For those who don’t know what HypnoBirthing is, put simply it is self hypnosis but catered specifically towards labour and birth. It’s supposed to create a better birthing experience for yourself, your partner and baby using a variety of relaxation and breathing techniques.
HypnoBirthing is becoming increasingly popular as it teaches expectant parents how to “block out”any fears/anxiety they may have and give birth naturally. When the Mum is free from fear,the body isn’t under stress,therefore, performs more efficiently. This means a shorter labour and less need for drugs!
It is known to be extremely helpful and useful to those who have previously had a traumatic birth experience. It teaches you how to release those fears and overcome them,so you can somewhat enjoy the experience more.
At first,I thought HypnoBirthing would mean I was in a trance like state but the idea behind it is you’ll feel more relaxed and in control of what is happening. HypnoBirthing supposedly has the benefits of :
- less intense pain
- less anxiety and fear
- a shorter first stage labour
I suffer with severe anxiety and the closer I got to my due date,the more anxious I became about the idea. I started having more regular panic attacks as a result. My midwife had suggested HypnoBirthing at the very start of my pregnancy as she knew about my history with anxiety, but I wasn’t interested as I thought it was just a load of rubbish.
At about 37 weeks,she brought it up again and I accepted. You can book privately, attend classes with others or do it from home with a DVD. Unfortunately, the NHS does not offer free HypnoBirthing classes. However,they can make exceptions and the lady who run the classes,very kindly,gave me one free session on my own. Most couples attend at least 5 three hour classes.It is recommended to start as early on in the pregnancy as possible, for a better result as it takes a lot of practice and preparation.
In the classes,you will cover :
- Breathing Techniques
- Labour Positions
- Birth Positions
- Massage Techniques(yes please!)
- Practical Advice
Most of what you learn in these sessions,you can use for the rest of your life in day to day situations. It was handy to have Massage Techniques covered because who doesn’t like a massage every once in a while?
As my anxiety was the problem and I only had one session,the focus was on different breathing and relaxation techniques.
In HypnoBirthing,the very first thing we learnt was to replace words that made me feel uneasy such as; “labour”,”contractions” and “pain” with a positive alternative. Labour became known as “birthing time”,contractions as “waves” and “pain” was dropped completely,being replaced with “sensations” and “tightening”.
I then learnt a series of breathing techniques that I could do both on my own and with my birthing partners. We then chose which patterns and techniques worked best for me and repeated them over and over to some relaxing music. We happened to attend the class on a ridiculously stressful day and it helped “melt” all the stress away. It was one of the best,most relaxing experiences ever,I’d do it again 100% just for the calm I felt.
As we only had one session,we couldn’t cover everything but she gave me lots of useful information packs and a DVD. I just never had a chance to look at them as shortly afterwards I went into labour.
During the labour stage,the breathing techniques were extremely helpful as I went into labour whilst I on my own. I was absolutely shitting myself but the breathing kept me calm whilst I waited for my Mum to come home. Even though I was in the very early stages of labour,I was terrified as I was leaking rather than a instant break. This was causing me to have intense waves on anxiety and a few small panic attacks.
We put off going to the hospital for as long as possible,(after checking my waters were safe with the midwife) but eventually I couldn’t cope with the pain anymore.At the hospital, I was walking around,using the breathing as often as I could. I wanted a relaxing water birth with no drugs,using the HypnoBirthing techniques.I have an extremely weak pain tolerance,so that was never going to work out.
I ended up having a fairly terrifying birthing experience.I was given Remifentanil and Gas and Air. I was completely out of it and the breathing went out of the window as did anything else I learnt because I was too drugged to focus.
Unfortunately, HypnoBirthing isn’t guaranteed to be affective for each individual person. It either works for you or it doesn’t. I believe personally that if I had attended all the necessary sessions,had taken the opportunity sooner,covered everything and been more prepared,it might have worked.
Even though it didn’t work this time,I will definitely be trying again with my next pregnancy. Not only was the lady super helpful,I learnt life long tips to help with my anxiety and next time, I’ll have time to cover all the topics.
I hope this gave people a bit of an idea on HypnoBirthing and the benefits,as well as some of the negatives. Even though I didn’t use it during birth,it was extremely useful during the early stages of labour and I learnt a lot that will help me forever!