Hypnobirthing: what, how and why?
Updated: Mar 25
The human race has survived and evolved for thousands of years which in itself shows we've done pretty well at giving birth. So why do so many women have some fear of birth, or just hope it will soon be over? This hasn't always been the case and is linked to various reasons:
- The medicalisation of birth over the past century;
- films, media and TV programmes love to show dramatic births which are far from real;
- changes in lifestyle which don't help women adopt optimal postures for birth;
- women don't share their knowledge with each other as they once did when living in tribes.
This is where hypnobirthing kicks in by helping you go back to basics and connect with your instincts. Katherine Graves (KG) Hypnobirthing is a complete antenatal training course which is simple, logical and profound. It's a system designed to help mums-to-be let go of their fears and build confidence in the natural process of birth. It empowers you to take the right decisions for you and your baby.
Hypnobirthing sees birth as a physiological event - the same as when we need to go to the toilet - and therefore if everything goes well, medical intervention is not needed. Hypnobirthing works in conjunction with medical care so that you have the best birth for you in the system where you'll have your baby. It's useful for all types of birth, and places of birth. Even though some of the course content focuses more on natural birth, many women choose to take the course even when they know they will have a C-section or want an epidural, as they know it will help them to stay calm before and during birth.
So what does KG Hypnobirthing cover?
How the body works
Learn how the body works and have an "aha" moment when you realise how logical and easy it can be, and how prepared your body is if you let it do its work. Your body is prepared to give birth to your baby in a beautiful way and knowing how the muscles of the uterus and other part of your body work will help you understand it all.
Information is power
It amazes me to see so many intelligent and powerful women that don't prepare for birth and are then surprised if they have a bad experience. It's not their fault, nor that of the healthcare professionals - but that of culture and the 'medicalisation' of birth. Information given by healthcare professionals is taken as the bible when actually, data shows us that different countries and even different hospitals in the UK have very different rates of C-sections, inductions and episiotomies, which to me in itself is a clear message that these procedures are not always based on (the same) evidence but depend on hospital policies and management preferences. That is not to say that these procedures should never be done or that health professionals would act in bad faith, but I am saying that these differences show us that there is a lot more behind birth and women should have a say on key decisions where appropriate, and ask for options available. Ultimately, the mum's have been carrying and caring for their baby for 9 months or so, and probably know their baby and body better than anyone else. Hypnobirthing has a scientific approach to birth and the information provided is based on evidence and the latest research to allow mums-to-be to make the best decisions for them.
Hypnobirthing will allow you to remember the birth of your baby as positive experience, whether you had the birth you had in mind or not. This is because whatever happens, you and your partner will be the ones deciding what's next which means that at the end of the process you will feel empowered. You become a mum when you are pregnant, and birthing your baby should consist of decisions taken by you (and your partner). As parents you won't let people decide what nursery your baby will go to or what clothes they'll wear. So why should you let someone decide how your baby should be born if there are various valid options available at the time? It's your baby, your birth.
Importance of the words we use
Words have an influence on us (both mind and body). Let's say for example, if I ask you "are you just a mum?" Well, this is not a neutral and positive question, is it? The 'just' in the sentence is implying that being a 'stay in' mum is not worth much. Whether we decide to take offence or not, these sort of words go to our subconscious mind, which immediately makes us feel devalued. When we are in labour we are in a vulnerable situation, and words become even more important. Therefore it's important to be aware of this and make sure our partners are aware too.
Breathing, massages, relaxations, visualisations and positive affirmations
Hypnobirthing gives you a set of tools that you'll be able to use to prepare for birth so that on the day you don't need to do anything. That's right, preparation is key and it will allow you to be ready on the day without having to consciously remember to do certain things (although a list for the birth partner can also be useful! - I'll talk about this in a future blog).
If we go back to the key point that your body knows what it's supposed to be doing, and that we need go back to our instincts to allow your body to birth your baby, then why do we need hypnobirthing? Well, we basically need to "forget" some of the bad stories we've heard of that relate to giving birth, and "stop our neocortex" from thinking and worrying by giving it some tools to focus on. We need to let the reptile part of the brain take over during birth, allowing it to go into the 'birthing zone' and stay there. And this is where all the visualisations, relaxations and positive affirmations can help prepare for birth. It's all about allowing your body to relax and let it do its work. Relaxation and breathing allows more oxygen to the muscles in your uterus, which in turn allows your body to work as it is designed to.
Would like to know more about hypnobirthing? Contact me at email@example.com