Within 2.5 weeks her mindset had changed about how birth could be.

There is also another beautiful picture of Edd having skin to skin posted by the Daisy team.

Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course? What to know more?

I offer weekend group courses at The Heart, Twickenham as well as evening weekday courses at Gymboree, St Margaret’s.

I teach private hypnobirthing courses in Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Pregnant at the same time as a good friend? I offer the regular group course price of £295 for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

So to find out more about hypnobirthing  or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

Can Hypnobirthing be used for a Caesarean?