When you are awaiting your baby’s arrival it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the things you will need for the baby. The cot, the pram, the nappies… There are so many ‘things’ that you are looking for so you can give your baby the best start. What often gets left out of the preparations is ‘childbirth education’.
We all know the old adage “knowledge is power”. Preparing for birth gives you the knowledge to have an empowering birth. This is important because your birth experience can really set the tone for the start of your life with your new baby. Negative and traumatic birth experiences can have a lasting impact on your health and wellbeing.
It’s important to choose a childbirth education program that resonates with you. Hypnobirthing is a great option if you are seeking an empowering and positive childbirth education program that prepares you for whatever turn your birthing may take.
The first time I got pregnant I was terrified of labour and birth. I had been conditioned to fear birth by what I saw on TV and movies. I was bombarded with the horror stories of friends, family, and even strangers. Is there any wonder that I had no faith in my body’s ability to birth? Yet I was just as terrified by the prospect of an epidural. Something had to give. One day I came across the term ‘hypnobirthing’ in the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” There was a very short paragraph but it was enough to pique my interest. I found a course near my workplace in Michigan, USA.
The course helped me overcome my fears about birth. I also learned techniques to manage pain naturally during birth. By the time I completed my course I was no longer terrified. I was actually looking forward to birth. When the time came, I was so calm that a nurse asked when I had my epidural and couldn’t believe it when she was told that I hadn’t been given one. Nurses monitored my contractions, which was the only way they knew I was having them. I imagine they saw a pattern that led them to believe that I was close to birth so they sent for the obstetrician. She was surprised to find me ‘ready to push’ when she examined me. She rushed to change into her hospital scrubs and before I knew it, my daughter had been born. I describe that birth as pain free. Prior to getting into hypnosis I had pain in my lower back that was quite significant but once I went into my birthing body all I can describe is feeling pressure once my daughter crowned.
With hypnobirthing I was able to overcome my fears and condition my mind to prepare for a birth without the excruciating pain that I once expected to have. This birth experience changed my life for the better. I continued to use the skills that I gained in the course to overcome anxiety in other situations. In the course I learned the power of affirmations and visualisation. I learned self-hypnosis techniques, breathing techniques, and deep relaxation techniques that continue to serve me. The course was a wonderful investment not only for my birth but for life.
At this point, you are probably wondering what hypnobirthing is.
Hypnobirthing is a method of childbirth preparation and a birthing philosophy with a focus on empowering you and your birth partner so you can have a calm, gentle, positive birth experience. Hypnobirthing helps you to use the power of your mind to overcome fears, relax deeply, and have an empowering birth.
Many people wonder about the hypnosis side of hypnobirthing. In reality, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis and you will remain in total control of your mind throughout hypnobirthing. The hypnosis aspect of the program refers to teaching you and your partner hypnotherapy processes for releasing fears and for conditioning your mind to release your body’s natural endorphins during birth.
Hypnobirthing can help you by providing knowledge about the natural birth process, and encouraging you and your birth partner to trust in the wisdom of your body during birth. Hypnobirthing also helps you maximise and take advantage of the natural release of endorphins during birth. These naturally occurring body chemicals are many times more potent than morphine.
Like me, you may have fear and negative expectations about birth due to the many TV shows, movies, and horror stories that are shared in our culture. Hypnobirthing provides a different perspective; in helping you to release fears and draw upon the advantages of deep relaxation techniques. It is important to release your fears around birth, as fear causes tension in the body – particularly in the uterus. This tension becomes a source of pain. When you are deeply relaxed you are much less likely to require interventions and medical pain relief.
Just as important as overcoming fear and pain during birth, is having the confidence to make informed choices throughout your birth. Hypnobirthing prepares you to have the confidence to be the central figure in your birth story, rather than turning your power over to others.
Hypnobirthing empowers you and your birth partner so that you are prepared for whatever turn your birth may take, so that even in special circumstances you are able to remain calm and work in partnership with medical professionals should interventions be required.
In hypnobirthing, your birth partner plays a very important role. Your partner will not be a mere spectator. You partner will learn how to help you relax, how to support you during birth, and how to advocate for you if required.
There are no do-overs when it comes to birth. I encourage you to prepare for this special time.
To learn more about hypnobirthing you can visit my website at www.mindful-pregnancy.com/hypnobirthing. I teach the Hypnobirthing Australia™ program, in Canberra, but there are many practitioners across Australia. To find a practitioner in your area you can visit the Hypnobirthing Australia™ website at www.hypnobirthingaustralia.com.au