We often get asked if hypnobirthing leads to a pain-free birth. I always stress that aiming for a pain-free experience is definitely not the focus, nor should it be the goal, however some women do experience very little or no pain. Read on for a truly inspirational, uplifting and wonderful birth .
“I wanted to tell you about my recent Natal Hypnotherapy birth as I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful birth experience!
My Natal Hypnotherapy experience started as soon as I discovered I was pregnant. Having watched my sister progress from an absolute fear of childbirth to a completely drug free and pain-free homebirth using Natal Hypnotherapy, there was no doubt in my mind that I would use the same techniques. I bought the audio tracks and started listening to them at around 8 weeks. I had wanted a homebirth but the identification of a Group B Strep infection early in my pregnancy meant that I would need I.V. antibiotics during labour, and therefore a hospital birth was my only option. I had complete confidence in Natal Hypnotherapy, yet I developed a nagging concern that once I arrived at the hospital I would not be allowed to have the birth I wanted. I feared interference by healthcare professionals trying to “tick boxes” and hospitalize what should be a natural process.
We attended our Natal Hypnotherapy workshops 2 months before our baby was due.
Our Practitioner was the most exceptional and influential person I met during my pregnancy. She helped me realise that I really would be completely in control of the birth of my baby, despite being in hospital. Following our 2 sessions I had overcome all my fears and anxieties about the birth, and I had a newfound trust in my husband, Josh, to be my gatekeeper. I found myself getting more and more excited, and I knew that I had the ability to have a completely natural and hopefully wonderful birth experience. In my birth plan I specifically asked to be left alone throughout the whole process – I did not want to be offered pain relief and I did not want to be coached through the birth, I was so confident and relaxed!
Nearly 3 weeks before my due date I noticed that I was getting regular contractions. I had no pain at all so the few friends I mentioned it to passed them off as Braxton Hicks. I was quietly confident that this was not the case but carried on with my normal daily activities regardless. I went shopping, ate fish and chips, and even managed to sing my way through a choir rehearsal. By the next day, things felt different and my contractions were coming even more regularly. I settled myself on the sofa in the morning and worked my way through a few of my favourite feel good Disney films. Around lunchtime Josh ran me a lovely bubble bath but after a while lying down just didn’t feel “right” so we set up my baobab tree* in the lounge – we closed the curtains, lit some candles, played the Natal Hypnotherapy relaxing birth music audio track and used some frankincense and mandarin essential oils (a smell that I just loved during pregnancy). I knelt on the floor leaning over my birthing ball and my body swayed with every contraction. By this time I was having 3 contractions every 10 minutes each lasting up to 2 minutes. I think this was the point I realised how much I enjoyed being in labour. I felt so calm and relaxed, yet with each contraction, I still managed to find an even deeper relaxation. At a time when most people would be rushing to the hospital I was adamant I was going nowhere, it was just too perfect to move.
After a few hours (which barely felt like 20 minutes to me) with one contraction, I felt a small gush of liquid. I assumed this would be my waters breaking but when I looked it turned out to be blood. We rang the hospital and they instructed us to go straight in. When we got to the hospital we went into the triage area. We were called in by a midwife who strapped all the necessary monitoring to my bump and informed us that our baby was fine and as there had been no more bleeding with any subsequent contractions it was nothing to worry about. She then proceeded to tell me that I was “far too calm and relaxed to really be in labour” so I should go home. This was excellent news – I could go back to my baobab tree. I said that I would use the toilet and then we would be on our way, but having 3 contractions on the way to the toilet and then another 3 on the way back a different midwife advised that she should just do a quick internal examination before we left … 7cm!!
Well and truly in labour
Having established that I was indeed in labour, and progressing rather well, I was taken to delivery. I asked about the antibiotics but I was told not to worry as each cm would take about 2 hours for a labouring first time mother. I also asked about a birth pool as I was very keen for a water birth. Having been told that the room with the pool was in use, Josh jumped into action and reminded them about their portable pools which they did agree to fill! By this time it was early evening and the start of the next shift. Our new midwife and her student came and introduced themselves and I knew everything would be just fine. They administered a dose of I.V. antibiotics and read my birth plan as the pool filled. When it was ready I got into the lovely warm water … It was perfect. I was back in my baobab tree. The midwife turned out the lights apart from one small lamp and Josh put on my music again. I knelt in the pool leaning on the side and Josh rested his head next to mine. The contractions were still coming as regularly and I was still thoroughly enjoying every moment of my calm, quiet labour.
Just a few short hours after arriving on the delivery suite I realised that with each contraction I was actually pushing. I never said anything, I just let my body do what it needed to do. A few more contractions came and went and suddenly my midwife was next to me saying “you’ve done everything else yourself, so when you’re ready just scoop your baby up from the bottom of the pool”. To my absolute amazement, I looked down and saw my daughter’s face for the very first time. I had gone through the whole process of labour and childbirth and it had been, without a doubt, the best experience of my life – a truly wonderful birth experience. I had no pain relief at all, not even one puff of gas and air, yet I had no pains, no stings, nothing unpleasant at all. My midwife allowed me to trust in my body to do what it naturally needed to do and I will always be grateful to her for adhering to my birth plan and resisting the temptation to tell me when to push!
My postnatal recovery was just as successful. I needed some sutures following the birth, but as soon as these were done I walked from delivery to the ward, much to the consternation of our student midwife who had been to find me a wheelchair! Having arrived on the ward at a rather unsociable 3 am we were unable to share our exciting news with people, so for a few hours the 3 of us enjoyed the start of our family life together. We left the hospital the following morning and I felt, quite simply, amazing. Our daughter really seemed to benefit from being born in such a calm environment. She didn’t cry at the birth and she has developed into possibly the most placid baby I have ever known. She is always smiling and content, and she started sleeping through the night from about 6 weeks.
I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful birth experience and it was all thanks to Natal Hypnotherapy.
The course not only prepared me for labour and birth, it also prepared Josh. He excelled in his role as birth partner and I felt completely at ease letting him be my gate-keeper as I went deeper and deeper into relaxation as my labour progressed. I would wholeheartedly recommend Natal Hypnotherapy to anyone. The tracks became part of my normal routine during pregnancy (click here for your free 15 minute track) and although a lot of people tell me they wouldn’t have time to sit and relax my answer is a simple one – make time, it is worth it! In the workshops she took everything that I had gained from these pregnancy relaxation and birth preparation sessions at home and made it personal to us. She focussed on our specific needs and tailored everything towards us, enabling us to have this exceptional experience.
To conclude my birth experience I have to add one final comment. Exactly one week after my perfect birth we woke up to the news that the Duchess of Cambridge was in labour. At this I turned to my husband and said, “I’m actually jealous, I really want to do it again”.
* the baobab tree is a concept that is taught in the Natal Hypnotherapy course – it is about creating a space which is quiet, private, dark and safe
Not sure what the tracks are like? Then get a FREE Hypnobirthing track by clicking here