There are many reasons why you might need to have a cesarean section, either emergency c-section or planned. For some, a planned cesarean might be a welcomed relief after a traumatic pervious birth experience. For others, a planned or emergency cesarean might be disappointing after pinning hopes on a natural birth. Either way, hypnobirthing can make surgical birth much more enjoyable, through relaxation techniques enabling you to stay calm and helping you to connect with your baby.
Hypnobirthing will make the experience the best it can be by empowering you to make personal requests such as asking the medical team if you can play your relaxation music during the birth. You have the choice to ask for the drape to be lowered if you want to see your baby being born and you can even ask to receive your baby, if you are able to. Otherwise, you could also ask for your baby to be held on your chest straight away. This way, you can immediately bond with your baby and even start breastfeeding instead of your baby being whisked away and the cord cut. Another option is to ask for the cord clamping to be delayed until the cord has stopped pulsating which will allow the baby to receive all the blood volume and oxygen that he/she needs. The most amazing moment for me, when my first baby was born by emergency cesarean, was when he was held close to me just after he was born and his eyes met mine for the first time. I will never forget that wonderful moment.
cesarean-birthThe cesarean itself, however, could have been much better if I had known some hypnobirthing techniques to help me through it. My whole body was shaking even though I couldn’t feel anything from the neck downwards. If I had done some relaxation techniques, I believe I could have calmed my body down which in turn may have helped to calm my baby down (he came out screaming).I learnt hypnobirthing for my second baby’s birth when I was lucky enough to be able to have a calm, natural vaginal birth. I was so elated by my experience that I decided to train to become a hypnobirthing practitioner. I have now taught many couples over the past couple of years, including women with planned c-sections and some who ended up having to have an emergency c-sections. They were able to use breathing and visualisation techniques to stay calm and relaxed and generally just much more positive about the experience. Through relaxation techniques you are then able to release the all important endorphins which help you to feel good, relaxed and they also, importantly, get past on to your baby through the umbilical cord.
Good preparation is the key to a good outcome. If you regularly visualise the cesarean birth going well in your mind whilst deeply relaxed using breathing techniques, you can create positive patterns/memories in the brain, so that when it comes to your operation, positive feelings will be triggered. You can also practice visualising a safe place (a special place in nature, somewhere at home, or even under your duvet!), which you can then imagine during the operation. These calm, confident and safe feelings will allow you to remain relaxed enough to produce endorphins, giving you and your baby a much more enjoyable experience.
If you are feeling particularly nervous about a planned cesarean or if you are fearful about the possibility of having an emergency cesarean, then seek out your local hypnobirthing pratitioner to do some fear release work with you. If you are in labour and have been told that you will need to have a c-section, you can use some calm breathing techniques to help keep you calm. This technique is also useful for getting into a deep relaxed state when practicing visualisations. The key to the technique is to slow your breathing down and to make sure the exhalation is longer than the inhalation. Breathe in and out through your nose, focusing the breath at the back of your throat like a silent hum. Count in for 3 and out for 6 or in for 4 and out for 8 whichever works best for you. You might prefer to breath in a relaxing colour like a soft green or blue and then breathe out tension like black or grey. As you breathe out, think about relaxing all the different parts of your body from the top of your head all the way down to your toes. This breathing technique will give you a feeling of control over your body, which will help you to feel calm and confident. Remember, you can visualisae your safe place at any time to add to your relaxation.
Once your baby is born the sooner you can do some skin-to-skin bonding, the better. A beautiful way to watch nature in play is to put your baby on your abdomen and watch him/her birth crawl up to your breast. It’s a truly wonderful experience, which makes your birth feel more natural.
Hypnobirhting can really help make your cesarean birth your own personal birth experience. Discuss with your care providers to let them know what you would like, to make sure it’s a positive fear-free experience for you and your baby.