In the media last week we heard how Meghan Markle plans to use hypnobirthing techniques when she welcomes the latest Royal into the world next Spring. For many, this will be the first time they’ve heard of such a thing, for others they’ll roll their eyes and for a growing number they’ll rejoice that Meghan has been let into their secret of achieving a positive birth.
I’m a real hypnobirthing convert and I believe it’s the sole reason I achieved a positive birthing experience, even though it wasn’t how I imagined. However, I know it’s not for everyone. I know some who have used the techniques and unfortunately not had the positive experience they dreamed of, but if your expecting and intrigued, it’s certainly worth a go.
Where to start?
I began my journey into hypnobirthing by searching online for a local course. Unfortunately at the time there was very few in the Merseyside area, but luckily for me some basic skills were covered at the pop up Birth centre I was aiming to deliver in with the homebirth midwife team.
But what really upped my birthing game was discovering The Positive Birth Company. The online digital pack is budget friendly at £35 and is filled with easy to watch videos and a PDF course booklet. I watched the videos three times over, once in each trimester, to really cement my positive mind frame.
Luckily Hollie De Cruz launched her book ‘Your Baby, Your Birth’ as my maternity leave drew ever closer and it quickly became my bible. I listened to Hollie’s MP3 positive affirmations and relaxation scripts daily and pretty much the whole way through labour. Possibly the best amazon purchase I’ve ever made!
Mind your language
One of the biggest changes you’ll make in transitioning into hypnobirthing is the words you associate with labour. Forgot painful contractions and think powerful surges, your waters won’t break they’ll release and you won’t be focusing on how much ‘pain’ you are in. It’ll take a while to get your head around it, but I truly think it made a world of difference.
Building your tool box
In the hypnobirthing world there is a lot of talk about your imaginary ‘tool box’, stocked with all the tools you’ll need to keep your mind in the game come D-Day.
There is many, MANY tools you can choose from- relaxation scripts, positive affirmations, breathing techniques, light touch massage to name a few. Not all ‘tools’ are required and you’ll find you’ll like some more than others.
I HATED the though of light touch massage for example – I knew full well I’d rather be left alone in that sense during labour. In fact I was pretty sure I’d spend the whole time with my eyes closed to shut out the world. I was also aware that I’d get the giggles if my husband was to read the relaxation scripts as so many hypnobirthing practitioners suggest, but I found listening to Hollie’s soft voice really encouraging and gave me the inner strength to push on. Excuse the pun.
What’s in a breath?
Up and down breathing are the heart of hypnobirthing and the online videos coaching you through the techniques from The Positive Birth Company will teach you all you need to know. I found having a mantra to follow my breathing really helped- in with oxytocin and out with adrenaline! There is A LOT more to say about oxytocin and adrenaline, but the videos and book I’ve suggested cover it all.
Use your BRAIN
There isn’t a day that using your BRAIN is more important. Standing for Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition and Nothing (what happens if you do…) the acronym aids you in the process of the many MANY questions you’ll be asked throughout labour and even pregnancy. For me, this was the most important tool in my box.
Spreading the word
Possibly the most important aspect for me was reading positive birth stories and ignoring the negative tales people sometimes take great pleasure in telling. I read at least one story a day for months on end and it had a huge impact on me. I was truly excited to experience labour, and I’m already looking forward to next time (if there’s a next time!)
So, with that said, the following post is my birth story, so if it’s not for you, maybe skip a few pages!