Put really bluntly, hypnobirthing is about getting your head ready for birth, because where your head leads, your body will follow. Whereas NCT will give you plenty of information, it will be left up to you to process it and make plans for yourself. There is also little in the way of support as you get closer towards your birth. It can be great if you meet a like minded bunch of mums but what if their plans turn out to be very different to yours?
This is where hypnobirthing can be a great choice, no matter how late on in your pregnancy you are. It will supplement what you learn at NCT classes.
Equally, if you choose not to do NCT, that’s fine too. Hypnobirthing is a complete antenatal class all of it’s own.
So how is it different to NCT?
It’s aims to reprogram your thinking about birth, not just give information
Our subconscious is really powerful. All the stories and descriptions we’ve heard about birth over the years, from hearing about our big sister’s birth to what we see in the movies, have been setting our expectations for our own experience. For mostly women, that’s 25 - 30 years of hearing that what will happen can’t be and won’t be great. That it has to be painful.
Right at the start of the classes, we challenge those assumptions by taking about them out loud and then starting to use positive thoughts combined with relaxations to allow your mind to take other possibilities on board. You’ll practice this technique every day from when you start your class until when your baby is born.
Hypnobirthing uses active fear release techniques
We believe that you can only let go of fears if you first name them and share them. Once that’s done, we can work on disproving them or showing that they can be released to be replaced with other more helpful thoughts. We will talk openly and honestly about the experience of birth and labour - they’ll be no awkward stepping around worries or sweeping fear under the carpet to enable a stiff upper lip.
No couple can predict how they will feel and react during labour. We practiced all the touch relaxations but when it came to it, I really didn’t want to be touched. This is a good example of why we teach a range of ways to relax and techniques for coping with the powerful sensations you’ll have when your labour starts. It can be thought of as a collection of options that you can pick and choose from. Medication is just one of these. Breathing is another.
Hypnobirthing teaches you how to make more informed choices
In classes, we will discuss how to work well with your caregivers and how to make confident decisions so you can feel like you had the best birth for you, not matter what you hoped for or how it turns out. We will talk about common terms and choices you’ll encounter plus how to ask the right questions about them. We will also work together on what to do if your birth preferences start to look less possible.
Hypnobirthing is evidence based
All hypnobirthing teachers are avid readers of birth and pregnancy research. This means that we’re at the very front of recommendations made to and by other birth professionals like midwives and obstetricians. We will share our knowledge with you and help you interpret the numbers you may hear to enable you to put them into a real world context - what will happen to you and your baby. The other reassuring aspect of this is that we don’t advocate leaving things to chance - we don’t recommend free births (those without a trained caregiver present) and we encourage you to work with, not against the birth professionals providing your care. There could be some joss sticks and chanting at your birth but that’s totally up to you!
Ongoing support until your baby arrives
Your teacher will most gladly provide ongoing email or telephone support until your baby arrives because we want you and baby to be well and happy! We are part of a huge community of women who are passionate about helping women have positive birth experiences to will help as much as we can to help you keep your plans on track or advise if your plans need to change.
Hypnobirthing is great for dads too
I’ve had a fair few mums come to me, worrying about how their partner will cope when labour starts. Perhaps they’re afraid of blood or perhaps they’d rather sit in the hallway and wait it out and mum would rather have their support. As hypnobirthing is so logical, I’ve seen it win over even the most sceptical or stoic dads. We will clearly talk about how they can help and why it will be so effective and rewarding for the family if they do. Hypnobirthing dads often feel a stronger connection to their baby once they arrive after having been so closely involved and the couple themselves get stronger too.
Hypnobirthing encourages you to trust your own motherly instincts
We have a saying ‘Baby knows best’. This enables us to put in context and allow for the fact that each and every birth will be unique. The baby is unique and knows how to be born safely. The mother is unique too and will have her own feelings about how her birth will happen and what is best for the family. We encourage everyone to take these instincts into account, alongside medical advice, so you can make choices that are authentically yours.
There is plenty of time
Class sizes are small and we allocate more hours for the teaching than we need so there is plenty of time to ask questions and get personal. You don’t have to share if you don’t want to; you can just be sure that nothing will be rushed.
And so what benefits can you hope for if you take a hypnobirthing class?
- Your birth is likely to be more comfortable even pain free.
- Babies and mothers often bond more easily as they meet in a more serene and gentle way.
- Hypnobirthing mums often have shorter labours with less drugs and medical interventions needed
- Hypnobirths are normally less physically taxing, helping you bounce back more quickly and care for your little one more easily
- It gives Dads (or other birth partners) an active role in labour, making sure giving birth is a shared, memorable experience for both of you