How you can prepare for birth with hypnobirthing
Gina Potts (ZenBirth UK)
Hypnobirthing is a complete antenatal education programme which teaches simple and highly effective relaxation, breathing and self-hypnosis techniques. It is soundly based upon established anatomy, physiology and psychology, and helps women to give birth more easily and comfortably. Hypnobirthing has been proven to minimize unnecessary medical interventions. It empowers parents-to-be to remain calm, confident and in control during labour and birth. And it helps parents have the birth that they want for their baby.
‘The hypnobirthing techniques helped enormously and contributed to my quick, easy labour.’ – Lianne, Sevenoaks, Kent (first time mum)
How does it work?
Hypnobirthing works from two key premises:
- a woman’s body is perfectly designed to birth naturally, and
- fear and tension, which create pain, can be replaced by feelings of calm, confidence and relaxation.
During birth, the uterine muscles contract rhythmically in order to gradually open the cervix and nudge the baby down the birth canal. The birthing muscles work better when they are relaxed. By releasing fears and anxieties about labour and birth, tensions within the body are eliminated and allow the birthing muscles to work as they were designed to do. You are therefore working with your body, not against it, making birth much gentler.
‘The knowledge I gained about labour and birth from our hypnobirthing classes stopped me from feeling panicked. I am sure my calmness contributed to my short 6-hour labour.’ – Sarah, Whitstable, Kent (first time mum)
What are the advantages of hypnobirthing?
- You are more likely to experience a natural, more comfortable birth.
- You may find that you don’t need any pain relief drugs.
- It can shorten the length of labour, and you will be more alert and in control.
- Your birth partner can be actively involved with an important role to play.
- Your baby enters with world in an atmosphere of calm and gentleness.
- Hypnobirthed babies have higher APGAR scores, and tend to be calmer and establish feeding more easily.
‘Absolutely amazing! We learnt so many things and you made us feel wiser and definitely more confident about the whole birth process! We strongly recommend ZenBirth to everyone!’ – Marios, Canterbury, Kent (first time dad)
What will I learn on my Hypnobirthing course?
Hypnobirthing prepares you for the right birth on the day. You will learn about the anatomy and physiology of the birthing body, and how the mind affects the body during labour and birth. You will learn simple and highly effective breathing, relaxation, visualsation and self-hypnosis techniques, as well as how to avoid artificial induction and reduce the likelihood of medical intervention. The course includes massage and other techniques for birth partners, hypnosis sessions to build confidence and instill a sense of calm confidence. You will get tips on deciding your birth preferences, how to navigate the maternity-care system, where to find good evidence-based information to help you make informed choices during pregnancy, birth and when caring for your baby, resources for breastfeeding and more. Courses are offered in small groups or one-to-one, and include a range of learning resourses.
Gina Potts is Director of ZenBirth UK. She comes from an academic research background, focusing on women’s history, writing and feminism. Since 2009 has spent much of her time researching into all aspects of maternity care, pregnancy, birth and women’s postnatal health. In 2011, she founded ZenBirth and has helped hundreds of couples have a positive birth experience.