Author: Katharine Graves - Founder of KG Hypnobirthing author of the international best seller, The Hypnobirthing Book.
What is Hypnobirthing?
The word hypnobirthing is a generic term that covers a wide range of antenatal courses which, as well as providing the traditional techniques of breathing, relaxation and visualisations, go further than this in their work to release fear, which may range from low level stress about the unknown to extreme tokophobia (fear of childbirth). However much you are looking forward to having your baby, you will almost inevitably have seen dramas on TV and in the movies of women screaming and writhing around in agony during labour and birth, and you may have also been subjected to negative birth stories.
Some hypnobirthing classes give basic information and some are an in-depth antenatal training with everything you need to know to give you the tools to achieve the best possible birth for you and your baby. It is important to select your class carefully.
How Helpful Can Hypnobirthing Be?
The people who really understand how helpful hypnobirthing can be are the women who have had a traumatic experience with their first birth, often when they have been persuaded to agree to interventions, such as induction of labour, that they would not have chosen, and then come to a hypnobirthing class for their second birth. They can hardly believe that the class will make so much difference, but it does.
Hypnobirthing always makes giving birth easier, and that’s a pretty outspoken claim. It will make birth more comfortable and efficient for everyone. Some women will experience birth without pain whilst others give birth to their first baby in only three hours. Many women say, “This was the most wonderful and empowering experience of my life". That is how birth ought to be and can be, and it is our aim that all women experience giving birth in this way.
If birth is calmer and gentler for you, it is also calmer and gentler for your baby. People often remark how calm and serene hypnobirthing babies are. They often put on weight faster and are more settled and content as, like their mothers, they do not have a trauma to recover from. This calmness continues as they grow and there are reports of how they get on with everyone and take everything in their stride.
What Do You Do In a Hypnobirthing Class?
I can only speak from the classes I teach in KG Hypnobirthing, so you need to check that all this is provided in the class you are planning to take.
Hypnobirthing teaches simple and profound breathing techniques.
It gives you visualisations that make the breathing you are doing more effective.
You are given relaxations that are profound and effective.
That is what you would expect.
In addition, it gives you four important tools:
- Effective and profound work to release fear and build your confidence
- A clear and effective role for the birth partner, whoever that birth partner is. Often it is a woman’s partner in life, but many single mothers have used hypnobirthing very effectively too
- A simple and clear practice, only 10 – 15 minutes, to do each day, and it is in this practice that you achieve the birth you want. It is absolutely true that practice makes perfect
- The information to navigate the maternity system in which you find yourself. Inevitably, there has to be a system as there are ¾ million births in the UK each year. But you need to know what the alternatives available to you are and the implications of your choices. Not all hypnobirthing classes include this section, but you will see when you do it how important it is so you can make the best choices for you and understand the implications of your choices
Make sure you are signing up for the full twelve-hour course. If you are offered anything less you are being short changed. Make sure it is a full antenatal training and includes support in navigating through the maternity system, which is designed to be a safe system for all pregnant women. You want your baby not just to survive, but to thrive, and that depends on the choices you make. You can only make those choices if you are well informed. Your hypnobirthing teacher should be there for you to refer back to throughout the rest of your pregnancy - that service is invaluable.
Hypnobirthing is logical, evidence based and profound. It is impossible to give you the full idea of how good it is until you actually do it. I know you will love it.