Imagine feeling excited for your labour to start as you are so confident and trusting of your body to birth your baby
Ruth Lyons Creator, of Inspired Birth
What is hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing teaches the physiology of birth, breathing and relaxation techniques alongside self-hypnosis to be used during labour. This knowledge and understanding help to remove any fear and allow for a calm and safe birth.
Hypnobirthing through Inspired Birth is a complete birth preparation program, between 10-12 hours in length.
Hypnobirthing is based on the hypothesis that uncomplicated physiological birth has a natural rhythm and flow and that your body and baby’s body are perfectly designed to birth naturally.
When your body is relaxed and if you trust in your ability to give birth without fear, pain is diminished. Fear, worry or anxiety, whether perceived or actual, activate the body’s primal fight or flight mechanism causing the production of stress hormones.
Tension in your body leads to pain and the prevention of labour progressing. The phenomenon was first identified as the ‘Fear Tension Pain Syndrome’ in 1946 by prominent obstetrician and advocate of natural childbirth, Dr Dick Reid.
As a result of his work he suggested women prepare for labour to reduce their fear surrounding childbirth and this to be achieved through education, deep relaxation and special breathing techniques.
Maintaining a calm, relaxed birthing environment can therefore play a crucial role in successful birthing.
As with all birth experiences, fundamentally your hypnobirth focuses on you feeling safe and supported. Your birth proposal will favour darkness or low light, warmth and silence. All so that you can leave the thinking brain switched off and not feel surveyed to ensure so that you remain calm and focused and able to trust your body.
Ultimately the tools and techniques mastered through an Inspired Birth hypnobirthing programme are designed to empower you to experience a positive birth. However the benefits do not stop there. They can be used in every aspect of life. Whether you need to focus your mind, deal with stressful scenarios, require inspiration or just need to relax – hyponobirthing techniques will still work for you.
Hypnobirthing myths dispelled
Hypnobirthing guarantees a 'natural birth'
Hypnobirthing does not guarantee a natural birth. It does stack the odds in your favour to create the most positive birth experience possible by sharing tools and information that allow you to navigate all of the many different paths your birth might take. You’ll feel confident, knowledgeable and empowered with the choices you make regardless of how your baby chooses to enter into the world.
Hypnobirthing is 'alternative'
The name can create the impression that it is a bit ‘out there’ but only if you’re not familiar with it. Hypnobirthing is globally recognised. The principles of hypnobirthing are all based on the biology of the human body. You understand how the body’s ability to birth is affected when you release adrenaline which is a result of feeling scared, confused or under threat.
You will be hypnotised
It’s common initially for you to fear that you are going to be out of control if you hypnobirth as crazy images spring to mind: stage shows with people running around revealing their darkest secret. This couldn’t be further from what self-hypnosis or hypnobirthing is about.
Self-hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness that everyone drifts in and out of all the time. The two times you’ll be most familiar with are when you are just waking up or when you are drifting off to sleep i.e. that in- between state where you’re not so concerned with what is going on around you, but you would jump out of bed in a second if someone had shouted ‘FIRE’. You always know exactly what is going on and can choose what to engage with.
Hypnobirthing promises a pain free birth
I wish I could guarantee you a pain free birth experience, but unfortunately I can’t! Why? Pain is a subjective thing and what one woman calls painful is another woman’s breeze. While it is definitely true that many hypnobirthing ladies talk about birthing in complete comfort, some ladies roar like lionesses from the intense sensations they feel. Both experiences are hypnobirths but there are no rules and no one can guarantee which category you will fall into.
Feeling scared is part of birth
Because of what hypnobirthing ladies learn during their pregnancy they often go into birth feeling calm, positive and even excited about what they are about to experience.
This massively impacts the body’s ability to birth more efficiently. When a woman is calm and relaxed, she produces more of the hormone oxytocin, which allows her to surge more effectively whilst simultaneously acting as a natural reliever of any pain she might be feeling.
Going into labour feeling calm and being able to stay calm and positive throughout starts with preparation during pregnancy. Hypnobirthing provides the practical tools to enable women to do that.
Hypnobirthing is just about the birth
No! While the birth is part of it, it is just one part. The preparation you do in your pregnancy will help to connect you and your birth partner at an even deeper level when it comes to thinking about your birth and how they are going to support you during the rest of your pregnancy and labour.
Hypnobirthing makes you take time out of your busy lives to reflect on the amazing job you’re doing growing your tiny human being within, whilst teaching you how to become an expert in navigating difficult or stressful situations calmly and with ease so that you can create the positive birth experience you desire.
Once you’ve had your baby all of these skills become even more important when getting to know your newborn. So the skills you have learnt during your pregnancy for the birth are in fact tools for life. I probably use my hypnobirthing tools on a daily basis and I can honestly say that hypnobirthing has enriched my life.
Is Hypnobirthing for me?
YES, YES and Yes
There is no one type of woman who can use hypnobirthing; absolutely every woman can benefit from the program. All you need is dedication and commitment.
When to start
Most couples start the hypnobirthing course during the second trimester of pregnancy, this gives you the time to practise so that you have established positive triggers to bring on an immediate relaxed state when your labour begins.
However if you only discover hypnobirthing towards the end of your pregnancy there are still benefits of doing the course. It is NEVER too late to learn and use hypnobirthing techniques effectively for a better birth experience. Equally the course can be attended from the start of pregnancy and this tends to suit couples where there is a particular fear of giving birth or if you have had a traumatic previous birth experience.
I fully understand that if you are wanting to attend sessions during the week using your holiday allowance may not be an attractive proposition as you will want to keep hold of as many holidays as possible to elongate your maternity leave, you may not have to.
If you are an employee, hypnobirthing sessions that are attended during your ‘work’ hours then you have the right to take reasonable time off for these sessions as they qualify as antenatal care. Also fathers and partners who are employees are entitled to unpaid time off for up to two antenatal appointments (maximum of 6.5 hours per appointment).
Please confirm with your employer
The role of your birth partner
During hypnobirthing your birth partner has a vital role in the care of you and your baby.
Your birth partner is the person you choose to be with you at the birth, mostly it is your baby’s father but it also could be your mum, sister or friend i.e. the person with whom you feel most confident and who will be able to support you during your special birthing experience.
In Hypnobirthing there is a shift in emphasis away from healthcare workers and towards the family unit. All of the hypnobirthing preparation is done in pregnancy so practice is essential. Practising the hypnobirthing techniques in pregnancy will bring you closer together as a couple. Your partner knows that they have played a useful role in how their baby enters the world. This also deepens their bond with the baby after birth. A hypnobirthing partner can be extremely supportive at antenatal visits, and is the person who helps you to ask the questions to ensure you make informed decisions that are right for both you and the baby so that you have the best possible birth experience.
AT THE BIRTH
Your birth partner’s most important role is to protect your space and make sure nobody disturbs your private bubble of positivity and calmness.
Their aim is to provide a calm, quiet and peaceful environment, keeping you as relaxed as possible. In hypnobirthing, your birth partner’s encouragement and practical help can increase the effectiveness of hypnobirthing techniques, such as visualisations, suggestions and breathing methods. It is also important that your birth partner establishes an effective relationship with the midwife.
During hypnobirthing your birth partner might request that midwives do not actively talk or engage in conversation with you when you are in a relaxed state. Instead, any questions should be addressed to your birth partner and you may also request that any questions from midwives are addressed outside the room, so as to minimise disturbance to you.
Your birth partner is aware of your preferences and will be your spokesperson. Evidence suggests that such support can enhance the effectiveness of hypnobirthing techniques. However you can refocus your awareness quickly and fully at any time should the need arise.
AFTER THE BIRTH
The ‘golden hour’ after birth is an extremely important time of transition for a new baby. Your whole being will be focused on your baby, so it is the role of your birth partner to keep an eye on whatever you have decided about:
- Cord clamping
- Injection of synthetic oxytocin
- Vitamin K for the baby
Immediate skin to skin contact at this time is important and you and your baby do not need to be separated for anything except an emergency. Perhaps the most valuable support that a birth partner gives is in the form of continuity of care. During birth the continuous support of a known caregiver gives the best outcomes. A knowledgeable hypnobirthing birth partner provides that continuity simply by being there for you. Just knowing that the person you know and love is there for you is an enormous benefit when giving birth.
Just knowing that the person you know and love is there for you is an enormous benefit when giving birth.
So I was going to be a birth partner…I assumed that my role throughout pregnancy was to be on hand to sort anything that was necessary or needed – at the drop of a hat – and I was looking forward to it! I remember being constantly curious about what weird and wonderful things I would be buying at 3am in the morning to satisfy cravings. But being a birth partner was far from anything I’d anticipated.
Initially I was unsure. Of course I would support Ruth with whatever she felt was best for the pregnancy but I didn’t quite get it straight away. Very quickly, however, it became clear that I had a really important role to play throughout.
The birth partner learns how relaxation & visualisation work along with some specific techniques as well as the affirmations – essentially a way of attaching lots of positive thoughts to the birth whilst giving Ruth a constant reminder to trust her body.
Above all else I was educated about what actually happens through birth and not just in the ‘Match of the Day’ highlights style; waters break, rush to hospital, be screamed at a lot, shout PUSH…get baby. I was given a real understanding. Minute-by-minute of exactly what the body does and how the right response from Ruth will allow it to happen exactly how her body would need it to.
We practised daily, I loved every second of it and I was genuinely supporting Ruth in exactly the way she needed me to – all whilst being straight forward too!
For our first birth when her waters broke, the plans changed! We ended up in hospital having wanted a home birth and I had 1 JOB TO DO – let Ruth do her thing! She put her eye-mask and earphones on and went into character immediately. All I had to remember was to stop her being interrupted. All questions had to go through me and I was a bit of a gatekeeper – as if no one had ever had a hypnobirth before and I knew it all!! Actually lots of people have and the midwives did exactly as Ruth had asked in our ‘birth proposal’. I think they actually made some questions up so that I could actually use my, “I’ll answer that one, Ruth doesn’t need to be disturbed” response. They were amazing!
There were a few hairy moments late on and I could tell that whilst they wanted to let Ruth do this, they were running out of time and they were on the brink of making a call that they would have to intervene – I knew that my job was also to know when to stand aside and when they recommend a course of action – that’s what you simply have to do. But she’d done it. Of course I was overwhelmed by the ‘Little man’ arriving but in that moment I was more in awe of what I had just witnessed! I’d lived and breathed hypnobirthing with Ruth and had seen her train and dedicate herself to it but to see her actually do it was impossible to prepare for.
My amazing birth partner and husband, Darragh
Before committing you need to really understand that Hypnobirthing is a learnt skill – you cannot just say “I am Hypnobirthing’’.
Time must be set aside daily to practise the skills and techniques learnt during the sessions for them to become automatic, a bit like driving a car. This is the only way of enabling yourself to focus, relax your body and breathe effectively on the day of your birth. My goodness, it sounds pretty serious doesn’t it? Rest assured, the practice is easy and enjoyable. In this way you will give yourself the best opportunity of achieving a positive birth experience, the effects of which will last a lifetime. Daily practice sounds like it could be a chore….another job to do on top of the endless list, not to mention the tiredness! I totally get it as I’ve done it three times but I PROMISE it is not onerous. It easily fits into your day and even helps you sleep and relax.
The analogy between running a marathon and birthing a baby is often used. It’s not advisable to turn up at the start line without training – in fact it would be impossible. Hypnobirthing is the same, it requires training of both the body and mind. The goal is clear and you quickly become hooked!
MY COMMITMENT TO YOU
The sessions are only one part of my commitment and I will be with you at every step of your journey whether in-session or not and whenever you need me.
The learning journey I went on for my hypnobirths was far from linear and I had a huge number of questions and areas of uncertainty at the outset. I now know that this was completely normal.
The most common question my husband and I had at the start was, ‘are we doing this right?’ and until we truly relaxed into the process and deepened our understanding of what our hypnobirth would become, these questions were completely normal. It is likely to be the same for you and your amazing journey through pregnancy.
Your hypnobirth is unique to you and will be, at least, subtly different to anybody else’s. You will have questions and I will be there to answer them. You may experience insecurity from time to time and if you do I will be there to remind you of just how special you are. I feel it essential that you understand the commitment that you receive from me. Put simply, it is my complete dedication.
I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH how passionate I am about hypnobirthing and how it can give you control and confidence and help you have a positive birth experience.
The course content
The course is flexible and each session is tailored to your requirements so if there are certain areas that you would like me to concentrate on or spend more time on I will be more than happy to do this.
I am 100% invested in you and making the course fully suited to your requirements in order to give you the best birth possible for you and your baby. It will be enjoyable.
Here is an outline of the course content:
The history and science behind hypnobirthing, why & how it works
The physiology of pregnancy, labour and birth, and how your birthing body works
How the mind affects your body and what this means for your labour and birth
How you can use your natural abilities to birth comfortably
Effective positions for labour and birthing
Understanding and using self-hypnosis to improve your labour and birth
Understanding the importance of language & words during pregnancy & birth
An extensive guide to the role of the birth partner, how they remain calm & confident and support your preparation
Light touch massage techniques to enable the birth partner to help deepen relaxation
Communicating with your caregiver so that every decision is informed and made by you for you and your baby
Preparing both mind and body for an easy, positive & better birth experience
Specific and highly effective breathing and relaxation techniques
Opportunities to experience and practise deep relaxation and self-hypnosis
Releasing your fear and building your confidence about labour, birth and becoming a new parent
Pelvic floor & perineal massage
Due dates & scans
Your options of where to birth
Creating your birth proposal and how to create the ideal birthing environment for you and your baby
What to pack for hospital for you and your baby
Water birth - the benefits, options and practicalities
The practice you will do outside of the session is split into small, enjoyable and (most importantly) manageable tasks that are easily slotted into your day. Don’t forget, I fully understand how you are feeling as I have been in your shoes.