A Leeds based lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Did hypnobirthing work for me?

It wasn't long after finding out I was pregnant that I'd decided I wanted to try hypnobirthing when it came to delivering our baby. I wanted to keep my birth plan as natural as possible & for me hypnobirthing felt like the best option... But did it work for me?
What is hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing is a method of pain management used throughout labour and birth which involves a mixture of visualisation, relaxation, meditation and deep breathing techniques.

Visualisation includes both picturing how you want the birth of your baby to play out as well as taking yourself away to a 'happy place' and imagining a peaceful and calm setting. Relaxation and meditation techniques are also used to stay in tune with your body, concentrate on the task in hand and eliminate any extra noise or distractions around you. Controlled breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth helps to stay calm and reduce stress through labour, it also gives you something to concentrate on and distract yourself from the discomfort of labour. Hypnobirthing encourages you to get into a confident mindset with positive affirmations such as 'I trust my body' or 'each surge brings my baby closer to me'... Basically whatever works for you to go into birth confidently and positively. 

Scientifically these techniques help manage adrenaline which is the stress hormone our bodies naturally produce when it's put in a 'fight or flight' type situation. We want to reduce the amount of adrenaline in our bodies as it works against Oxytocin, otherwise known as the happy chemical we produce during labour which helps progress the entire child birthing process.

Managing this stress both before and during child birth is said to reduce the fear & sometimes even the pain associated with labour.

Misconceptions of hypnobirthing.

There's limited research into hypnobirthing and from what's been discovered it only seems to work for half the women who practice it. With this and hypnobirthing only being a relatively new concept, it means the process carries with it a lot of misconceptions.

The vast majority of opinions are that the birthing process is 'hyped up', Storm believes 'people are under the illusion that if you just breathe, it won't hurt' which to be honest, I totally understand! Fortunately for me I didn't go into childbirth naively, I knew it was going to hurt like hell & that it'd be the hardest thing I'd ever done - Which it totally was btw! This however didn't stop me using hypnobirthing techniques during labour. The thing about hypnobirthing is that you don't have to follow it by the book, you can take elements from it & use them however you like to create a perfect birthing experience, which is exactly what Kirsty did, she didn't use all of the birthing techniques 'other than reminding herself of several positive affirmations.' There are no rules... Basically whatever works for you to go into birth confidently and positively.

Before baby was born we went to an antenatal class at the hospital where the midwife's opinion on hypnobirthing was that it's a 'hippy an new wave' technique. She advised at the time that it's not for everyone & that it came with a lot of misconceptions and even though she started the conversation in a negative manner she actually finished the conversation in a well rounded, educated way.

Thankfully I hadn't been subject to too many negative opinions when it came to my birthing choice, to be honest the vast majority of people I'd spoken to hadn't even heard of hypnobirthing. It was nice actually to educate other people on the techniques, give others another view on childbirth & open up a new discussion.
Did hypnobirthing work for me?

So the question you've all been waiting for... Did this hippy, new wave birthing technique work for me?... I'd actually say yes!

Before going into labour I'd practiced visualisation along with the breathing techniques and I could definitely see how it would work during childbirth, however when it came to it for me I really struggled with the visualisation side of things. Understandably there was too much going on at the time for my brain to take me away to my 'happy place'. The breathing techniques worked wonders, however I couldn't not concentrate on the fact a baby was coming out of my vagina. Focusing on my breathing was the only thing that got me through giving birth... That and gas & air!

For me hypnobirthing worked more before the birth, don't get me wrong focusing on my breathing throughout labour worked amazingly well, I just think getting myself into the right mindset before the big day was brilliant. I went into it using positive affirmations, knowing that my body could do it.... I trusted my body & what it was capable of.

I'd like to think I'm pretty chilled & laid back, so a lot of the hypnobirthing techniques came pretty naturally to me. I had & still do have a 'what will be, will be' attitude towards childbirth which to be honest I think is the only way hypnobirthing works. Even though I went into labour with a very positive mindset, I knew that if something was going to go wrong, or if something didn't follow 'my plan' then it'd be okay in the end... I was going to meet our baby & in the grand scheme of things that's all that matters.

Have you heard of hypnobirthing before? Do you think it would, or did it work for you?

Claire. X

Have you read anything from my pregnancy series?
My labour story.
Things I'm looking forward to post pregnancy.
My newfound appreciation for pregnant women & what I've learnt along the way.

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2 comments

  1. I didn't get to research or practice the hypnobirthing techniques as much as I'd wanted to, but I think I just took what I wanted from it and kind of did my own thing! I mostly just focused on breathing and was just in my own little world. I hardly spoke throughout the whole labour process!

    Emma xxx
    www.lifewiththebruces.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. I know what you mean - There were parts of it I didn't bother with, but what I did practice, I fully believed worked :-) Ha! I thought beforehand I'd be silent throughout it, but in between contractions (of course) I was still chattering away. X

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