Obviously it’s not too long before our little one makes his appearance into this big world, so with that in mind I’ve been doing what I can to get prepared for the birth- the scary part of pregnancy.
(Coat from Topshop)
As a first time mum (and I’m sure even mothers of consequent children) all have this fear of childbirth. The media doesn’t portray childbirth as a nice easy experience, but as I want to attempt a natural birth I thought it best to get myself into the right state of mind to deal with little one’s entrance.
I had been told by friends of the miracles of hypnobirthing, one friend said her second birthing experience was so much easier and calmer than her first even though the baby was much larger (she hypnobirthed on the second birthing experience). And a colleague told me how her daughter who is a midwife gave birth to her second child with the hypnobirthing techniques she learnt from her first birth and on entering the hospital was actually 9cm dilated without realising it! Her first birth was a breeze as well.
So with those examples in mind I knew as soon as I got pregnant I wanted to give hypnobirthing a try and I booked onto a hypnobirthing course at the hospital I’m due to deliver in.
There are hypnobirthing courses all over the UK and no doubt abroad, just do a quick google search and you’ll come up with something. These courses are designed to help you understand what will happen with your body during child-birth and how to deal with it with as little intervention as possible.
The name ‘hypnobirthing’ conjours up images of being hypnotised but that’s not the case.
During the course I was taught relaxation techniques, the correct way to breathe throughout the ‘surges’ (the word contraction isn’t used as it has a negative association). And we were encouraged to understand that our bodies were designed to birth our babies and we just need to work with our bodies and release the natural endorphin’s instead of allowing our ‘fight or flight’ response to kick in which will ultimately cause women in childbirth to produce adrenalin which will make birthing uncomfortable and send blood flow to the wrong areas of the body therefore causing a painful labour.
In the movies the birthing mother is always told to hold her breath and push once she’s 10cm dilated, with hypnobirthing we’re told to work with our bodies and keep breathing as the body will do all the work needed. So instead of holding your breath you’re meant to keep breathing calmly until the baby is essentially breathed out. Personally it just seems so much more serene and comforting and less traumatising.
Husbands and partners are taught a variety of ways in which to keep you calm as well, whether that’s through massage techniques or reading out scripts to help you deepen into a relaxed state. They honestly work. I get MrLondonMum to read me a script nightly and it always puts me to sleep or calms my mind down.
Some people are very skeptical still over hypnobirthing, but I watched a documentary on Maternity wards this week in Manila on BBC2 called ‘The world’s busiest maternity ward,’ and those women were hypnobirthing. They were just unaware of it.
There was no screaming, no external drugs used. They birthed naturally and quietly. That wasn’t just one woman, it was all the women that gave birth on that show. In the Philippines it’s a natural process and women just enter into childbirth with an understanding of what’s happening to their bodies. With the Western ways of over medicalising everything I think that’s where perhaps we’ve lost our way and prefer to go down un-natural avenues.
Of course that’s not to say that if you have had or will need medical intervention you’ve failed, because no one knows what will occur in childbirth. But the techniques I’ve learnt on my hypnobirthing course have given me the confidence to trust my body and should medical intervention be needed or I feel I really can’t manage I can still use the techniques I’ve learnt to have an enjoyable birth where I’ll feel more in control and less frightened. Even if I end up in theatre undergoing a c-section or receiving that huge needle in my back called the epidural!
The course is an invaluable tool, and I’d highly recommend it. MrLondonMum also felt it was a brilliant course, and already feels more involved and less frightened of what will happen. He’ll have a role to play throughout the birth which I think is important.
When this little one is ready I’m going to attempt my perfect birth with him, keep calm and carry on as they say 🙂