Preparing for birth with hypnobirthing

I suppose I should start this post by apologising for the distinct lack of pregnancy updates. Honestly, there hasn’t been all that much to report other than me getting enormous (!) and that we have done a hypnobirthing course – which I felt deserves it’s very own post.

I didn’t really consider hypnobirthing last time. I knew the courses were fairly expensive and I think I had a bit of a ‘birth will just happen, no point obsessing over it’ kind of attitude – which, in hindsight, didn’t do me any favours. I do think you need to have a certain amount of flexibility and open-mindedness but I also felt that this time round I would like to feel more prepared and in control.

To our delight we found out our local hospital offers a 4 week hypnobirthing course taught by a midwife, for free. I booked on as soon as my due date was confirmed (which was lucky as I think the demand is pretty high) and we have just finished the 4 sessions. We’ve both been so impressed with the course and I thought I’d share a few of our opinions in case anybody was undecided about trying hypnobirthing themselves.

The fact the course is taught by a midwife was a big pull for me as I felt that as well as being able to teach the hypnobirthing side of things she obviously has a lot of experience, expertise and knowledge around pregnancy and birth in general. It’s been great having an ‘extra midwife’ to ask questions and get advice from. It also means she has seen every type of birth you can imagine – not just hypnobirths – so she can truly attest to the difference it can make to the birthing experience.

Stock image, silhouette of a pregnant woman against a dark sky with a red sunset above the ocean.
Er, this is not me…

Both B and I wish we’d done this first time round as the detail about what actually happens when you give birth and what your body has to do has been really informative – I feel like I understand the whole labour process a lot more clearly now. For me, hypnobirthing represents a movement encouraging women to have positive, gentle births. While you can’t predict what will happen when you go into labour, there are things you hopefully can control and having the knowledge to make informed choices is truly empowering. For example, I didn’t realise that our hospital offers a mobile CTG machine so even if they decide to continuously monitor the baby’s heartbeat during labour this shouldn’t mean you need to be bed bound; if I had known this last time I may have been able to have at least a few hours of active birthing when we first got to the hospital.

Over the 4 weeks we have been shown some breathing techniques in class which we are encouraged to practice regularly at home from now until we have the baby, so it’s second nature to us. We have used ‘scripts’ to help us get used to allowing ourselves and our minds to reach a genuinely relaxed state and we have a CD with some of these scripts on to listen to at home and obviously during the birth. I suppose these scripts encourage you to go into a kind of meditative state; this is the ‘hypno’ aspect of hypnobirthing!

We were shown different positions we can try during birth, with a focus on having an active labour. Our birth partners have been shown ‘light touch’ massage techniques which they can do as well as how they can use a rebozo scarf to help get the baby into a good position and also to offer the labouring mother some comfort and relief. They have been given ways of helping us refocus our breathing (and our minds!) in case there are any moments of panic or we start to struggle with implementing these techniques ourselves. I know B feels he will actually be able to be useful to me this time in a way he didn’t feel he was last time; there are practical things he can do to help as well as encouraging me to focus on my goals and the way I want this birth to be.

27 year old blonde woman wearing a black top and blue dungarees. Standing in front of a kitchen doorway to the side so you can see a very big 33 week pregnancy bump! Wearing a silver necklace and a white flowery bow in hair which is tied back. Smiling at the camera.
33 weeks!

We’ve been shown birth videos so we can see hypnobirthing in action and it has been refreshing and beautiful to see births which are so calm and empowering. Certainly very different to any births I had seen on telly or in films! It helped us to see how the physical environment you are in during labour can have a big impact on the way you are feeling; we’ve all been encouraged to consider things like taking LED candles to the hospital to create the most relaxing environment possible.

At the start of the course we were told to write out some affirmations and stick them up around our house to read to ourselves every day. I had actually bought some beautiful ones from Mama Pixie so I put all of those up alongside a few I have written out myself. I love mine (especially the pretty ones I bought) and I do think they have helped me to start believing the positive, empowering messages and to feel confident that we can achieve a happy birth experience.

There’s probably loads more I could say but I think I’ve covered the main points. All in all, both B and I feel considerably more positive and prepared about the birth than we did before the course and it has certainly alleviated any worries and anxieties we had left over from TM’s birth. There are lots of techniques and tools we can use to try and create the birth experience we want and we feel fully informed about the options that will be available to us in various circumstances. I would really recommend this course to anybody who has had a negative birth experience in the past or who feels particularly anxious about labour; actually I’d recommend the course to anyone who fancies it, I don’t think you’d regret it!

Just a little note to finish on as I have never exactly been a prolific blogger and my posts have got less and less frequent during this pregnancy. I’m not totally sure whether I will be blogging again before the baby is born. I will almost certainly be having a break for a while afterwards but I intend to be back waffling on about life with 2 under 2 eventually. Thanks for your patience and for those of you who do stick around to read my ever more sporadic posts, you’re all lovely! ❤️

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28 thoughts on “Preparing for birth with hypnobirthing

  1. I decided on a waterbirth so went to antenatal classes and birth centre. The classes were the best thing ever. Although it was my iesit baby, understanding the process of labour made things so easy. I have birth with no pain relief because I was mentally prepared and always thinking at the end of it all I will finally get to meet my little princess. Lots of luck. Wish you an easy birth. Let us know how it goes

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    1. That’s brilliant that you had such a good experience – I would absolutely love a waterbirth this time if I can!! I definitely wish I’d done a course like this first time round as I really believe that keeping calmer would have made a huge difference to how I felt. Thanks for reading! Ellen

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  2. Definitly try for a water birth if you can. I was induced with my first and wasn’t allowed to move from the bed, i ended up having an epidural and an assisted ventouse delivery in theatre . I had a water birth with my second and it was so relaxing and worlds apart from the first one. Good luck I hope the course helps you to have a more relaxed an in control birth x #bigpinklink

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    1. Yes I ended up on drips and all sorts first time so I couldn’t move from the bed and it wasn’t a great experience! I’m so glad you had a better time second time round, I would really love a water birth. Thanks for your lovely comments, Ellen

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  3. It sounds like a great course! I found the whole birth experience pretty terrifying and painful the last time, so if I go through it again, it might be useful to do a course like this. I was bed-bound because the Popple’s heartbeat was being monitored and not in great place mentally. My hospital started offering them free too but only just after the Popple was born.

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    1. Bless you, yes that’s how I felt. And I think being bed bound made it so much harder, I ended up on drips and things eventually so I’d have had to be on the bed but they never told us they could do the fetal monitoring with a mobile thing so I could have stayed active a bit longer if we’d known that. Hopefully this time it won’t be necessary! Thanks for reading, Ellen

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  4. I love your headscarf!! I had to have constant monitoring with H as it was a VBAC but my hospital also have those mobile machines and actually, even though they were listening to her heartbeat every few mins, it didn’t feel intrusive at all and they could work around any position I was in, I barely even noticed. Your affirmation cards are fantastic and you sound so empowered and clued up about the birth you want – I’m absolutely rooting for you darling Ed xxx

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    1. Ah thank you – love a good headband for disguising marginally greasy locks 😂 I absolutely love your VBAC birth story, it really inspired me, although I didn’t have a c section last time there was lots that wasn’t how I wanted it to be so I’m hoping for the same kind of cathartic experience if all goes swimmingly this time!! Thanks for your gorgeous comment Moosey 😘😘 xx

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  5. Oh hi you!! I’ve missed ‘seeing’ you around. You look absolutely amazing. I had a birth centre birth and they encouraged lots of the things you mention here and it definitely helps. Good luck! Can’t wait to hear. Thanks for linking up with the #bigpinklink this week.

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    1. Oh bless you, hello 💁 Ah thank you – you’re too kind, a flattering photo can work wonders paha. Oooh birth centres always sound lovely, we just have the midwife led unit within our hospital so it’s not drastically different to the consultant led ward to be honest! But yes I feel like I am armed with all the info and tools I need so fingers crossed we can have the birth we are hoping for. Thanks for having me and for reading! Ellen x

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  6. I think i must naturally have a positive mindset (pah ha ha my blogs too damn positive sometimes) because my 1st was quite calm and as you say empowering… my main worry with my 2nd is what I’m going to do with the 1st! I definitely agree and like all the theory behind hypnobirthingg and i really hope you can make it work and can’t wait to meet them!! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

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    1. Ah that’s so fab, it’s brilliant that your first birth experience was so positive and I’m sure that will give you all you need to have the same kind of birth again. Haha I’m sure you’ll have plenty of people willing to help out with the Robot ❤️ Thanks for having me, Ellen x

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  7. Oh it does sound very positive. It is certainly something I would like to try were into have my time again or have a third (haha) and it must be lovely for partners to feel they can actually do something. My only concern is mine are so damn quick I wouldn’t get time to do it properly. But anyway how fab that your course was free and I am pleased you got so much out of it. I look forward to reading your birth story now 😊 Thanks for joining us lovey #familyfun

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    1. Ah thanks Sarah! Gosh if you had a third it might be even quicker?! Although one of the birth stories in the book we got was a very speedy birth and I think they still felt it helped as it kept them calm and if your contractions (or surges as they call them in hypnobirthing!) are getting really intense really quickly I imagine it would be helpful if you can try and breathe through the pain as you’re probably not going to be able to have pain relief. I guess it can help in any scenario really, that’s the plan anyway 😂 Thanks for reading and having me, Ellen x

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  8. You are looking amazing! 33 weeks yikes…the hypnobirthing course sounds amazing actually and something I will consider (if I have anymore!) I hope they techniques all help and you have an AMAZING birth, cant wait to catch up on your birth story. You take care xxxx #Ablogginggoodtime

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    1. Ahh thanks Nadine, you’re so lovely! Definitely consider it, it’s been such a help to get us feeling prepared and positive about this birth. Hopefully it pays off! I’m sure you’ll hear all about it 😂 Thanks for reading, Ellen xxx

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  9. My 1st labour, I was given an epidural as soon as I was 3cm dilated because I had been ill leading up to it and was too weak to carry on with the labour.

    My 2nd labour, I had a completely natural birth with no drugs at all.

    To be honest, they were both pretty good methods, but, as an experience, I definitely preferred the 2nd – I felt empowered and in control – like I was DOING something rather than something was HAPPENING TO me. We couldn’t afford the hypnobirthing classes near us so I watched some free online courses (the internet is a wonderful thing, isn’t it). And although I found that I couldn’t actually think through the relaxation scenarios during the birth (I didn’t have the brain capacity), I was able to focus on my breathing and staying in control, and it went really well. It was brilliant. I really hope this works for you too. It’s a lovely way to give birth. Good luck! #ablogginggoodtime

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    1. Oh how brilliant that your second birth made you feel in control and empowered. I think there’s lots of different ways to hypnobirth and you have to find the ones that work for you -I think I’ll be the same as you in that the breathing will be my main focus. Thanks for your lovely comments and for reading! Ellen

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