Does hypnobirthing really work during labour?
Since I’ve started my hypnobirthing practitioner journey I’ve often got a lot of glazed looks when I talk about hypnobirthing generally being asked what’s that? I’ve even been asked do I have nursing qualifications to do that? For women who have had babies they’ve looked at me like I’m crazy when I’ve explained what it is, saying ‘oh no that would never have worked for me’ to which I reply it did work for me. What I learnt quickly is that hypnobirthing is still an unknown area for a lot of people and why wouldn’t it be as we live in a society where normally we only focus on the negatives of childbirth, viewing it as a medical procedure not what a positive and amazing experience it can be.
Hypnobirthing can help expectant mothers achieve a birth that they are happy with and one that makes them feel in control of the situation and the choices that they make. It helps fathers and birthing partners be part of the labour, learning how to support you and a have an active role in the birth – sound good so far? It can help women not only through a natural delivery but also one where there may be a c-section, an induction or other forms of intervention mentioned or given. It gives women the ability to understand their choices and question their caregivers to ensure they achieve a birth they are happy with.
Hypnobirthing works as it educates women on eliminating fear and building confidence in birth. Fear causes stress and when you go into labour you don’t want to feel stressed as this just discourages the love hormone, oxytocin, which we want the body to be producing as this works as a natural relaxant enabling our muscles to work as they should to birth your baby. It teaches us to be able to go into deep relaxation and to use visualisation as a tool. I visualised I was lying on a beach during my labour….it was bliss! I wasn’t aware of all of these important hormones though before I got pregnant I was only introduced to them during my hypnobirthing course and I was totally enlightened. What are bodies actually work with us to birth a baby?!
I’m an advocate of hypnobirthing as I was that terrified girl from a very young age who thought childbirth was totally unnatural. As soon as I conceived I knew educating myself on everything to do with pregnancy and labour would stand me in good stead once that day arrived. I believe knowledge is power and hypnobirthing enabled me to have the tools to have a relaxed, calm and focused birth. Even when I had to be moved from the lovely natural birth centre into the labour ward I wasn’t fazed or concerned. I was confident in myself and my amazing midwife not to mention the support I had from my partner and my Mum. When the labour ward team started to prep me for an epidural my hypnobirthing course had given me the tools to question my caregivers. I was able to tell the team I didn’t want to go to theatre, why would I when I’d done all the hard work. I was able to ask what did I need to do for my baby to be delivered naturally, which he was albeit with a little bit of help very shortly after. My baby wasn’t in distress and nor was I so why would I be rushed to theatre unnecessarily? My baby boy was born in a calm environment and was very calm himself. I trusted my body and had been confident in delivering my baby successfully.
Unfortunately on the whole we do have a negative view of childbirth and it’s associated with being the most painful and hideous thing a woman can go through at times or something that happens immediately as soon as labour starts. We only ever talk about the bad experiences and we don’t celebrate the good as who wants to hear a straightforward story? I do that’s who! I like to share my happy birth story with any expectant mums who want to hear it as since having a baby a new bug bearer of mine is others parents not only like to tell you how awful birth is they also like to tell you all the negatives of parenting from how breastfeeding is so hard, the lack of sleep, tantrums, you’ll life will never be the same again need I go on?! Not how amazing it is becoming a parent and all the wonderful new things you get to experience – I can’t imagine my life now without my little boy.
So lets spread the word that hypnobirthing can work and celebrate the wondrous thing that birth is.