One of the biggest themes I hear time and￼ time again is that hypnobirthing is only useful for natural, vaginal births.
I feel it’s the big misconception about hypnobirthing. It usually goes along the lines of… “It worked until they said I needed a section and then everything went out the window ”
Or “I was going to use hypnobirthing until I was induced.” Or even “I didn’t get to use it as I had to have a section”.
I get it. We have preconceptions of what something is. Hypnobirthing has an association with perfect home water-births in a room full of incense sticks, tie dye and chanting. Where birth takes place exactly as you plan on a full moon and in silence. And earth mamma experiences zero pain.
Now if this reads to you like I’ve stolen your birth plan, then awesome! You birth in the way which feels right for you.
But that’s the beauty of hypnobirthing, it can work in any birthing scenario. I want to get that point across because I know it’s a stickler for so many women. It doesn’t matter whether you birth at home, in a caravan, in the birthing unit, in water, on dry land, have an induction, need forceps, ventouse or a c-section.
One thing we can’t plan for in birth is exactly how it will progress. The point of hypnobirthing is to educate you so that you understand what happens to your body throughout labour. You understand that at every stage, you have choices. It’s so important that you feel that any decision made about you and your baby is made by you. Understanding the mind-body relationship is key. Us humans don’t like the unknown. It gets us worked up and can trigger our fight-flight-freeze response.
If you understand how your body works, how your mind works and how you are in control of every decision, it will undoubtedly make a difference to your birth experience.
We don’t know how each labour will progress. It’s actually one of the reasons I’m so passionate about hypnobirthing because I know from personal experience and from talking to other women, that if you need medical support, your hypnobirthing toolkit can be invaluable.
My son was induced at 36 weeks due to IUGR. It was a long labour which had quite a lot of medical intervention as the wee man wasn’t quite ready for his early arrival. (Us Strange’s aren’t really known for being early). It resulted in prep for a c-section which turned into a gentle forceps delivery. You can read the full story here.
I truly believe that if I hadn’t discovered hypnobirthing, it would have been a very different experience for me. As it was, I felt in control and a part of the decision-making process. I remember it clearly and I felt very calm. Was it pain-free? No. It was very intense for a period when the hormone drip was at it’s peak. But it was much more comfortable in the lead up to that and the breathing exercise I learned was amazing. I bang on about breathing a lot because it really makes such a difference!
So even although I needed medical intervention, it was still a really positive experience. It’s what I’ve heard so many times. I think if you have had a previous birth experience which has been difficult in some way, then hypnobirthing is absolutely worth considering.
Do hypnobirthing your way and make it your own. That’s how you’ll get the best from it, you need to resonate with it. The more you practice, the more natural it becomes. You’re shifting your mindset so you need to repeat the positive messages to your subconscious. This way, if you need medical support you’re coming at it from a place of knowledge instead of fear, and you’re much more likely to remain calmer.
Always remember to use your BRAIN.
B- Benefits. What are the benefits to any decision you need to make?
R- Risks. What are the risks to any decision?
A – Alternatives. Is there any alternative action/inaction you can take?
I- Intuition. What is your gut saying to you. You know your body and your baby best.
N- Nothing. What happens if you wait a while?
Using this acronym will help to trigger those vital conversations with your care providers. So often I speak to women who didn’t feel like that they were a part of the decisions which were made. This is a great way to talk through the benefits and risks of doing or not doing something. How do you feel about it? Why do you feel that way? What alternatives are there and what happens if we wait a little while?
Keeping these points in mind means that if you do need medical intervention, you’re much more likely to feel calmer because you made the decision along with your care provider. You had choices and you felt suported.That’s so different to feeling out of control. It may be the same outcome, ie a c-section, but how you feel about it will be different.
How we FEEL about our birth experience matters as it will stay with us always and is the start of our parenting journey with our new baby. You’re coming at it from a much more positive headspace if you feel the birth was positive.
So yes, hypnobirthing is great for natural births with no or little intervention and you may be less likely to need medical intervention by using the techniques. But if you do need medical intervention, be assured that if you’ve covered the material, and practised the techniques, then it will always make a difference.