For the past two weeks my husband and I have been attending Hypnobirthing classes.
Last time, we attended a traditonal antenatal and I didn’t feel I got much more out of it than what I had already read. At the time hynobirthing was a private course costing about £300 (from memory). We couldn’t afford that.
This time, the NHS are offering it for free so I jumped on it. My husband wasnt’t sure he wanted to go as it all sounds a bit hippy to him. My midwife said it is for me and my birthing partner so he has to attend.
We were required to buy the book for £10, download the music and bring a birthing (gym) ball.
Our course was split over two days and was delivered by a local community midwife that has been in the profession for years. She covers shifts at our local hospital, so was very famillar with the wards we would be using.
We started with an introduction to hypnobirth to help us understand what the course will cover and manage our expectations.
We then did some exercises to understand the power of the mind and the use of language to influence our feelings. On a white board we came up with positive language for labour to replace negative words:
We then were taught surge breathing and how to break the Stress Tension Pain cycle. This lead to understanding the hormones are bodies produce in response to situations and those that help labour and those that are counter productive.
After lunch, we covered the different phases of labour and what to do to help our body be most effective at each stage.
We then learnt another breathing technique called ’J’ breathing which helps to move the baby down and out.
We watched some videos of women ’breathing’ their babies out and making it look very easy. I got very emotional as it brought back the feeling when my son was first placed in my arms.
We ended by covering the benefits of delayed cord clamping which is when you wait until the pulsating stops – it is usually only takes a few extra minutes. We covered the different methods of delivering the placenta and told why the vitamin K injection is important.
We covered how gravity is our friend. It is very important to keep moving in labour and stay upright as this helps move the baby down. We were shown why a bed birth is not the optimum method.
To use gravity, use:
- A floor mat
- A bean bag
- A birth ball
- A birthing stool
- Rebozo (a scarf)
We we’re shown some good positions and how to use a scarf to move the baby. The techniques had names like ’shaking the apples’.
We then discussed the best position for baby. You want them head down, at the front (anterior) and on the left. The midwife used a skeleton diaphragm and doll to show us why. We were told babies move clockwise. Then she showed us some techniques to move baby into this optimum position.
We then did more breathing exercises and relaxation on mats to scripts read by our partners. Our partners we’re taught how to calm us if we are getting stressed and signs to look for. They were shown some massage techniques to help and we covered the power of touch.
We watched a video showing a supportive birthing partner to see the impact they have to improving the experience.
The midwife covered the other resources available to us at the hospital including other pain relief methods. She encouraged us that they are there if we need it and not to rule something out or be disappointed if our plans change.
We discussed resources to improve our environment and increase our oxytocin.
She told us about golden hour and the benefits of it. This when the baby has just been born and has skin to skin contact and often supports breast feeding (you can still do it with a bottle). It helps with bonding. If the mother needs medical attention, the father/birth partner can do this. Sometimes, it’s not possible if the baby needs medical attention.
I really enjoyed the course and got a lot more out of it than I expected.
Firstly, it was brilliant quality time with my man. We were both so relaxed afterwards, it felt like we’d been on holiday.
Secondly, the course made me feel empowered and prepared for labour. I feel excited about labour rather than afraid it will hurt or could go wrong. I’m focussed on the positive affirmations.
Thirdly, I liked how informative it was and not pushy. There was no anti-talk. It was positive and inclusive of everyone. The techniques were backed by scientific facts explaining why it works (like our hormonal responses or the way a baby moves down).
The breathing has made my baby more active – she’s been lazy until now. I love surge breathing as I get to feel her wriggle about.
I like all the exercises and tips we received to support an optimum birth – oxygen, gravity, positivity. I feel my husband is clearer about how he can support me. He has written some positive affirmations to put up round the house like subliminal messages.
I would recommend giving it a go. The techniques you learn will benefit you for life – how to relax and be positive. The course also covers the other options so if hypnobirthing isn’t for you then you are still prepared.
I plan to post after the big day on how my labour went so I’ll let you know if any of the techniques I learnt helped or not.
Have you done hypnobirthing? Do you use positive affirmations or relaxation in your life?