With all the hype surrounding the pregnancy of the Duchess of Cambridge there has been much speculation about what kind of birth she will have. Hypnobirthing has made an appearance in the media, being mentioned several times as Catherine’s choice of birth preparation.
So what exactly does it involve?
Probably the person accredited with the origin of the term ‘Hypnobirthing’ is Michelle Leclaire O'Neill in 1987, who wrote books on the subject including "Hypnobirthing the Original Method". Her work was based partly on previous research by English obstetrician Dr. Grantly Dick-Reid author of “Childbirth without Fear”.
Other people instrumental in the spread of Hypnobirthing include Marie Mongan who founded The US based HypnoBirthing programme and Michel Odent who promoted the benefits of birthing at home and using water as a natural pain reliever in the 1970’s.
Hypnobirthing is a full antenatal education and equips both mum and partner with many skills that will help to aid a more relaxed and calm birthing experience. The Hypnobirthing course is spread over 12hours and both mum and partner spend much of the course time learning and practicing these key skills with the help of a qualified and experienced practitioner.
Although many people may find the name a bit off putting – as I can imagine some of the elders of the Royal Family may have – the course is purely designed to teach parents-to-be about the body’s natural design to birth. It teaches deep relaxation, self hypnosis, massage & breathing techniques and much more. Hypnobirthing educates the mother to embrace the processes of labour, to relax into the birthing experience and work with her body at delivering baby in a smooth and calm way.
This approach means the deep relaxation and self hypnosis allows the mind and body to work in complete harmony, very much the way nature intended women to birth. Once the logic of how the body’s own innate way of birthing is taught in the first session, couples are able to put aside any fears or doubt about birth and really engage in practicing the skills and exercises they learn. Taking time throughout the pregnancy to bond with their baby and looking ahead at how they would like the birthing day to unfold can be very enlightening for some couples, especially if they are nervous.
The course offers the couples a chance to look in depth at each other’s approach to the birth and highlight any concerns or fears. These are addressed by hypnotherapy sessions by the practitioner and are a great way at releasing any unwanted thoughts or feelings that may stand in the way of achieving the birth they are preparing for.
Unlike many other antenatal classes, Hypnobirthing gives the birthing companion a hugely important role throughout the pregnancy and on the day. Often partners feel as though they are a spare part to a woman labouring and feel unable to participate or help, but Hypnobirthing gives partners a central role. Throughout the course they will learn to help mum achieve a deep relaxation with the aid of scripts and breathing techniques. And if William is anything like my husband, he will use the techniques himself as you can transfer these self-hypnosis skills to everyday living and benefit from the relaxation and confidence.
From my own experience of using Hypnobirthing with both of my daughters and teaching over 100 couples how to use it on their birthing days I can highly recommend the course if you are looking for a more natural approach. The course gave me the confidence to enjoy my pregnancy and really look forward to the labour knowing I had all the skills I needed to have the most memorable days of my life.
I hope Kate and William choose to Hypnobirth and share with you all what a great way to learn it is.