Emily Bray is a hypnobirthing teacher and doula. We asked her to share more about how hypnobirthing can benefit during and after labour.
If you’re reading this and you are pregnant – congratulations! Maybe you are due to give birth soon and wondering if it’s too late to do some birth preparation (it’s never too late!) or you are earlier in your pregnancy and deciding on which book to read, which website to browse or what antenatal course to choose.
As a hypnotherapist and doula, I encourage you to really consider what you want from an antenatal course. For some, making friends is a big priority; having parent friends is brilliant as they will form part of your ‘village’, a crucial part of feeling connected and nourished in the fourth trimester and beyond. But in addition to this, ask yourself – how do you want the course to prepare you for birth? How will it prepare your birth partner? How do you want to feel during and after the birth of your baby? And will it equip you with decision making tools?
Hypnobirthing has become a bit of a buzz word in recent years, with Kate Middleton describing it as ‘hugely powerful’.
So what actually is Hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing works on the principle that the more calm and safe the birthing person feels in labour, the more their essential birth hormones are able to work effectively. This is vitally important as it minimises the body’s protective hormone adrenaline which, if triggered by stress or fear can stall or slow labour, interrupting lots of bodily functions in a bid to protect parent and baby.
Let’s break it down…
“Hypno”- refers to the use of hypnotherapy techniques to help let go of fears, relieve pregnancy anxiety and remain calm. This reduces stress and tension and in turn minimises the sensations of pain.
“Birthing” – involves learning everything you need to know about giving birth. Ideally you should look for a comprehensive antenatal course covering all of your options, birth physiology, massage, breathing techniques and some postnatal planning as well.
What are the benefits?
Clinical research shows that using hypnobirthing techniques in childbirth results in reduced sensation of pain, shorter labour and less intervention.
Whilst this research is important, it is the emotional benefits of a positive birth experience that have a lasting impact. Hypnobirthing provides you with tools and techniques that will help you well beyond the birth: I believe it’s important for people to have a positive birth experience no matter where or how you birth your baby.
Is Hypnobirthing for one type of birth?
There is a misconception that hypnobirthing is for one type of birth – typically home or water births. However, hypnobirthing helps you to feel empowered in your decision making, feel confident approaching birth and calm during the birth, no matter where or how your baby is born. The techniques used in hypnobirthing will help whatever type of birth you anticipate and can be invaluable if you have unexpected changes to your birth plan, including induced labour and caesarean births. The primary aim is for you to approach the birth of your baby prepared with knowledge and confidence.
Involve your birth partner
Birth partners play an important role. They become your ‘thinking brain’ and need to be equipped with tools to support you at every stage, to be your advocate and ask questions so that together you can make the best decisions for you and your baby on the day.
With or without a birth partner, it’s important that YOU feel empowered when you go into labour. Preparing your body with regular exercise during pregnancy to improve your physical strength and flexibility and preparing yourself mentally with the added strength and knowledge of hypnobirthing techniques will help make a positive start to your baby’s life.
“The single best decision I made throughout my pregnancy was to sign up for a hypnobirthing course. I could have never imagined I’d end up giving birth during a global pandemic. Emily is an incredible person who taught me how I had the strength within myself to calmly and confidently birth our baby. I felt informed and calm the whole way through the birth of our son and can honestly say that it was one of the best experiences of my life.” – First time parent
Emily offers both private and group (in person and online) Hypnobirthing courses. She would welcome a chat with you.
www.emily-bray.com | firstname.lastname@example.org