Hypnobirthing – Why You Should Try It
While expecting Milo, I thought I’d try out the hypno-birthing methods I’d been hearing about. I was dubious it might not be for me; I’d heard key words like ‘concentration’, ‘practise’ and ‘relaxation’ all which just reminded me of the months back in 2010 I tried to make yoga work and instead just found my mind wandering every few seconds while uncomfortable on a church hall floor. But I was open to trying out what might lead me to a relaxed state of mind (I’m definitely a flapper at the best of times) and figured it wouldn’t do any harm, even if it didn’t help.
A wonderful lady named Maggie Howell who runs Natal Hypnobirthing came to our house and gave us a one-to-one session; it involved going through how it all might work, what sort of birth I was after (a relaxed one in a birthing pool was the aim) and also gave Greg some great ways to actually be.of.help in the labour room. Maggie’s website is jam-packed full of different packages from fertility to post natal and her/her team are always on hand to answer any questions you might have.
While some of you might be a bit put off because you’re not the sort of woman who wears a lot of tie-dye or burns incense, hypno-birthing isn’t as hippy dippy as you might think. In it’s very bluntest form, it’s just chilling-the-hell-out when your body’s screaming for you to do the total opposite, which is incredibly beneficial to progressing well in labour. We need bucket loads of oxytocin to help us through pushing a baby out and if we get stressed it can just produce a heap of adrenaline instead, thus blocking the happy hormones and slowing everything down an awful lot. It’s all basically just common sense but for some reason, with an unnecessary Mother Earth-esque vibe. I’m not entirely sure why that’s come about.
This time around I haven’t tapped in to it quite as much; with this second pregnancy in general, everything seems to have crept up on me so it wasn’t ’til a few weeks ago that I suddenly realised I best get cracking. The wonderful Hollie De Cruz from London Hypnobirthing got in touch to let me know about the specifically tailored ‘calm caesarean’ MP3 which you can download for just £7.99 and I’ve been trying to block out some time a few evenings a week where I can listen to it and practise some slow breathing/relax. It’s amazing how much, while pregnant and in charge of a toddler, you still manage to cram in to the day and so these MP3s are a really nice way just to sit back, relax and know you’re doing something towards a positive birth. The tracks (both Hollie’s and Maggie’s) focus on taking deep breaths in and out, how to go with your body and trust what it’s doing and essentially, channel your mind somewhere else. There’s lots of relaxing music, wave sounds and more often than not you’ll find yourself completely zoning out and feeling a bit nappy. Not exactly what’s meant to happen but really bloomin’ nice nonetheless. I’m almost certain I’m going to swap out music in the operating theatre and listen to Hollie’s dulcet tones instead actually; because while I’m not feeling too apprehensive about the surgery at the moment, I can imagine on the day I’ll be quite tense so it’ll be fab to feel reassured while I lay there. Also, giving birth last time I played George Ezra’s album and now I can’t listen to it without feeling vaguely nauseous.
Hypnobirthing actually had me looking forward to labour day, which I think is huge as a relatively young, first time mum. I wasn’t in the least bit nervous, felt well equipped to go with it once it came and most importantly, Greg didn’t feel like a fish out of water either. One technique in particular (‘Shaky Apples’) is something we still talk about and made me feel so much better when my waters had broken and I was having a bit of a difficult time at the hospital. Shaky Apples involves your birthing partner vigorously rubbing your thighs and bum cheeks whenever a contraction hits and honestly, it helps SO much. Even if you take nothing else from this blog post, I hugely recommend giving this a go when the pain amps up, it’s so relieving and I know Greg felt happy that he could do something which didn’t leave me wanting to punch him on the penis.
So, please feel free to fire over any questions you might have about hypnobirthing if you’re interested in giving it a whirl but not sure where to start! I’ll be more than happy to try to answer them. Both of these women are who I’d recommend so check out their websites and see if you think it might suit you. And genuinely, you’ve got nothing to lose just by giving it a go and it might massively change your mindset. We all deserve to have the most relaxing of labours but very often this isn’t the case (I speak from experience). Despite everything that went wrong when I gave birth to Milo there were points where I felt much calmer and much more in control, purely because I had some techniques to help me cope when things were going awry, this could be the same for you too. Lastly, if you’re just dipping in to hypnobirthing and wanting to laugh every time the track starts up; do NOT be put off. It takes a long old time for some of us to listen to another woman talk in a sexy voice while waves crash in the background and get used to it; it’s perfectly normal to want to giggle. But soon enough, you’ll go from HAHAHA to ‘ah, time to relax’ and it’ll all be worth it. Pinky promise.