Hypnobirthing

I will confess that I have a been a bit in denial about the fact that I am going to give birth again very soon (2 weeks approx!). So I have decided to “man up” as they say in my american company  – wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say “woman up” in this context? – and do some kind of birth preparation.

On a practical note this has meant packing the trusty hospital bag with things I might actually use this time, ordering a stack of pink baby onesies and that’s about it.

On a more spiritual/emotional/mental *in a good way* note it has meant getting hold of my hypnobirthing cd. If you are not familiar with hypnobirthing here is a wee bit of an explanation lifted from the website where I got my original cd:

“Natal Hypnotherapy™ uses the natural state of hypnosis, deep relaxation and the power of suggestion to enhance your pregnancy and birth experience. Using hypnosis, you tap into the subconscious. (This is the part of your mind that is responsible for all your bodily functions including your heart rate, hormone production and elimination system, as well as the part which stores your emotions, fears and anxieties.) To deal with fear, overcome anxiety associated with pregnancy and labour, to increase self confidence and trust in your body’s natural ability to give birth. Using and applying hypnosis techniques can therefore greatly reduce, if not eliminate the fear and tension which leads to severe pain during the birthing process.
The subconscious mind does not know the difference between reality and imagination (ever had déjà vu or a dream that felt as if it was real?). Therefore through Hypnosis (similar to guided visualisation) you have the opportunity to “experience” a calm natural birth over and over again in your mind. In this way, once the actual birth begins, your body is familiar and comfortable with the rehearsed responses and so reacts accordingly. During the birth you remain relaxed, involved and in control, being conversant and alert of the experience. You will be aware of your body’s contractions and will flow through the sensations using deep relaxation, breathing and your natural ability to tap into your body’s own pain killers (endorphins). Being able to enjoy the experience in a calm and relaxed way leaves no room for tension and fear which are the main causes of pain.”

Ok, now, before the cynic in you starts shaking your head (especially if you have given birth) let me explain why I think it’s interesting and how it helped me the first time around.

I am reasonably into my alternative therapies or at least try to be open minded. There was a girl in my NCT class who was intending to have a drug free birth using only hypnobirthing and was attending classes in it. For the record, she did do it drug free and said it was a fairly tranquil experience.  For me, I knew birth would throw all sorts of things at me and wanted to keep my options open. If I needed drugs, I sure as hell would take them but I was interested in learning a technique which might help me stay as calm as possible.

I was not organised enough to attend a class nor did I really fancy sitting round in a circle being all “Ommmmm”. I have done yoga and pilates in the past and some meditation but I am more into doing this by myself at home. So I bought the CD instead.

I listened to it several times before the birth, more in the last week as I was bored/in a panic. I found listening to the CD itself a very relaxing experience and used to put it on while I was in the bath.

The best laid plans…Munchkin went 12 days overdue and I had to be induced. Won’t go into the detail of my labour but suffice to say it was 32 hours long and ended in an emergency c-section. I did, however, last the first 20 or so hours without any form of pain relief and put this down to the techniques I had learned from the CD. I reckon had I not been induced and had such a long labour that I could have done with without any pain relief. The midwives (I went through several shifts…) said that I was remarkably calm about dealing with the pain and the visualisation techniques I had learnt very much helped me to deal with each contraction. They were very interested in hypnobirthing as they hadn’t heard much about it.

I have no idea how this birth will go but I intend to start listening to my CD again and hopefully, if things are straight forward it will help all the way through. Again, I am not anti-drugs or anything like that, what’s right for one person might not be for another. I am open minded and since this helped me the last time I want to give it another go.

Would really love to hear your thoughts, any experience you have had of trying this as it is a very interesting subject to me.

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10 Responses to Hypnobirthing

  1. mummykimmy says:

    I used a version of hypnobirthing practised by a GP based in Lytham… Like you I’m not into “ommmm” moments but I found his advice to be basic common sense and enormously helpful when it came to labour. By concentrating all my energy on breathing deeply and imagining my bare feet walking through wet sand (my ‘happy place’!) I managed half my labour with only paracetamol and the other half with gas and air in the pool. I had a 9lb 2oz baby and no stitches!

    • londonmum says:

      wow, that’s amazing and gives me a lot of hope. It definitely is something that seems to make sense and glad to hear that you were successful with it.

  2. Suzanne says:

    They baby shop I used to hang out at all the time (before they went out of business) taught hypnobirthing classes. LOTS of women who took them had successful, natural births, including two of my good friends, Megan and Robyn. They said the visualization stuff was incredibly helpful, as was the “breathing the baby out” instead of pushing part of labor. I actually have the book AND the cd and totally planned to listen to it during my second pregnancy. But then I got sick and then sicker and then had pre-eclampsia and then the induction and somehow I never listened to a single word of it. But you know, I still loved my birth(s) even with the drugs.

    • londonmum says:

      Yep, sometimes circumstances just don’t go the way you expect but as you say it doesn’t really matter. Every birth is special and I don’t regret for a second having the drugs in the end last time!

  3. Good luck ! Plans can be made but I know so often they have to be adapted, and I think your open minded attitude is important as I have seen friends become terribly dissapointed when it did not go as they wrote in the birthplan. I like these hypnosis CD’s I had one in pregnancy too.

    • londonmum says:

      Exactly, I have also heard about people being very disappointed, especially if they have wanted to go all natural and ended up with a c-section. As long as the end result is a healthy baby and a healthy mum that’s all that matters.

  4. anna – random comment – but if you want to add the bmb badge go to the new to blogging group on bmb and violet posey has detailed instructions on how to!

    nice to meet you x

  5. Cara says:

    Wow, that sounds very similar to my own birthing experience. I also was induced, and managed a drug-free labor for hours and hours (and HOURS!!! I lost count. Ugh.), and then it ended in a c-section. If not for the induction and length of my labor (and a few minor horror stories I’ll leave out), I (like to) think I could have gone drug-free the entire time.

    I think hypno-birthing, or anything that helps the mother to stay calm and relaxed, can only help. Best wishes for a safe and stress-free delivery!

    • londonmum says:

      Thanks for the best wishes. It is a bit gutting to go through all that and end up in a c-section but I think we both get an A for effort! Let’s see what this time goes like. Hope things are good with you!

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