You’re a mother-to-be, of course you’ve got questionsAnd me? I’ve got some answers.
Q. What is hypnobirthing?
A. Hypnobirthing Australia™ is a state-of-the-art childbirth education program that teaches parents about labour and what to expect during birth in a positive and practical way. Using everything from science to ancient wisdom, hypnobirthing helps parents-to-be to rise above any unnecessary doubts, anxieties or even inherited fears surrounding birth. It prepares you with the positive mindset, effective tools and techniques, and good support that you need to birth with calmness, confidence and comfort. No terrifying videos of red-faced women screaming at the top of their lungs included! Which means? No matter what path your birth journey takes – from a natural hospital birth to an induction birth to a caesarean birth to a cosy home birth – Hypnobirthing empowers you to have the best birth experience possible.
Q. What is the ‘Hypno’ part of hypnobirthing?
A. Hypnobirthing uses hypnotherapy in some parts of the program to help you let go of any fears you and your birth companion may have about birth. It conditions you to release endorphins (nature’s own relaxant), which in turn promotes a state of complete relaxation and focus during birth. Just like when you are watching television or reading a book! You are still completely conscious and aware of what is happening around you and are able to clearly communicate with your companion and caregivers if you want to. When using hypnosis, mothers often experience time distortion. They focus on their birth and their baby and are not distracted by other people or their environment, including the environment of a hospital. Some people worry that hypnobirthing is all about being ‘hypnotised’ during birth, however, this is not the case. All hypnobirthing hypnosis is self-hypnosis. It is a complete state of focus so you are not focused on the pain!
Q. Does hypnobirthing mean I will experience a pain-free birth?
A. I would never set you up with that expectation. I am known for helping mums become super prepared to embrace all the healthy birth pain. Hypnobirthing does not promise painless birthing, though many hypnobirthing mothers do report having a relatively pain-free birth or one that they were able to manage more easily. When the cause of pain that constricts the birthing muscles – fear – is eliminated, birthing can be accomplished in a shorter period and much more comfortably. A relaxed mother’s body will produce more endorphins; nature’s own relaxants. Hypnobirthing mothers may still experience sensations of tightening or pressure, but most describe their birth experience as working with their body through the sensations and thus avoiding the excruciating pain that is frequently spoken of by women who have prepared for their birth differently. Just remember – they don’t call it labour for nothing! It can be hard work, but hypnobirthing will give you the tools to relax, trust your body and remain positive.
A. While I believe hypnobirthing improves birth outcomes, you will not be set up with a certain outcome in mind. You can still utilise hypnobirthing techniques equally if you require a medical intervention, including a caesarean birth. Hypnobirthing is about calling on feminine strength and empowering ALL women because all women and their babies deserve a positive and calm birth experience. You will learn tools and techniques that allow you to stay relaxed and be prepared for whatever journey your birth may take. You will have the knowledge to make well-informed decisions along the way so there are no regrets. I recognise that medical science is a marvellous invention and can save lives. We are giving birth at the best of times, really!
Q. Can hypnobirthing be beneficial to someone that has special circumstances, VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) or who must have a caesarean birth?
A. Hypnobirthing is very beneficial to mothers in ALL circumstances. It instils in you the ability to draw upon tools and techniques as you need them to relax and reduce anxiety. I want you to experience a calm and positive birth, regardless of how your precious baby comes into the world. That’s what I am all about; positive birthing and parenting. All birth is a miracle. Every birth is birth. In fact, there is even a Hypnobirthing Australia™ track and an alternative program specifically designed for caesarean birth. Please note that I am no substitute for the relationship between a health professional and a mother. I understand that there are important decisions to be made between mothers and medical professionals, and the safety of mother and baby are paramount.
Q. As a Hypnobirthing Australia™ practitioner, do you attend the birth?
A. Currently, I don’t attend births, the lion’s share of our work will be implemented well and truly before your labour begins. However, I am going to become a doula soon. Then I’m all yours! In hypnobirthing classes, I emphasise that the birth companion is the support during birth, and so are your caregivers. During classes, I involve your birth companion in a way that they practice and help you prepare for deep relaxation, and advocate on your behalf. During labour they can guide you into relaxation through many Hypnobirthing Australia™ tools and techniques. They have such an important role during your birth and are not helpless like some may seem to think. They are protectors of the cave and it is quite primal for them to be involved.
A. You can learn hypnobirthing any time during your pregnancy, as the techniques are very straightforward, easy to learn, and practical to apply. However, in between 20-30 weeks is ideal as you will have the time to practice the techniques before birth and reap the benefits of relaxation during your pregnancy.
Q. Who do I bring to the classes?
A. You bring yourself and your chosen birth companion. Your companion can be your partner, doula, relative, friend – anyone you feel will be the best support during your pregnancy and birth. You can also come solo (but you are never alone as you have your baby), and my techniques will instil you with the knowledge and mindset you need for a calm and positive birth experience.
A. It is important to communicate with your caregiver and to be open with your desires. If your caregiver is not familiar with hypnobirthing, do take the opportunity to discuss hypnobirthing with them early in your pregnancy. Discuss the techniques you will be using and any preferences you may have. However, more caregivers are becoming familiar with hypnobirthing and do enjoy being part of a hypnobirth. I have heard that some midwives even fight over who is going to get the hypnobirthing mother!