Thank you Kate for your honest and candid review of the book
Before the Birth
[This was the most useful tool in the preparation for the birth that I came across and reading it prior to doing any Yoga or NCT classes was really beneficial. In a very practical (and never patronising) way it describes what will physically happen to your body and this. Along with the practical exercises, and by understanding the process I was able to logically address my fears. From my personal experience I am most afraid of placental abruption – so I have been able to eliminate this by understanding it as much as I can and opting for the injection to artificially deliver the placenta post birth to reduce the risk.
Real life experiences
I was already a convert of this type of therapy as I used a similar system to give up smoking many years ago so I already have the confidence that what Margaret talks about will work but in addition I particularly like the real life stories and as my NCT friends are gradually giving birth its interesting that those who are the most prepared and calm are having the easiest experiences.
Advice for birthing partners
I think this is probably the most important part of the book. The bit about asking is mine or the babies life in any danger and then taking the time to consider I think will be one of the most powerful tools on our side once in the hospital environment. Having already done a short stay at the hospital where I am having the baby I know that they are very process and procedure driven which may or may not be right for me. (Note I am a high risk pregnancy so hospital only option)
Things that could be added
I thought this book was excellent as a whole but if Margaret had any plans to expand it – it would be really interesting to know any projects or case studies she has done in hospitals that have utilised this process and hear from the point of view of the hospitals, consultants and GPs (not the midwives). I have come across numerous midwives and birthing centres that strongly support this approach from friends, to birthing centres that run hypno birthing courses and a student midwife at my yoga class keen to learn more…. but the GPs and Consultants I have come across told me (and I quote) ‘birthing plans are a waste of time I don’t understand why anyone would opt for anything than an epidural!’ This is the reality of the medical system that operates and it’s the consultants and GPs (not the midwives) that make the decisions about your care all the way through the antenatal process especially if you are a high risk pregnancy- and they are supposed to be the experts so its a brave person that challenges their thinking. This is probably a bit much to put on Margaret’s shoulders but it would only take a few GPs to support this system and the ball would be rolling.
After the Birth
So did it work… yes!
Although I didn’t think so at the time! My labour story is by no means the horror story that many of my poor NCT friends seemed to have suffered. There were a couple of things that swung in my favour that really helped.
Positive events that I believe were linked to the hypno – therapy and the effective birth prep book:
- I remained in a zone for every contraction. The 321 relax technique and turning down the dial on the pain really helped. Interestingly they helped not just with the contractions but also for the internal examinations.
- I ended up having to get my husband to tell the hospital that I was coming in as they thought I sounded too calm on the phone. When I got there I was 5cm dilated.
- Unfortunately, when I entered the self-doubt phase I was asking for an epidural. My cervix got stuck at 9cm dilated. I had a hugely supportive midwife who had read and understood my birth plan. Between her and my husband they persuaded me to go back into my ‘zone’ I did this as some of the words from the tape came to me from nowhere. Every contraction takes you one step closer to meeting your baby’
The midwife said my labour was really inspirational. I had a chuckle at this because it was way more painful than I had expected and calm/ inspirational would be last word I would use to describe what was going on in my head! But all in it was a positive experience. My husband said that although I had felt I was out of control compared to the other wailing women in the delivery unit I was incredibly calm! I didn’t even give a second thought to the issues with my placenta and Maia got two 9s and a 10 on her APGAR tests straight after birth and I couldn’t ask for more than that.
I would definitely recommend this book [Effective Birth Preparation” Your Practical Guide Book] but I think it needs to be read in conjunction with other activities such as the NCT classes and the yoga classes (It does say this in the book).
Things that didn’t work for me – I went so far into my own zone that I didn’t want anyone near me! Including my husband. It wasn’t the candles and massage oil Zen like experience I had imagined but it got me through and a healthy baby.”