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.
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.
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! ❤️