I first heard about hypnobirthing when a friend was doing a course whilst she was pregnant. I was a bit sceptical and concerned as a healthcare professional that my friend was going to run into problems trying to have a natural pain relief free birth relying on these techniques. Her birth went very well and she achieved the water birth experience she wanted, I was amazed at the power of her mind set and how well she coped.
A year later whilst pregnant myself working very long hours commuting into London with a stressful job, I found myself wondering if hypnobirthing would help me. I was getting increasingly anxious as my due date approached and did not feel relaxed or prepared.
I did the trial course but found it difficult to justify purchasing the whole course with all the other expense we had a the time. However around 36/37 weeks after speaking to friends and family who encouraged me I signed up to the online course. This gave me a good distraction in my first week of Mat leave as I was finding it difficult to switch off from work. I worked through the modules and listened to the tracks at night when getting ready for bed. I found the relaxation tracks so helpful and practiced the visualisations and affirmations which gave me a much more positive outlook.
The online course was convenient as I could make the dates for face to face session, it allowed me to do bite size chunks when I had time at home.
When my contractions started 4 days early at 3am I started listening to the tracks completely immersing myself in thoughts of my safe happy place and used my tens machine. I stayed at home until the contractions were 2 minutes apart and then woke my husband up to drive me to the hospital. I had wanted a water birth but due to fibroids the medical team were concerned about their ability to manage my increased risk of bleeding in the midwife lead unit so I had to go up labour ward. This was disappointing and added to my worry about how I would cope however the relaxation techniques helped me to deal with this. Although it was 18 hours in total from first contraction I had a very calm manageable labour in hospital with the addition of some gas and air. The midwife was familiar with and supportive of hypobirthing and dimmed he lights and mostly left myself and my husband alone to labour calmly.
At the end I couldn't get the baby's head out despite a lot of pushing- he had a big head :-) and required medical intervention with ventouse however I was able to remain calm and in control of these decisions.
My husband has since told people that hypnobirthing "made his job easy" as I was so relaxed. He didn't feel comfortable saying the affirmations to me himself during the labour so I listened to Maggie on the tracks instead during labour and I was happy with that.
Overall I would highly recommend the course to everyone as a good way to prepare for birth and remain positive. As a pharmacist I was not overly concerned if I needed medical intervention or if I needed drugs however these techniques helped my mind set/ anxieties and I ended up not requiring any extra pain relief and having a really positive experience.
Baby Dylan was born 18.11.16 and we are totally in love! Many thanks to Maggie and her team for a fantastic experience! I will continue to use the relaxation techniques as a new mum coping with limited sleep.
by Arlene McGuire!!