Does Hypnobirthing work?

First, if you don’t know what hypnobirthing is, please click here to read my post about the classes I attended.

I always wanted a natural birth as I don’t enjoy the feeling of not being in control of my body. I don’t like being drunk and I imagine the affect of the drugs would scare me instead of relax me. In addition, there are side affects for mother and baby. For me, they felt like a last resort choice.

When I had my first baby, hypnobirthing was a new idea and costs quite a bit for a private course. My means meant I attended the traditional antenatal class which covered pain relief and caring for your baby. Second time around, the government have found the benefits of hypnobirthing makes it worth offering it for free. This time I was able to go for the cost of a book and free downloadable tracks.

I feel it did work. I only have my personal experience to compare it to. Here are my birthing stories.

First labour (without hypnobirthing)

On Wednesday, 12 November, I was tired as I’d not had my nap so we went to bed early at 10pm. Almost as soon as I got in bed, my back started to ache & I started needing the loo constantly. At the time I didn’t realise I was in labour.

I decided to sleep on the sofa so I wouldn’t disturb my husband who had work in the morning. After a few hours, I asked to switch places as I couldn’t get comfortable on the sofa – my husband at this point suspected I might be in labour as I crawled into the bedroom like the girl from The Ring.

The discomfort plagued me all night and by 5am I was tired & desperate for something to knock me out so I could sleep. I didn’t think I was in labour as I was still able to talk normally. We called the hospital and I explained the pain and they asked me to come in.

When we got there, the midwife confirmed I was 8cm dilated (almost 9cm). They were confident the baby would arrive soon, I got in the birthing pool and waited but nothing much happened.

I requested Pethidine in the hope I might be able to kip for a bit but I as warned u couldn’t be in the water for that. Instead I tried gas and air but it made me feel dizzy.

I got out for another internal exam. I didn’t like the qualified midwife but thought the Trainee was awesome. The trainee midwife discovered that my cervix has an extra bit of skin preventing me getting to 10cm. I was warned labour could take longer, be harder and painful but the trainee was willing to support me however I wanted. I decided to have the pethidine. The qualified midwife told me most people get a c-section. I carried on trying to deliver my baby myself. The qualified midwife insisted I be put in stirrups so she could keep an eye on my cervix. It made it harder to push.

Then suddenly, I felt like I was on fire down there and was terrified all my holes would become one. The trainee assured me she could see him and with another push he’d be out enough for her to use the forceps. I pushed. She turned to get the forceps but I pushed again and he was out.

I delivered my son at 1:15pm on 13 Nov. I did have a small tear but didn’t need stitches. Labour recorded as 5h.

Second labour (with hypnobirthing)

On Sun, 5 Aug, at 7pm, I kept needing the loo and went for a poo, three times in an hour. This was an early labour sign with my first baby so I asked my hubby to take our son to bed incase my surges (contractions) started.At 8pm he checked how I was and I was chilling watching ‘Orange is the New Black’ but told him to ring his mum and let her know tonight might be the night (she would be having our son).

By 9pm, I was getting regular surges so I downloaded an app to time them. They were every 3 minutes and lasting 40 seconds – after three, the app told me to go to hospital but I decided to watch another episode.

By 10pm, my surges were every 2 minutes and lasting 40 seconds still. I agreed to call the hospital (the app was bleeping at me to go after every surge now). The hospital agreed I ought to come in and be checked.

I then took my time checking my bag and my son’s bag – you can’t really move fast when you need to stop and breathe every 2 mins and it interferes with your train of thought. We dropped my son off at his nana and arrived at the hospital about 11:30pm.

By midnight, I had my checks and hospital agreed I could stay. I was 4cm dilated but as my son was a quick first birth (at 5h) they thought it best to keep me in. We ran the bath and prepared the room. The music wouldn’t play on my kindle but the midwife got us a CD that had relaxing music. I got in the bath which soothed my back and started breathing through my surges.

My hubby noticed I was getting tired and suggested I lay on the bed. The midwife felt this would be a get time to do a quick internal exam. It was then she noticed I have a ‘flexi-cervix’. I was still 4cm, but every time I surged, I was about 9-10cm. She could see my water bulging and was convinced she could arrive any minute. My hubby massaged my back while I rested.

I decided to get back in the water as the warmth helped. I got back in. The surges were now stronger so my husband held a pillow at the side of the bath for me to conserve my energy between them. I felt the need to start pushing and used the J-breath to move the baby down.

My hubby suggested I try lying down as I was tired. I went to stand but a surge came, I quickly dipped back down in the water. My waters broke and I could feel the fire sensation and knew her head was in my cervix. I quickly did another long J-breath and my husband lifted her out the water.

I delivered my daughter on Mon, 6 Aug at 4:44am. I didn’t tear and didn’t need stitches. Labour recorded as 2.5h.

Did it work?

For me, it did work – my labour was much quicker and less painful. I didn’t use all the techniques taught but the breathing helped me push her out and stay calm and conserve my energy. It’s certainly worth checking out if you would like to deliver your baby naturally and without drugs.

However, there is no shame in taking whatever pain relief that is offered. The goal is to deliver a healthy baby and you can use whatever tools are available to help you achieve that. For me, those tools were breathing, water, aromatherapy, music and my husband but everyone is different.

What do you think?

Let me know if you did hypnobirthing and if it was beneficial to you? I’d love to read your labour stories too.

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What’s in my maternity hospital bag?

With my first I left packing my bag until the day I went into labour and although I’ve tried to be more organised this time, it’s still not fully packed.

My bag is an overnight bag using an old small suitcase, the sort you can take on a cheap flight as carry on luggage. I’m not planning on staying in longer unless there is a complication. If that happens, my hubby can bring me more stuff.

For labour

Hypnobirthing Parents’ Workbook: RRP £10.00

We bought this book as part of the free antenatal course delivered by our local midwives.  Click here to read my article about hypnobirthing.

Neom: Aromatherapy mist – RRP £8.00

I wasn’t sure which scent to buy so got one of each to try. Most aromatherapy oils seem to be a pippet liquid oil or roller ball pulse point. I liked the idea of a mist as I can spritz the air or some fabric. I also got their mini hand creams to try.

Kindle fire: It was a gift but google says about £50.00

As my hubby has amazon prime we were able to download the music used during our hypnobirth course for free. It will also double up as entertainment as I can read, watch movies, play games and browse the internet.

Snacks: Various

Currently, these are my emergency snacks from my locker at work – I brought them home on my last day. I’m planning on ordering a graze box as I got free vouchers in my bounty packs. I really fancied JOM Candy but it’s not easy to buy.

Joseph Joseph: water bottle – £9.00 but I think I got mine half price in a sale.

The bottle never leaks and I like the clicks feature. Keeping hydrated during labour is very important.

Scarf:  Bought years ago by a friend years ago when popular as sarong and shawls.  These can be used during labour to do the Rebozo techniques.

Stay Cool Ice Towel:  Whilst shopping for a fan I saw this and it sounds amazing.  You just add water and it stays cool for hours.  It is used by sporty people but I’m going to use it in labour.  It is currently on order as I had to wait until pay day but I’m hoping it will arrive in time.

Travel brush & hair bands: When it gets hot, it is useful to tie my hair back. Also, handy to make myself look presentable when I get cleaned up afterwards.

For baby

M&Co: Seven piece start set – RRP £18.00

The trickiest thing is guessing what size your baby will be. With my first I had tiny baby and newborn clothes. He was 8 pounds 12 ounces and fit in newborn clothes for a week.

This time, all I’ve packed is a set from M&Co in size newborn. This set is great value for money and all you need. It consists of a vest, top, trousers, sleepsuit, two bibs and a hat.

Kit & Kin: Size 1, panda, pack of 20 – RRP £4.00

I got these eco nappies from Boots so I could collect my club card points. I’ve got a few different nappies but these are hands down the cutest.

Organyc: Cotton wool pads – RRP £2.48

Newborn skin is so sensitive and you should use only water to clean their bums for as long as possible. You’ll get told to use cotton wool balls but they can get stuck to sticky poo – the first baby poo is like black tar. I found the pads much better.

Naty: Sensitive wipes (unscented) – RRP £2.95

I plan to use cotton wool and water to clean her bum but packed these just in case things get messy. They are eco friendly and only use safe ingredients. I got them in an ambassador deal (click here to learn more).

The Little Art Collection: Poppy Muslim – RRP £12.50

Mopping up baby sick is one of the unglamorous tasks of being a mum but this beautiful muslin makes it so much better. It is super soft and I plan use it for swaddling, as a blanket or feeding cover up. It’s too pretty for sick (except if the bibs run out).

Hipp Organic: Combiotic first infant milk (6x 90ml booties with teats) – RRP £8.00

I’m planning to breast feed again but got these incase I can’t. If I’m going to give my baby formula I want chemical free and as natural as possible. In addition, these pre-made bottles are sterilised and ready when you are. With Noah, I kept these in my changing bag for emergencies like if a creepy man kept staring – thankfully it never happened. It did come in useful when I left him with my mum and a leaky bottle of expressed milk. The lid wasn’t on tight and my milk was lost, luckily my mum was able to use one of these.

For me

Happy Mama: Breast feeding nightdress – RRP £11.62

There was also a matching robe but I remember how hot the ward was in November, so I expect it will be hotter than hell in August. The less layers the better.

Cottons: Maternity pads with wings – RRP £3.95

Buying sanitary products is never exciting but I got mine from My Pure. This online store knocks £5 off of you buy five products (encourages you to stock up). In addition, they have a selection of free gifts if you spend £30 in one transaction. I got a Madara face peel mask (RRP £24) and the next time I chose the PHB Ethical Beauty pressed eye shadow (RRP £9.99). It certainly made me more excited to get my order.

Breast pad:

  • Lansinoh – free samples from bounty
  • Little lamb – £11.25 washable pads
  • Theraline Mamma Pads – £9 reusable invisible pressure pads (sticks to skin and prevents leaks whilst sleeping)

Last time, I found the washable pads brilliant as they were so absorbent and saved me money or having to keep ordering pads. The only issue I had was leaking in the night, so, I’m hoping Theraline will be the answer to that little problem.

Book: Who runs the world – RRP £7.99

I bought this at FBF after the author talk. It’s set in the future and about a world where a virus has almost wiped all men out so most women have never seen one.  Click here to read my post about this book.

Note pad with pen: Various/Gifts

I don’t think I’m allowed to charge my kindle or phone at hospital (except for the purpose of hypnobirthing), plus there may be no WiFi! So, I will take some offline resources to enjoy.

Disaster Designs: Boho Make-up bag – £24.95

I actually don’t own a make up bag as I rarely take makeup out with me. This was a treat to myself and very pretty. I don’t intend to wear much makeup whilst in hospital, so all I have packed is:

  • Vapour: Concealer
  • Lue by Jean Seo: Blemish treatment
  • RMS: Signature set – Mod collections (contains master mixer, living luminizer, smile lip2cheek, spell lip2cheek and cococa lip/skin balm)
  • Pacifica: BB cream
  • Axiology: lipstick (shade The Goodness)

I recently got a lash lift & tint so don’t need mascara.

Disaster Designs: Boho Wash bag – £29.95

Whilst treating myself to the makeup bag, I had to get the matching wash bag which is so spacious. Inside, I will pack:

  • Bloomtown: Roller ball perfume
  • Salt of the Earth: Natural deodorant
  • Lucky Cloud: Balm Cleanser
  • Bespoke Aroma: Facial Mist (Toner)
  • Green People: Moisturiser & face oil
  • Concious Skincare: Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Pacifica: Body wash
  • Isla: Body oil
  • A’Kin: Dry shampoo
  • Pacifica: Deodorant wipes
  • Tooth brush & tooth paste

I’ve been collecting sample/travel sizes from my subscription boxes to save space in my bag. I also hope I won’t need to use the dry shampoo or deodorant wipes but they are just incase I need to freshen up and can’t wait to use the facilities (festival style).

Coming home outfit: I’ve packed a black nursing vest that doesn’t need a bra and a black floral maxi skirt with a stretchy waist band. I’ve packed three pairs of big comfy knickers.

My hubby can bring more if I stay longer but I’m so big now that most my maternity clothes are limited and in constant use. If I stay in, he’ll just bring me whatever’s clean (and may have to do laundry).

Coming home

Car seat: This time we bought a travel system and got the MeeGo Milano. The car seat is part of the package.

Baby hat: As it is August, I won’t be dressing her in a coat but she does need a hat (hospital rule) to be allowed to leave. As there’s one in the M&Co set, we’re sorted.

What have you packed?

Did you pack any essentials that I’ve missed? How late did you leave packing your bag?

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