Childbirth is a hugely personal experience and everyone has something different to say about it. Some have very traumatic experiences. Others have very empowering experiences. Everyone who goes through childbirth has a life changing experience.
All the medical advances that we have to keep women and their babies as safe as possible before, during and after labour are fantastic. However, many women find that combining them with holistic ways of preparing mind and body for the experience allows them to feel more empowered about what is either going to happen, is happening or has just happened.
Here we talk to one mum about the reasons she felt empowered by preparing for childbirth using hypnotherapy…
In essence, hypnobirthing is a way of psychologically and emotionally preparing the body and mind for childbirth. It’s a multifaceted approach that incorporates language, breathing, and mind preparation before you into labour.
The purpose of it is to train yourself to stay calm, help keep muscles relaxed and, as a result, not to inhibit your body’s response to labour through panic. To trust your body. And perhaps to give you a sense of control in an uncontrollable situation.
Importantly, it can also help both the mother and birthing partner through all types of birth. That might be natural, an elected C section, an unplanned C section or assisted delivery.
What I found most empowering about it was that it supported both me and my partner, bonding us in the process. It gave us a sense of control in our decision making before, during and after the delivery. It also gave my husband a job to do.
Part of what you learn in the hypnobirthing sessions before labour is the importance of language in preparing your mindset. We talked about ‘birthing preference’ rather than a ‘birthing plan’, making everything more flexible in my mind. We also talked about ‘surges’ rather than ‘contractions’, which provided a sense of fluidity in how I thought about the body’s natural response.
Deep breathing techniques also help to calm you during labour. Regulating your breathing and oxygenating your body.
Soft touch massage from your birthing partner can also be very useful as a relaxation technique. Some people choose to combine that with music, dimmed lighting, familiar scents and visualisations.
The intention of all these elements is that by practising them during pregnancy and applying them during labour you will be able to stay calm and (in theory) manage your body’s response. The theory is similar to that of mindfulness, if you’re calm you are better able to function in mind and body.
With all of that said, we all know that in medical situations, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. The important thing is to come through the experience with a healthy mum and baby, and however that comes about, it’s ok. The suggestions here are merely suggestions and practices that other mums have found helpful, and hope that you might find helpful as well.
N/B: You should always consult your doctor before using any techniques or spa treatments during pregnancy or in a hospital environment.
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