fashion

So what actually *is* hypnobirthing and will it make your birth more zen?



Preparing to give birth can be an anxiety-inducing experience and whether you plan meticulously or just show up plan-free at the hospital when your waters break, doing what’s right for you is always the best option.

One approach to birth that’s becoming more and more popular is hypnobirthing. “Think of it as part science lesson, part mindfulness practice,” says Siobhan Miller, Expert hypnobirthing teacher and founder of The Positive Birth Company who has written an entire guide to the practise.

A lot of people feel intimidated or put off hypnobirthing because they deem it too ‘hippie’, whilst others swear the practise ensured they had a pain-free birth (yes, really). Of course, you can never prepare for what birth may throw at you but if you’re curious about hypnobirthing but feel overwhelmed by the concept, Siobhan has answered our most burning questions. You’re welcome.

So what actually is hypnobirthing?


“Hypnobirthing is a form of antenatal education and an approach to birth that is both logical and evidence-based. Think of it as part science lesson, part mindfulness practice,” explains Siobhan.

If you take a hypnobirthing course (you can either do a group one, individual one or take an online course in your own time and at your own pace) you will learn about the physiology of birth – how your muscles work, what hormones you produce and how the two interact to help or hinder progress in labour.

Understanding the technical side of things will apparently make you more chilled about the process and thus more relaxed. More relaxed mum = more relaxed birth, allegedly.

As Siobhan explains: “In summary, adrenaline redirects your blood (and oxygen) away from your uterus and towards your arms and legs (fight or flight mode), meaning the oxygen to your uterus muscles is reduced, and thus the muscles slow down, become less effective and more painful. Labour is likely to become longer and the risk of intervention increases. Once you understand why it’s so important to limit the amount of adrenaline your body is producing, you will be taught a set of practical tools you can use to remain calm, relaxed and in control throughout.”

These tools include breathwork, meditation, massage and mindfulness. You will also learn about interventions including induction and cesarean, and how you can navigate challenging situations using a straight-forward decision making framework, to ensure you are making informed choices that are right for you and your baby. The course also covers all the standard labour and birth information including the benefits of delayed cord clamping and skin to skin, and a physiological third stage or active management.

“Contrary to what you might think from the name, hypnobirthing is not just for hippies, it doesn’t involve being hypnotised and it’s a lot more in-depth than simply learning how to breathe,” says Siobhan. “In my opinion it’s the most thorough, relevant and empowering course of education you can take, when preparing to give birth. And best of all, it will benefit everyone and every type of birth.”

What are the benefits before, during and after labour?

The benefits of doing a hypnobirthing course in pregnancy are that you will apparently feel immediately less anxious and fearful about birth, more confident and excited for labour to begin and, as a result, you will be able to enjoy your pregnancy more. “Doing regular hypnobirthing practice in pregnancy will mean you are more relaxed and it can also boost your mental health,” claims Siobhan.

“During labour, you will have a set of practical tools and techniques you can use to ensure you are calm and relaxed, enabling your body to work as it’s designed to, to birth your baby quickly, easily and comfortably. That said, birth can be unpredictable and if things become more challenging you will be able to use your tools, to remain calm and think more clearly, making the right choices for you and your baby. You can also use your decision-making framework and hopefully will be supported in doing so by your birth partner.”

When should you start practising it and how?

If you’ve made the decision to give hypnobirthing a try, there’s no perfect time; it’s never too early, nor too late. “That said, the sooner you start, the more time you will have to practice and the quicker and easier it will be to access a place of deep relaxation, as you will be familiar with the techniques and will have conditioned yourself to relax using these methods,” says Siobhan. “However, many people come to hypnobirthing when they are very near their due date or even past their due date! It’s never too late to educate yourself about what to expect and your options in birth and to arm yourself with practical tools that will make your birth measurably better and more enjoyable.”

What are some daily hypnobirthing activities women can do?

“I always recommend trying to do some practice each evening before bed, as the techniques help you to relax and will improve your sleep. If you build the practice into your bedtime routine, it should soon become second nature, like brushing your teeth,” maintains Siobhan.

“You may wish to practice your breathing technique – in through your nose for a count of four, out through your mouth for a count of eight. As you inhale, feel your lungs and chest expand and as you exhale, allow everything to soften and relax, feel your shoulders drop and all tension release. Repeat this four times and you should notice the difference. This is the same breathing technique you can use in labour when you experience a surge or contraction. Four repetitions is how long a surge typically lasts when you’re in established labour. This breathing technique works by down regulating your nervous system; slowing your heart rate and reducing the amount of adrenaline your body is producing. This has a positive impact on the uterus muscles, enabling them to work optimally, as they’re designed to.

“You may also like to listen to a guided meditation when in bed, as you fall asleep. By listening to a particular track (or tracks), you are conditioning yourself to associate this audio with deep relaxation and feeling safe. It becomes familiar. If you then play this same audio when you’re in labour, it should induce the very same feeling.”

How should the birthing partner get involved?


Whilst my boyfriend find the whole concept hilarious and can’t quite seem to get his head around it, Siobhan says birth partners have a ‘tremendous role’ to play in labour and birth, and by attending a hypnobirthing course they will be empowered to become an active participant. “Birth partners can take charge of setting the scene; ensuring the birthing space is conducive for relaxation and birth using the five senses checklist; they can ensure the person giving birth is fed, hydrated and has everything they need. They can coach the birthing person through each surge by reminding them to use their breath and counting for them if needs be. They can also help them to relax in between by playing music, relaxation audio or reading a guided meditation script. They can also ensure everyone providing care has a copy of the birth preferences and advocate for the person giving birth if need be. They can also be the go-between, communicating what needs to be said and relaying information between the person giving birth and the caregivers. An active birth partner can make the world of difference to someone’s birth experience.” I’ll be sure to send this to him.



READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more