Hypnobirthing is something I was really keen to find out more about early in my second pregnancy after having a difficult first birth and wanting to do as much as I could to make my next birth a really positive experience no matter how it happened. I came across hypnobirthing as a technique used to help mums labour naturally and then found out it had so many more benefits such as making labour shorter, less need for medical intervention and just helping women have better births. I contacted a local hypnotherapist Mandy on her Facebook page Positively You and queried about hypnobirthing sessions. This was done such a long time ago that when I initally booked them in for July and August I felt that was such a long wait. However, that time has flown by as I’m now 33 weeks pregnant and that due date is creeping so much closer.
I had an initial consultation over the phone with Mandy discussing my previous birth and expectations for hypnobirthing. She informed me that the sessions could be done at my home with my partner with a small increase in price to cover travel expenses which lead to £95 per 90 minute session. There are lots of other options for hypnobirthing such as classes that you can attend and if you are able to attend a Confident Birthing NHS antenatal class this does have an element of hypnobirthing – I am booked in to this at the end of August and really looking forward to just having another session to reinforce all those positive birth messages in my subconscious. I found Mandy really lovely and easy to talk to. She was so honest and open about how hypnobirthing could be used to really help me have a much more positive birth. She is really into mindfulness too which is something I’ve always been interested in and this lead to me booking in the two sessions with her. I was really excited and felt that hypnobirthing as well as hiring a doula could be really beneficial to me.
Hypnobirthing: First Session
The first session was on Friday 20th July and both Adam and I were there. We went through a few basic questions about ourselves and Mandy went in depth about hypnobirthing and hypnotherapy. Adam was a little sceptical at first thinking it would be a bit more ‘WooWoo’ but actually it was really nice to get a feeling of understanding more. Hypnobirthing is all about helping mum get into the deep relaxed state that really aids childbirth and to give the birth partner a chance to help keep a peaceful environment and be able to be my advocate so I could be left to birth as undisturbed as possible.
We discussed the power of positive visualisation and really getting in my mind the best birth experience possible and what a positive birth would mean to me. I think a lot of people get fixated on how unpredictable birth can be and Mandy agreed. She said that’s the time to really focus on mindfullness and being in the moment, taking each contraction and breathe at a time because that was going to keep me in that relaxed state and being relaxed, calm and confident would help me make any decisions that needed to be made when it came to childbirth. We did a lovely, calming breathing exercise and then went on to do a the first of our relaxed hypnobirthing sessions of which I know have the recording and Adam and I are going to try listening to it as many times as we can between now and labour. I think I read once it takes doing something 16 times to form a habit and then continuing to 30 times really gets that positive reinforcement message through to the subconcious. Of course I can listen to the session without Adam but it is nice to have that time together and connect with each other.
Hypnobirthing: Second Session
Mandy arrived again at our home on 3rd August to complete our hypnobirthing sessions. There was a two week break between sessions as recommended by Mandy to give us a chance to start putting the tools into place before moving on to the next stage which was going in more depth about labour, birth and pain relief. I was really excited about the session because I really want to avoid having an epidural if I continue to have a VBAC birth so tapping into those natural endorphins was a skill I really wanted to focus on. Since then I’ve been focusing on finding positive birth stories, positive birth affirmations and trying to play the relaxation recording in the background. Everything helps to get those positive messages through.
This time we talked much more about labour, birth, expectations, managing pain as well as breathing techniques. It was great for Adam to do as well because hopefully it can help him guide me in labour and avoid him feeling like a third wheel so to speak if he has something to focus on. We ended the session with another relaxation script and I really felt myself relax so much deeper this time. It was really enjoyable and now I feel pretty good actually. I feel like these sessions really help me to feel good, calm and relaxed. I sent over a few positive birth affirmations before hand for Mandy to include in the script which I feel are really relevant to me. Our plan now is to try and listen to the relaxation scripts as many times as we can. I am going to try using them with a drop of my favourite essential oil as well so that I can anchor the relaxation with a scent. The hope is that with the scent my mind will be able to get into a deeper relaxed and calm state.
Hypnobirthing: Is It Worth It?
I will obviously give more of an update in my birth story but for my pregnancy, I really recommend hypnobirthing. It has taught me a lot about labour, what to expect and ways to naturally relieve pain. I feel it’s given me some great tools to help me anxiety and to help me be a bit more in control as well as making more informed decisions. I feel that no matter what type of birth I have it will generally be a positive experience but I really believe that I will spontaneously go into labour this time around. I don’t feel the need to rush to induce, I don’t feel the need to worry about when it will happen and I am just looking forward to the last stage of my pregnancy. I can’t wait to share my birth story soon!